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SXSW Sydney: Everything You Need To Know And How To Attend

By Sammy Preston

People attending SXSW Sydney

South by Southwest (SXSW) is expanding outside of the US for the first time. And, in a major win for Sydney, it will be held here in October this year. The shiny new SXSW Sydney has announced the list of creatives and disruptors who will be attending.

SXSW Sydney will host over 1,000 events and experiences across one busy week. Included in the mix will be over 700 speakers, 300 performances, 170 games demos, 200 film events, a huge tech and innovation expo, and one week of free events at Tumbalong Park. 

In and around all of the action, you'll get to uncover SXSW's signature immersive activations, parties, and networking opportunities. All events will be held in the CBD and surrounding neighbourhoods. 

Friday 6 October Update:
Nicole Kidman, Jason Clarke, and Phillip Noyce Join The Lineup

Nicole Kidman, Jason Clarke, and Phillip Noyce have been added to the speaker lineup for the inaugural SXSW Sydney. The three Hollywood luminaries will appear as part of two Australians in Film (AiF) and Screen Australia presentations.

The first, "A Spotlight on Blossom Films" will go behind the scenes of Blossom Films with Nicole Kidman and her producing partner Per Saari. Blossom Films is the award-winning production house behind Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers

In the second, "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood",  actor Jason Clarke (Oppenheimer, Mudbound, Zero Dark Thirty) and legendary director Phillip Noyce (Salt, The Quiet American, Revenge, The Resident) will join a panel of actors and screenwriters to discuss success in Hollywood. 

There's a lot to digest, but we've got you covered right here. Keep scrolling for everything you need to know about the inaugural SXSW Sydney program. 

SXSW Sydney Conference Keynotes

Chance the Rapper, who will be speaking at SXSW Sydney in 2023The SXSW Sydney Conference will feature over 700 speakers across 300 panels and sessions. As with every SXSW festival, presentations, panels, workshops, and mentor sessions will be held with a host of influential and inspirational individuals.

Amy Webb, an American futurist, was the first keynote speaker to be dropped in the SXSW Sydney lineup. She is an author and the CEO/founder of the leading foresight and future strategy firm Future Today Institute. Amy was recognised by Forbes as "one of the five women changing the world" in 2022, and her foresight methodology has enabled her to advise hundreds of leaders and organisations on how to prepare for complex futures. Expect to hear Webb go deep on all things AI. 

Fashion designer, best-selling author, content creator, and life-changer Tan France from Netflix's Queer Eye is coming to Sydney as well as Coachella CEO and music industry leader Paul Tollett. Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker has been added to the speaker lineup, alongside Chance The Rapper, who will speak on the 50-year history of hip-hop music. 

Cal Henderson—the co-founder and CTO of messaging platform Slack—will also be speaking. You'll also be able to hear Chris Lee a.k.a. Sung-Su Lee (Chief A&R Officer and former CEO of SM Entertainment), Guy Kawasaki (Chief Evangelist of Canva and former Apple Chief Evangelist), Que Minh Luu (Director of Content at Netflix), and Manal al-Sharif (Saudi women’s rights activist, author, cyber security specialist, and founder of the Ethical Technologists Society).

You'll also see talks from Robyn Denholm (Chair of Tesla and Operating Partner of venture capital firm Blackbird Ventures), Kyas Hepworth (Head of Screen NSW, previously NITV’s Head of Commissioning and Programming), and Sheila Nguyen (a regenerative built environment design professional, and Head of Sustainability for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023).

Audience-voted "Session Select" talks will cover topics like First Nations storytelling, lab-grown meat, the dubious future of NFTs, and entrepreneurship with the founder of Seek. 

SXSW Sydney Music Festival

A portrait of SXSW Sydney performer redveilOne of the most exciting elements of SXSW has to be the chance to experience undiscovered music talent. Many artists have hit the big time after appearing at SXSW. These include Odd Future, HAIM, John Mayer, The White Stripes, Feist, M.I.A., Bon Iver, and Katy Perry.

If you're keen to catch some up-and-coming music talent, the SXSW Sydney Music Festival will light up multiple live music venues throughout the city where showcasing artists will perform in front of industry reps, media, and thousands of fans and fellow musicians.

The first drop of international music acts (with loads more to come) includes Nigerian-British indie-pop songwriter Connie Constance, Canadian new-wave breakthrough solo artist Ekkstacy, ferocious Japanese punk four-piece Otoboke Beaver, and American rapper-producer redveil who recently scored an 8.0 in a Pitchfork review of his debut LP "learn to swim".  

We'll also see Tokyo’s CHAMELEON LIME WHOOPIEPIE, New Zealand-based Korean singer-songwriter hanbee, Seoul's HYPNOSIS THERAPY, future alt-pop singer-songwriter Wallice from LA. 

Local acts announced so far include Alter BoyGO-JOAndrew Gurruwiwi BandMilkuPANIAVv PeteTeenage Joans, and more.

SXSW Sydney Gaming Festival

A gaming room which is part of the Games Festival at South by Southwest SydneySXSW Sydney will also feature a new Gaming Festival. It will celebrate the future of the gaming industry, and embrace the power and potential of gaming. There will be over 100 independent games available to play at the Showcase venues. Gaming industry professionals and audiences can connect, collaborate, exhibit, and build relationships at various events. These include demonstrations, product launches, stage sessions, and social events.

More SXSW Sydney: Film, Tech, And Innovation

People watching a panel discussion in a theatre which is part of the Screen Festival at South by Southwest SydneyAlso on the program, the SXSW Sydney Screen Festival is a future-focused program of film, episodic content, digital, XR, and social content premieres.

Then, there's the SXSW Sydney Technology & Innovation Exhibitions showcasing emerging tech and entertainment companies. The Startup Village is a spot for meet-ups, presentations, and showcases from up-and-coming businesses across all industries and sectors.

SXSW Sydney Badges: How To Attend SXSW Sydney

SXSW Sydney ticketing uses a badge system. Badges grant access to the week-long conference, expos, festivals, and networking sessions, with different badge types granting a different level of access. You can browse the selection of badges and purchase them here.

SXSW Sydney will also include a number of free events, hosted at Tumbalong Park. Check out the schedule here

The full SXSW schedule of events is now live here

The Details

What: SXSW Sydney
When: Sunday 15–Sunday 22 October 2023
Where: Sydney CBD and surrounds

Now, read our chat with SXSW co-president and chief programming officer Hugh Forrest.

Image credit: SXSW Sydney

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