South by Southwest [SXSW] – one of the world’s most iconic cultural events – will travel to Sydney in October 2023 in what will be the festival’s first edition outside the United States.

Celebrating technology, film, music, education and culture, the Texas-based festival began 35 years ago in a back room of the Austin Chronicle newspaper.

It has since become one of North America’s most revered annual festivals, with previous panels hosted by the likes of former US President Barack Obama, director Steven Spielberg, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl and the late storyteller Anthony Bourdain.

Although Sydney’s lineup is still a long way off, with up-and-coming musicians, stars, celebrities, tech pundits and film studios required to submit applications to attend and perform, it is expected that the event hosts some of the “biggest names in the world”. most inspired thinkers and creatives”.

Annabelle Herd, CEO of ARIA, said the decision to lock down Sydney to host up to 1,000 experiences – which will include summits, product demos, artist performances, screenings, live gaming sessions and networking events – was a game-changer.

“This is incredibly exciting news,” she said.

“As perhaps the most significant event since the Sydney Olympics in 2000, SXSW presents a real opportunity for Australia to lead the global discussion on future trends, innovation and the value of the economy. creative.

“The intertwined role of music in all of these activities is constantly evolving, and I can’t imagine a better forum to explore the truly significant cultural and economic impact music will have over the coming decades.”

Why Sydney?

SXSW co-founder Roland Swenson said the Sydney extravaganza will be a collaboration with TEG, the New South Wales government and Destination NSW.

It will also be the basis for the annual Asia-Pacific installment of SXSW.

“SXSW’s purpose is to help creatives achieve their goals, and Sydney is the perfect city to house the cross-collaboration that exists within the many industries we bring together,” said Swenson.

Geoff Jones, CEO of TEG Group and Event Producer for SXSW Sydney, added: “SXSW is an unrivaled international event that has launched the careers of so many creative professionals.

Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann, who directed the films Elvis, Gatsby the magnificentand Red Mill!also lent his support to the announcement.

“The thing about South By Southwest is that it breaks down the line between what’s music, what’s a movie, what’s a game,” he was quoted as saying by The Sydney Morning Herald.

“What really matters is what the creativity is, the culture and the idea that you bring together this confluence of all these cultural elements in a city like Sydney.

“And when I think about the fact that we’re so positioned around the rim of Asia-Pacific and we’re at a crossroads, I can’t even imagine how exciting it will be to have South By Southwest in the only other place in the world to have it, in Sydney.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama during the opening remarks at the 2016 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at the Long Center in Austin, Texas. Photo: AAP

Who has played SXSW in the past?

With a festival that spans nine days each year, there are literally thousands of performers gracing theatres, stages, runways, auditoriums and streets.

And the festival has had a forum for audience participation and interaction for decades.

In a hint of what could be on the agenda in Sydney, between October 15 and 22 next year, former US President Barack Obama delivered a speech in 2016 focusing on the role of technology in civic life.

According to NRPMr. Obama, who was interviewed by the editor of the Texas GrandstandEvan Smith, said low voter turnout was an area where technology could improve citizen participation in government.

He said it was “easier to order a pizza than to vote”, and that we need to think about how to “rethink our systems so that we don’t have 50% or 55% voter turnout in presidential elections “.

Mr Obama also called on government and private companies to work together and said it was essential to “create systems that make government more responsive and make it work better”.

Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow with CNN’s Poppy Harlow during a starring session at the 2019 South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas. Photo: AAP

Three years later, American actress and Hollywood royalty Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man franchise, Shallow hall), spoke to the SWSX audience about her email exchange with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and her desire to sit down with him and talk about his lifestyle business.

She also revealed that Disney CEO Bob Iger was her mentor.

“Bob Iger, I talk sometimes when I can have 10 minutes with him. It’s my idol” the Hollywood journalist quoted her as saying.

“He said something to me a few years ago, ‘Don’t waste your time on something that’s not really going to move the needle.’ And that really stuck with me, so I always put everything through that filter.

Santigold performed at Library first after-party with director Olivia Wilde in 2019. Photo: AAP

That same year, Olivia Wilde attended SXSW as the director of the coming-of-age tale. Library.

The film was Wilde’s directorial debut and the festival served as a world premiere – something Wilde described as a dream.

“Since we were shooting this movie, my dream was to premiere at SXSW, so this is a huge deal for me,” Wilde told SXSW.

“I remember feeling like it was that big moment in life where I knew I was really proud of something that I had accomplished,” she said of her previous visits. at the festival.

“SXSW has this important place in my life as a marker of evolution.”