South by Southwest (SXSW)

Rebecca Varidel
12th Oct 2023

Bringing together Asia Pacific’s leading creative industries across tech and innovation, gaming, music, screen and culture within a future-focused program, SXSW Sydney will include more than 1000 sessions, including 700+ speakers, 300+ performances, 170+ games demos, 200+ screen events, a huge Tech and Innovation expo and free programming at Tumbalong Park at Sydney’s Darling Harbour precinct.

It’s a city-wide music festival, futurist think tank, a showcase of the latest games, alongside film and TV world premieres, a next-gen technology expo and a line-up of world changing speakers. And it’s the first time the festival has been held outside of North America since it began 37 years ago in Austin, Texas.

Go backstage at Coachella with CEO Paul Tollett.

Queer Eye your life with fashion icon Tan France.

Build the next Slack with Co-Founder Cal Henderson.

Finally figure out AI with futurist Amy Webb.

Hear De-extinction entrepreneur Ben Lamm, Motion Picture Association CEO Charles Rivkin, advertising icon David Droga, Google Australia MD Mel Silva, Indonesian Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno, Netflix ANZ Director of Content Que Minh Luu, broadcaster Osher Günsberg, World Surfing Champion Layne Beachley, tech entrepreneur Paul Bassat, Reddit CMO Roxy Young, artistic director Wesley Enoch K-pop Chief A&R Officer at SM Entertainment, Chris Lee, Expedia CTO Rathi Murthy and many more.

See the full SXSW Sydney program 15 - 22 October here.

Talking Texas (or should we say eating Texas) Firedoor’s Lennox Hastie is set to bring a taste of the Lone Star State to Sydney! He’ll be presenting his take on Texan BBQ for the first time, at Travel Texas’ SXSW Sydney pop-up. Open to the public, guests have the opportunity to watch (and taste) the chef demonstrate his award-winning skills and prep, and cook a Texan-inspired BBQ menu – think hickory roasted rump, Smokey BBQ beans and jalapeno smoked butter! Entrance to the Texas SXSW Sydney pop-up at Pumphouse is FREE all day, from 11am – 12am. Friday 20 October, 17 Little Pier Street, Darling Harbour. Helping to give a ‘Taste of Texas’ down under, in addition to Hastie’s BBQ, there’ll be:

- Sets from Austin musicians Walker Lukens and DJ BoomBaptist
- An activation from Austin-based podcast Song Confessional – jump in the booth, record an anonymous story and have it turned into a song
- A Messina gelato cart dishing out an exclusive custom flavour The Spicy Rita Rockstar inspired by Dallas’ famed Margarita Mile it’s reminiscent of a spicy mango margarita, even including a dash of habanero pepper and salt
- A wine tasting featuring drops from Texas’ Grapevine region – the chance to taste Messina Hof Winery’s 2020 Paulo Sagrantino and 2022 Bonarrigo White for the first time outside of Texas
- Cocktails from Austin-produced Tito’s Handmade Vodka, including a Tito’s Soda Lime and Tito’s American Mule
- Line dancing with country dance bush band Swamp Dawkins – crack out a ball-change to a four-piece band
- Custom cowboy hat making – bedazzle a headpiece for a little swanky Texan style.

A special lineup of Australian and international artists will push the boundaries of RnB, indie and pioneering electronic creations when they take to the stage in a free one-night only event at Powerhouse Late during the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival.

From 5 to 9pm on Thursday 19 October, the Powerhouse Late program puts live music front and centre with SXSW Sydney across three stages at Powerhouse Ultimo. Emerging and established artists including Isyana Sarasvati from Indonesia, South Korea’s ADOY, Tiffi, Big Skeez, Dust, SUPEREGO and Moss will perform. Artificial intelligence and live performance collide as Sydney-based electronic musicians salllvage and Alexis Weaver of Sonic Mutations create modern new music realities. The free Powerhouse Late event at Ultimo forms part of the festival’s walkable footprint in the Sydney CBD and surrounding neighbourhoods – which includes Haymarket, Darling Harbour, Ultimo and Chippendale - from 15–22 October.

Powerhouse Ultimo will also be home to a SXSW ticketed event, The Courtyard presented by Rolling Stone, which will showcase a special line up of artists including Barkaa, Jem Casser-Daley, and Telenova playing from 2 to 8pm daily between 18 – 21 October.

