SXSW Sydney Has Added More Than 500 Speakers, Screenings, Artists, Workshops and Games to Its 2024 Lineup

If this year's festival already sounds huge — and it does — less than a third of the full program has been revealed so far.
Sarah Ward
Published on June 25, 2024

It was already apparent from afar, which is where Australians watched all things SXSW from before 2023. Now that the tech, innovation, screen, music, games and culture festival has expanded Down Under, it's even more evident: this is one enormous event. How big? The inaugural SXSW Sydney spanned more than 700 speakers and talents, covered in excess of 300 sessions and hosted over 300 gigs across 25 venues. 2024's follow-up might just top those numbers, announcing another 500-plus additions to a lineup that even now hasn't revealed a third of the full program yet.

This is the second round of speakers and sessions named for SXSW Sydney 2024 so far, after this year's first lineup details were revealed back in May (and after it was announced in late 2023 that the event would return for a second year, too). Like the initial program drop ahead of the fest's seven-day run between Monday, October 14–Sunday, October 20, this one features a bit of everything. On the list: folks who'll be getting talking, additions to the music roster, flicks that'll be hitting the big screen and studios that'll be showcasing their games, for starters.

That aforementioned 500-plus figure includes speakers, screenings, artists, workshops, games and experiences, meaning that there's already a reason on the program for everyone to head along. At the SXSW Sydney Conference, benefiting from the response to the fest's Session Selects — where the public both submits and then votes on what they'd to see at SXSW — additions among the topics range from advances in medicine, how biotech will change our lives, and the threat of deepfakes and fake news through to odd spots in the cosmos, the power of dressing, trend analysis and companion robots.

If you're interested in learning more about how tech can make a social impact, milk, AI and intimacy, neurotechnology, smart cities and constantly being watched, that's all on the bill as well. So is a session on brand trust with Bunnings Managing Director Mike Schneider (but there's no word yet if there'll be a sausage sizzle involved).

For those keen on hitting as many gigs as possible, the SXSW Sydney Music Festival has added 60-plus artists. Accordingly, when you're not catching Voice of Baceprot, the first Indonesian band to take to the stage at Glastonbury, you can check out artists from Australia, Colombia, India, Japan, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and the UK — such as Phoebe Rings, I'mdifficult, Clara Benin, The Grogans, JESHI, The Buoys, Mincy, RINSE, Mulga Bore Hard Rock, ixaras and Death of Heather.

Screen obsessives who also love tunes, or vice versa, can look forward to the SXSW Sydney Screen Festival playing a heap of music-related films. Documentary The Most Australian Band Ever! about the Hard-Ons sits on the lineup alongside S/He Is Still Her/e: The Official Genesis P-Orridge, which is executive produced by Against Me!'s Laura Jane Grace — and also Alien Weaponry: Kua Tupu Te Ara, about thrash metal in the Māori language. The fest will also show music videos, such as 'U Should Not Be Doing That' from Amyl and The Sniffers, 'See You Tomorrow' from BAD // DREEMS and 'Settle Petal' from The Buoys.

Or, if you're eager to get nostalgic and maybe crave a slice or several with your SXSW movie date, there's Slice of Life: The American Dream. In Former Pizza Huts. The latest documentary from Barbecue and We Don't Deserve Dogs' Matthew Salleh and Rose Tucker, who are no strangers to SXSW in Austin, it sees the Australian-born, Brooklyn-based duo explore the US today through former Pizza Hut buildings.

At the SXSW Sydney Games Festival, studios from 16 different countries are now on the program — and, beginning with HORSES, Wild Bastards and Fishbowl, so is half of the Games Festival Showcase. Also, the Games Investment Forum will include Raw Fury, Null Games, Team17, Whitethorn Games, Playside Publishing, Critical Reflex, Astra Logical Games, Landfall Games, PQube, Headup Games, UltraPlayers, Fellow Traveller and WINGS Interactive among its publishers and funding bodies.

Given that the 2024 program already boasts Australian astronaut Katherine Bennell-Pegg, TikTok marketing head Sofia Hernandez, Heartbreak High star Ayesha Madon, human rights lawyer and barrister Jennifer Robinson, cricketer David Warner, Mortal Kombat director Simon McQuoid, Def Jam-signed Australian talent SAHXL, a game about turning fruit into your own menu and a short film about a housewife trying to get a free pizza, plus plenty more, it's worth saying it again: SXSW is massive, including in Sydney.

If you missed it, 2023's inaugural SXSW Sydney welcomed everyone from Black Mirror's Charlie Brooker and Chance The Rapper to Future Today Institute founder and CEO Amy Webb and Nicole Kidman to its stages. In the process, and via not just its talks but also its concerts, films, TV shows and games as, it notched up 287,014 attendances from 97,462 unique attendees. Those figures came from 34,975 total tickets, with folks from 41 countries heading along to 1178 sessions.

SXSW Sydney 2024 will run from Monday, October 14–Sunday, October 20 at various Sydney venues. Head to the SXSW Sydney website for further details.

Images: Jami Joy, Ian Laidlaw, Jess Gleeson, Katje Ford and Paul McMillan.

Published on June 25, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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