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Key Events to Attend at SXSW Sydney


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The biggest music industry event in Australia brings together professionals from all around the world to discuss all things music, media and technology. During this week, Sydney will become a melting pot of innovative ideas and events. The Music Void gives some tips that might help your navigation around SXSW.

This year, Sydney became the first-ever host city of an annual South by Southwest (SXSW) event outside of Austin, Texas where the event was conceived in 1987. During the week, SXSW Sydney will feature more than 1,200 events and sessions that involve an impressive list of speakers such as film industry celebrities Nicole Kidman, Baz Luhrmann, and Australian actress Naomi Watts to name a few.

All events are divided into six categories: conference, EXPO, games and music festivals, participating brands and screen festival. The latter gives a unique opportunity to see the premiere of an unreleased film. The long-awaited screening of Peter Doherty: Stranger In My Own Skin takes place on 18 October at Event Cinema. The documentary is distilled from about two hundred hours of footage made by The Libertines’ Pete Doherty’s partner Katla deVidas. It shows the musician at his most vulnerable and his eventual transition from the darker world of fame and drugs to the lighter realm.

With its 50th anniversary in 2023, hip hop is given particular attention at the SXSW conference. Hence, one of the panel discussions, titled (De)Criminalising Hip-Hop. Digital, marketing and strategy expert Joel Duncan, Murray Lee, professor in criminology at the University of Sydney Law School, and artist manager Ricky Simandjuntak will talk about counter-terrorist laws imposed on artists. This panel will look at the current situation for hip-hop and drill artists and will examine how we change this in the future.

Inevitably, AI will be addressed in full at the panel with its subtitle (“The Music Industry Frenemy”) reflecting the controversy over the technology. Lawyer Daniel Anstey, Rob Barbato, creative director at Squeak E. Clean Studios, programmer Rupert Manfredi and musician Sally Coleman are going to find out how AI may impact the future of creativity for music–for better and worse.

The music festival celebrates local talent with the inclusion of artists from Asia and South West Pacific region. Its long-awaited arrival of SXSW in Australia was commented on by the country’s leading political figures. Minister for Jobs and Tourism John Graham said: “Straight from Austin, Texas to Sydney, our city will be the centre of the music, screen, gaming and tech world this week as we welcome locals and visitors to enjoy the inaugural SXSW Sydney. I’m very pleased that people attending SXSW will have the chance to see Sydney at its best after dark, soaking up music, ideas, and culture. It’s the first time this event is being held outside of its Texas origins”.

“SXSW Sydney will be a game-changing event for NSW. It is just the beginning of an unrivalled cultural events calendar over the coming months showcasing Sydney’s local talent, creativity, culture and natural beauty that draws people in from across the country and around the world.”


  • Irina Shtreis

    Irina Shtreis is a music writer, researcher and musician. Her byline has appeared in British publications such as MOJO magazine, The Quietus and Louder Than War. Irina has been a news editor of the latter since 2020.


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