TikTok Australia will debut the House of Music Discovery at SXSW Sydney® on Wednesday, 18 October at Pleasures Playhouse. Derrick Gee will lead an engaging artist panel, setting the stage for a night of electrifying performances by renowned talents like YNG Martyr, Ashwarya, Ben Lee, Go-Jo, and many more!

Aotearoa New Zealand @ SXSW Sydney is a 3-day activation within the festival and conference including one of the biggest Kiwi music line-ups to be seen outside of New Zealand alongside a series of networking events, panel presentations showcasing contemporary culture and creativity from the land of the long white cloud. The programme will open on Wednesday 18 October with a focus on NZ gaming innovations led by NZ esports company Letsplay.Live. An indigenous screen content series will follow on Thursday with Friday focusing on music performances.

Music standouts across Aotearoa NZ @ SXSW Sydney include ASHY, Park Road, Daily J, Foley, Jordyn With A Why, Vera Ellen & Will Swinton. With 2.5 million+ streams across all platforms R&B, dance & contemporary artist ASHY will be performing off the back of her NZ Charts #1 single ‘No Man’s Land’. Indie band PARK RD have drawn comparisons to The 1975 & have just wrapped up a string of SOLD OUT shows across Auckland & Wellington before their jaunt to SXSW Sydney. Auckland act Daily J need no introduction to Australian audiences, with 2 x SOLD OUT Australian tours already in their back pockets. Wellington-based Vera Ellen will be looking to capitalize on a string of accolades, including being named ‘Best Alternative Artist’ at the 2022 Aotearoa Music Awards.

Canadian band Hotel Mira from Vancouver are playing at SXSW Saturday 21 October 21st @ The Barrie. Their forthcoming sophomore album I Am Not Myself set for release on 27 October includes Australian exclusive single King Of The World which dropped earlier this month, ready for the bands' first trip to Australia for their upcoming performances at Sydney SXSW.

UK singer, songwriter and artist Connie Constance brings her unique brand of indie rock to Australian shores for the first time this SXSW Sydney. Constance’s debut Australian tour comes almost a year on from the release of her watershed second LP, Miss Power. 10pm Thursday 19 October Hollywood Hotel, Surry Hills, 11.30pm Friday 20 October The Lord Gladstone, Chippendale, 6pm Saturday 21 October The Chippo Hotel.

Legendary voice actors Troy Baker and Anjali Bhimani are part of the SXSW Sydney 2023 Games Festival, launching on Wednesday 18 October. The acclaimed actors and musicians will also be performing moving renditions from Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical alongside Australian music sensation Montaigne at the SXSW Sydney 2023 Games Festival Opening Night on Tuesday 18 October. Troy and Anjali will also be speaking at the SXSW Sydney 2023 conference, joining a lineup of industry luminaries, renowned thought leaders, and professionals on the new frontiers of creativity.

Australians in Film (AiF), the Los Angeles based artist development organization, and their new presenting partner, Screen Australia have two stand out conference sessions in the line-up for SXSW Sydney 2023.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD on Monday 16 October, brings together four of Australia’s greatest exports, the critically acclaimed actor Jason Clarke (Oppenheimer, Mudbound, Winning Time: The Rise of The Lakers Dynasty and Zero Dark Thirty) and legendary director Phillip Noyce (Salt, The Quiet American, Revenge, The Resident) with Hollywood trailblazer, actor Charmaine Bingwa (The Good Fight), who sits on the AiF Advisory Board and Hollywood breakout screenwriter Amy Wang (Crazy Rich Asians 2), who will share their insights into working in Hollywood, their trajectory to get there, and how that success can be returned to Australia.

A SPOTLIGHT ON BLOSSOM FILMS, on Thursday 19 October, takes us inside the award-winning production company Blossom Films (Big Little Lies, Nine Perfect Strangers, The Undoing, Love and Death, and the upcoming Expats) with Australian screen icon and longtime supporter of AiF Nicole Kidman and her producing partner Per Saari.

As they are conference sessions, it is only possible to see the Spotlight on Blossom Films and Once Upon A Time In Hollywood sessions with a SXSW Sydney 2023 badge.

Badges and Wristbands are now available at