When SXSW Sydney takes place in a tight footprint between ICC Sydney and Sydney’s Central Station in October, it will be the first time an iteration of the place-making festival has been hosted outside North America. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, the event has significantly boosted the reputation of its original host city.
From October 15-22, ICC Sydney will host the SXSW Sydney conference, comprising more than 200 sessions, including presentations, panels and workshops, across 19 different program tracks. The venue will also host the SXSW Sydney Tech & Innovation Expo, the SXSW Sydney Pitch competition for startups, the SXSW Sydney Games Festival and some screenings for the SXSW Film Festival.
ICC Sydney proved its capabilities on the film front last week, hosting 2,500 for the premiere of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One in the Darling Harbour Theatre, which will also host SXSW Film Festival films. Hosting a film premiere for the first time, for Tom Cruise’s latest blockbuster, the venue made modifications to the theatre to enable Dolby Digital sound, proving its flexibility to accommodate diverse needs for its event clients.
“One of the Sydney CBD’s greatest strengths is its abundance of exceptional event venues such as ICC Sydney, University of Technology Sydney and Powerhouse which are conveniently located adjacent to active transport hubs, accommodation and dining precincts,” said CEO of Destination NSW, Steve Cox.
“As a world-class major event venue and the festival hub, ICC Sydney will contribute immensely to the success of SXSW Sydney and to the enjoyment of festivalgoers from around the world, helping further cement the Harbour City’s enviable reputation as the events and creative industries capital of the Asia Pacific.”
The state minister for the arts, music and the night-time economy, John Graham, said SXSW Sydney was particularly exciting given nearly a decade of challenges for Sydney – from Sydney’s infamous late-night lockout laws which dampened the city’s nightlife to the lockdowns of the pandemic.
“The timing of the arrival of SXSW Sydney couldn’t be better as we launch the state’s creative industries policy,” said Graham.
“SXSW is a great embodiment of the excitement and potential of the creative industries. After a decade of lockouts and lockdowns the city is coming back to life – as the anchor venue for SXSW Sydney, ICC Sydney will greatly contribute to the event by showcasing the city.”
For the ICC Sydney team, the venue’s CEO Geoff Donaghy said it was an opportunity both for event delivery and maximising the legacy of SXSW Sydney.
“With only three months to go, our team is looking forward to delivering this special, future-focused event and once again reaffirming ICC Sydney as a powerhouse destination for major events,” said Donaghy.
“Beyond providing an extraordinary experience for the diversity of SXSW Sydney visitors, we welcome the opportunity to collaborate on delivering a positive legacy for years to come – from the economic benefit across our dynamic city to environmental sustainability solutions and facilitating connections into our local community – every focal area of our corporate social responsibility strategy will be brought to the fore through SXSW Sydney.”
TEG, which is responsible for delivering SXSW Sydney, has also expressed its confidence in its anchor venue.
“TEG has partnered with ICC Sydney on the delivery of hundreds of events over the years,” said Geoff Jones, SXSW Sydney chair and CEO of TEG.
“We are looking forward to presenting SXSW Sydney in the best possible destination for culturally significant, high-energy events. Showcasing thought-provoking speakers and the newest in games and entertainment, SXSW Sydney is set to be a truly transformative event.”