South by Southwest heads to Sydney in 2023, the first time the pop culture and “futuristic” festival has branched out outside the US since its launch in 1987.
SXSW Sydney will take place from October 15 to 22 next year with 1,000 events, screenings and performances across the city, Destination NSW, the New South Wales government’s tourism and major events agency, announced on Thursday.
Details of the lineup and keynote speakers will be announced in the coming months.
For more than three decades, the annual Texas festival has welcomed high-profile speakers from Hollywood, politics, and technology, including Barack and Michelle Obama, Jordan Peele, Taika Waititi, Steven Spielberg, Lady Gaga, Prince, Melinda Gates, Elizabeth Warren, and Snoop Dogg. It has also become a hub for film and television premieres, music, gaming, technology, and podcasting.
SXSW Sydney director Colin Daniels said the new festival would showcase “the largest group of inspiring international thinkers, creators, innovators and artists ever in Sydney” and would focus on those working in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Sydney festival is billed as “the official annual Asia-Pacific episode of SXSW,” but SXSW’s interactive director Hugh Forrest told Variety that the Sydney event would also be issuing invites to individuals from Silicon Valley and Hollywood.
The event producer for SXSW Sydney, Geoff Jones, described the festival as “the Olympic Games of events for the creative industries”.
“We are excited to bring this legendary festival of gaming, music, screen, technology and innovation to Sydney in 2023,” he said.
The Secretary of State for Tourism and Sports, Stuart Ayres, said the festival would bring “significant benefits to NSW’s visitor economy”.
The chief executive of the Australian Recording Industry Association, Annabelle Herd, welcomed the news, calling it “a real opportunity for Australia to lead the global discussion on future trends, innovation and the value of the creative economy”.
She said it was “a real game-changer for Sydney’s cultural vision, but it’s also an exceptional moment for the Asia-Pacific region, which has long deserved a conference of this magnitude”.
The next SXSW will be in Austin in March.