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What is South by Southwest Sydney and how can you get involved?

For the first time in its 36-year history, creative arts festival South by Southwest (SXSW) is debuting outside of its home in Austin, Texas.

This year, the enormous event lands in Sydney, with a program of musical performances, film screenings, gaming competitions, tech showcases and industry talks running from October 15–22.

The city will have visits during this time from Chance the Rapper, Nicole Kidman and Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker, alongside exhibits of flying cars and robotics demos.

But as an industry-targeted event, the ticket prices for the inaugural Asia-Pacific iteration of this festival are out of reach for most.

So, what actually is SXSW? And how can you get involved without spending big?

What is SXSW?

“SXSW is the World’s Fair for creative content industries,” says Colin Daniels, managing director of SXSW Sydney.

Managing director of SXSW Sydney Colin Daniels has attended the event in Austin, Texas, 16 times.(Supplied: SXSW Sydney)

Since its launch in 1987, the event has encompassed a range of creative fields, spanning music, film, gaming, tech and innovation, with a conference filled with big-name keynote speakers at its centrepiece.

“Someone else called it, ‘the Olympics of Festivals’,” Daniels says.

“It’s a festival of festivals — that allows you to experience all of them at once.”

Why is it a big deal?

This is the festival for big industry moments.

Girls and Handmaid’s Tale both premiered at SXSW.

An exiled Edward Snowden gave a keynote talk in 2014 via Skype (the year after he Wiki-Leaked) and Twitter was launched at the festival in 2007.

Many a famous musical career has been launched after early appearances at SXSW, from Amy Winehouse to James Blunt and Kid Cudi to Haim.

Prince, Johnny Cash, Kanye West and Jay-Z have all appeared and, one time, Bill Murray took up spontaneous bartending to keep festival-goers watered.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-10-12/what-is-sxsw-sydney-how-to-get-involved/102938006 What is South by Southwest Sydney and how can you get involved?

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