'Queer Eye' Star Tan France and Coachella's CEO Are the Latest Headliners on SXSW Sydney's Speaker Lineup

The Austin-born festival's Down Under debut will span 700-plus speakers, more than 300 panels and events, and over 400 artist performances.
Sarah Ward
July 27, 2023

When South by Southwest revealed two key pieces of news back in 2022 — that it would be held outside of the US for the first time ever, and that it was heading to Sydney to make that happen — the end result was always going to be big. SXSW Sydney is still more than two months away, taking place from Sunday, October 15–Sunday, October 22, but it just keeps adding to its hefty lineup. The latest? Queer Eye star Tan France and Coachella CEO Paul Tollett as headline speakers.

France joins the bill as part of SXSW Sydney's focus on screens. The Yorkshire-raised, fashion-loving star has plenty to talk about, including Queer Eye, his New York Times best-selling memoir, YouTube's Dressing Funny, fellow Netflix series Next In Fashion and his own gender-neutral clothing line.

The screen fest within the fest is yet to announce what it'll be showing, but it also named filmmakers Leah Purcell (The Drover's Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson), Kodie Bedford (Mystery Road: Origin) and Jub Clerc (Sweet As) among its speakers earlier in July.

Tollett clearly connects to SXSW Sydney's music festival, given that he has experience with one of the biggest such events in the world. As CEO of Goldenvoice, the promoter behind Coachella, he's also spearheaded the Stagecoach country fest — and he started his career in the 80s working in rock.

Also joining the speaker lineup as a headliner Cal Henderson, who your workplace might owe a debt to. He's Slack's co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, and ties into SXSW's Sydney's technology strand.

And, as already announced back in February, American futurist, The Genesis Machine author, and Future Today Institute founder and CEO Amy Webb is both a keynote speaker and headliner.

France, Tollett, Henderson and Webb will feature among 700-plus speakers, and more than 300 panels and events, at the Austin-born festival's Down Under debut. So far, the fest has also unveiled  a batch of music highlights and must-attend parties, plus details of its gaming strand, with more program details still to come.

On the music front, over 400 artist performances will take over Sydney's venues, with the entire event happening within a walkable precinct in the Sydney CBD, Haymarket, Darling Harbour, Ultimo, Chippendale and more — aka a huge hub.

Brittany Hallberg

SXSW's setup includes packing festivals within the bigger fest, plus exhibitions, talks, networking opportunities and streetside activations popping up everywhere. So far, venues named include Powerhouse Museum, ICC Sydney, UTS, Central Park Mall, the Goods Line Walk, The Abercrombie and Lansdowne Hotel.

Attendees can hit up the SXSW Sydney Conference, which is where those keynotes, presentations, panels, workshops and mentor sessions come in. And, there's the SXSW Sydney Technology & Innovation Exhibitions, which is all about innovative and emerging tech and entertainment companies from across the Asia-Pacific region. Plus, at the Startup Village, up-and-comers from all industries and sectors will have space to meet, present and chat.

Brittany Hallberg

SXSW's arts fests will span the SXSW Sydney 2023 Music Festival, which will be focused on live music venues in central Sydney — and the SXSW Sydney Gaming Festival, complete with more than 100 local and international independent games to play at venues (alongside demonstrations, launches performances, exhibitions and social gatherings).

Movie and TV lovers, get excited — because the SXSW Sydney Screen Festival isn't just a film fest. There'll be flicks to see, including at red-carpet premieres; episodic content; and digital, XR and social content. Expect Q&As and panel discussions with the folks behind them as well.

Jordan Kirk

SXSW Sydney will run from Sunday, October 15–Sunday, October 22 at various Sydney venues — head to the festival's website for further details.

Top image: Netflix.


Published on July 27, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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