SXSW Sydney’s First Edition To Host Asia-Pacific Focus Music & Film Festival

The music programming at SXSW’s first edition outside Austin, Texas is adequate for any participating festival, expo, or conference audience.

SXSW Oct 2023 Sydney Music Conference. Music Press Asia

[SXSW Photo by Jane Greer. Music Press Asia]

SXSW First Edition in Sydney, Australia

When SXSW at Austin Texas faced challenges to closing down during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was evident that drastic measures were in place to keep the festival strategically current.

With IFPI’s latest report on the growing music industry in Asia-Pacific, it is no surprise that SXSW sees an opportunity in the new world.

If we have all seen this coming, Asia-Pacific is fast becoming the center stage for the creative industry to converge.

SXSW Sydney 1st Music Fest. Music Press Asia
[The Austin, Texas innovation conference and cultural festival SXSW expands the event outside North America for the first time in its 37-year history.]

This week-long event from 15 to 22 October will see more than 1,000 events and networking sessions from the Tech and Innovation, Games, Music, Screen and Culture industries.

Crossing the continent for the first time, it is headed to Sydney Harbour, Australia.

Minister for Jobs and Tourism, Minister for the Arts and Minister for Music and the Night-time Economy, John Graham says: “SXSW Sydney will be a unique event that celebrates the ability to wander from place to place, a roving festival offering activations to enjoy along with other members of this creative community – it will be an experience that people are going to love. If you’re not on board by now, you’ve got a month to get on board to celebrate the incredible creative people and places we have here in Sydney.”

BigSound Music Conference returns to Brisbane Australia. Music Press Asia
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Special Music Screenings

The South by Southwest festival in Sydney is prepping up its first edition outside Austin, Texas. With over 75 feature film and TV screenings and joint programming with Winda Film Festival, it has also announced short films totaling 40 shorts, 20 music videos and 13 XR projects, with more still to come.

However, the World Premiere of the music documentary ONEFOUR: Against All Odds has caught our eye. A fictional film directed by Gabriel Gasparinatos and produced by Sarah Noonan, it is about the Western Sydney drill rap band – a group of Sydney-based, Pacific Islanders kids. Two years into their meteoric rise, a police task force shuts down their sold-out national tour due to concerns that the group’s music will incite violence.

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The screenings at SXSW also feature the Australian Premiere of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Opus, the final recorded concert from the late, lauded Japanese composer who died earlier this year at the age of 71. The recorded concert is directed by Neo Sora. Sakamoto scored the films “The Last Emperor,” “The Sheltering Sky” and “The Revenant” and was a founder of the influential Yellow Magic Orchestra techno-pop band.

Music Program

The SXSW Sydney 2023 Music Festival will run from October 18 to 21.

More than 300 artists will descend on SXSW Sydney for the Music Festival (sponsored by Young Henrys) taking part in countless parties and events hosted at some of the city’s most iconic venues, including the Lansdowne and Hotel Hollywood.

Isyana Sarasvati performs SXSW Sydney Oct2023. Music Press Asia
[Isyana Sarasvati, Indonesia and Asia-Pacific’s most prominent artists this season is set to perform at SXSW Sydney this October 2023. Music Press Asia]

Catch performances from the best emerging and established acts from around the world – from TikTok track stars Flyana Boss, Indonesian triple threat Isyana Sarasvati, Korea’s own ADOY and emerging R&B powerhouse Chanel Loren.

Music Videos showcase the breakout stars of APAC music video culture, and the SXSW Sydney 2023
Screen Festival playlist includes: A world of magical realism in Isyana Sarasvati – “My Mystery;”
diasporic Filipinx contemporary fantasy in BVT – “Lalaki;” Korean-Australian hip hop from Sydney
with 1300 – “Rocksta;” and the joyously camp story of a “Ghetto Popstar,” Rodney Chrome – “To the

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Music Press Asia’s Asia-Pacific focus choice also includes music videos by:

  • BABYMETAL – “METALI!! メタり!!” feat. Tom Morello (Japan)
  • Isyana Sarasvati – “My Mystery” (Indonesia), directed by Habille Elgieano
  • Maie – “Kosmo” (AU/China), directed by Reggie Ba-Pe III and William Mok
  • Phum Viphurit – “Welcome Change” (Thailand), directed by Kuttiya Kanchanasopawong
  • The Dinosaur’s Skin 恐龍的皮 – “In My Dreams (You’re Not Extinct)” (Taiwan), directed by
    郭佩萱 Pei-Hsuan Guo

With SXSW Sydney’s natural affinity to all things sonic, the SXSW Sydney 2023 Screen Festival’s Music section celebrates the sounds, culture and influence of music and fandom on screen. These include:

  • a rich archival account of the devastating, infamous undoing of the former superstar pop duo in Milli Vanilli
  • an intimate documentary on America’s best-selling girl group, TLC Forever
  • never-before-seen footage chronicling Cyndi Lauper’s trailblazing journey as a musician and activist in Let the Canary Sing
  • a career-spanning portrait of Ukrainian immigrant and punk legend Eugene Hütz in Scream of My Blood: A Gogol Bordello Story.

Conference/Music Program

Hear from leading music industry figures such as Coachella’s Paul Tollett (Coachella) and Chris Lee (SM Entertainment). Join conversations about the challenges and opportunities ahead, with panels and sessions about the collision of AI and creativity, ‘The Future of Music Tech’ and so much more.

Angjoo Kanazawa Tye Sheridan discuss AI SXSW. Music Press Asia
[Angjoo Kanazawa and Tye Sheridan discuss the role of #AI in the film and tv industry at SXSW Marc 2023. Music Press Asia]

SXSW Sydney’s Regional Collborator

Like the original SXSW® in Austin, there’ll be a number of designated ‘country houses’, including the British Music Embassy and Korea Spotlight presented by Kocca, and numerous showcases from record labels, brands, festivals and agencies from around the APAC region.

Collaborating with the festival since the initial Australian announcement last year, Present Company take the lead on brand, creative and social, while Thinking Loud are managing the PR across culture, music, and gaming media.

SXSW Sydney premieres Ryuichi Sakamoto OPUS Neo Sora. Music Press Asia
[SXSW Sydney premieres Ryuichi Sakamoto’s recorded concert OPUS, directed by Neo Sora. Music Press Asia]

Organic Pacific are working in conjunction with Thinking Loud, and are responsible for Australian screen, business, and technology media.

Globally, Organic international teams will manage domestic US and European communications, with Red Havas Singapore acting as the PR lead for the Asian markets.

SXSW Sydney is supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.

Attend SXSW Sydney

The SXSW Sydney Music Festival is accessible to Badge holders and those with a Music Wristband. Wristbands give access to SXSW Sydney’s Music, Screen or Games festivals, for performances, screenings and showcases. Music Festival: 300 performances in 25 venues over 4 nights. Screen Festival: unlimited screenings over one week. Games Festival: 150 new indie games and parties over 6 nights.

For more information about SXSW Sydney and its film, gaming and tech sections, visit their official website here.

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