Why SXSW is so Popular and Worth It?

Meeting people and seeing technology that you can only really witness at SXSW is why I’ve already bought tickets to SXSW 2024 in Austin, TX, USA and SXSW Sydney 2023, NSW, Australia.

If you don’t know what SXSW is or maybe you’ve vaguely heard about it then it is time to appreciate this mind-blowing, immersive experience,

“In its 36-year history, SXSW has helped give a platform to many women and gender-diverse people in creative fields. The event prides itself on being a safe space for experimentation, sharing of ideas and networking, and that’s why so many established and budding artists have been involved with it over the years.”

And on the question, why is SXSW so successful?

To begin with, its sheer size. SXSW showcases over 2,000 musical acts alone, according to its website, staging concerts at over 90 venues around Austin. “With a smorgasbord of new and rising bands in every genre,” SXSW is “the most determinedly forward-thinking event around,” says Eleanor Kagan at NPR.

From a firsthand experience that has taken a number of weeks to digest, this blog runs through the highlights from each day, starting with the day before.

It was a very easy and smooth process to pick up badges from SXSW registration today, with networking already starting meeting new friends in the line, such as Melissa Farrar, Director of Communications at Fairmont Austin, alongside Scott Perry and Benjamin Flink.

A summary social media post to help others with, Hot tips for people attending #sxsw #sxsw2023 for the first time:

– pick up your badge from registration early and add your photo to your profile in the app before you get there

– use the #SXSWGO app to do a bit of planning on sessions, reviewing which tracks are in each hotel/location, because staying in 1 place for a half day or full day means you won’t waste time trying to move between venues

– if you are flying into Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and want to skip taxi lines and rideshares surging, bus 20 is out front of the baggage claim area, go to carousel 7, out the door, cross the road and to your right near the big guitar

– the public bus costs $1.25, comes every 15 minutes and takes you down Congress into the city, with a short walk to the main hotels like JW Marriott Austin and the Austin Convention Center

– free food and drinks are available from many houses so register to as many as possible, also to parties, happy hours and #networking

– walking the streets of City of Austin Government you’ll come across many houses such as Founders House, Fast Company and Dolby House which overnight was painted in branded colours and signage.

Bought a SXSW tshirt, grabbed some tacos from OneTaco, watched the set up of ‘houses’ close to our hotel, and met with Kevin Koym from Tech Ranch to talk about the upcoming week, Meetup event, and ongoing partnership.

It was so lovely to meet people at The University of Texas at Austin networking event, on the eve of SXSW, which really set the scene for a remarkable week!  New connections included Konavis Smith, Director, Strategic Partnerships and Programs, Maria McGivney Arrellaga, Director of Marketing and Communications, Jason A. Rosenblum, Assistant Professor of Instruction, Art Markman, Vice Provost of Academic Affairs, Sam Heimbach, Assistant Director, University Marketing and Communications, and Sunshine Barber, Director of Marketing and Communications, Extended Education Ventures, with much potential to collaborate.

Cool to meet Gerrad Leal, Myrna Bittner, and go to the AWS Reception – LATAM Startups Ecosystem at Moonshine Grill.

On Friday, “Jet lag rained down today so after a bit of a sleep in I went to a session about longevity for dogs & humans in the 2050 track, learned about Miranda Kerr’s skincare business KORA Organics, then an #aws event, Reverse Pitch: Innovative Cities & Regions at Wax Myrtle’s where the Mayor Cavalier Johnson of Milwaukee, Wisconsin smashed the pitch, so did friends from St. Louis CITY SC.

Akeem Shannon from Get Flipstik was really generous giving me one of his products & we made a video that we’ll share as Midwest House is neighbours with Australia House.

Onto an international #startups F**up Nights events on #failures #successes – so many places to be & people to see including UK House @ SXSW!”

Appreciate Kath McIntyre, Director/Field Producer, reaching out via LinkedIn, who is now connected to Akeem and will try out Flipstik soon.

Kevin Koym and Tech Ranch colleagues hosted an international welcome reception where we appreciated meeting Stephen Feline, Director of North America at London & Partners, as London is a sister city of Austin.  The potential in the sister’s sisters is powerful, especially with AUKUS going beyond submarines.

Saturday saw,

“A fascinating session this morning about how to position as a diverse supplier to Meta, with LaMecia Butler and Jason Trimiew on ‘How to Open Doors for Your Diverse Business’ with more info at Meta Supplier Diversity”, and so nice to meet Crystal Houston.

“Seeing technology that you can only really witness at SXSW like RYZ Holograms by IKIN, wehead.com, Eve Air Mobility and Shared Studios at the #creative expo #holograms #hugs #electronic backpacks SXSW Sydney pop up studios #flyingcars and now a session on It Takes the World to Map the World #SXSW 🤖”, with Corinne Vigreux, Benjamin Schrom, Marc Prioleau, Michael Harrell.

More SXSW sessions covered topics such as Watercooler to Headset?  The Future of Workplaces, as well as something quite unexpected from The University of Arizona and their partnership with Age of Empires – Gaming the Past History as Time Travel with Alison Futrell & Paul Milliman, Wonder House SXSW23.

Checking out Australia House for the opening night on Sunday, we bumped into SXSW Sydney crew including Fenella Kernebone and Drew de Carvalho, The Voice of Australia in America and Devin Hollis from Movember,

“So friendly here in City of Austin Government & #gdayusa #AustraliaHouse is going off – opening act King Stingray were amazing & the Aussie DJ is killing it! #sxsw SXSW Scott Perry #startups #idea to #ipo Sounds Australia #entrepreneurshipfacilitators 🦘🐨 Jean Baker #clive 👮‍♀️

“So happy to be sharing the SXSW experience again with Scotty who has had my back since we were teenagers Scott Perry #sxsw #AustraliaHouse #sxsw2023.”

AI Doesn’t Make Hiring Decisions, People Do session by Jess Elmquist was right up my alley and I’m keen to explore the application of AI to HRTech, SkillsTech, Microcredentials, Strategic Workforce Planning and Development.  At a Happy Hour I met Beth Caplan, Susan Savkov and Niyanta Spelman from Rainforest Partnership who joined us at the Adelaide-Austin, SA-TX event, and would like to connect with Zoos SA, South Australian Museum, and like-minded people.

At the Austin, Texas x Adelaide, Australia – Sister City Meetup we were, “Excited to have Germein playing at the event on Wednesday afternoon here in City of Austin Government, Texas at G’Day USA #australiahouse – amazing talent from Brand South Australia @SXSW #SXSW #sxsw2023 #germein #germeinsisters #adelaide Austin-Adelaide Sister Cities Society Austin Sister Cities International ASCI.”

And Germein said about their experience,

Wow what a way to kick off our first ever shows in the USA!! 🥰 ✈️☀️🤠🙌🏽 Biggest love for having us SXSW we’ve had the BEST time with you all 😘 Shoutout to the amazing team at Sounds Australia for your love & support in Austin, we can’t wait to do it all again with you at The Great Escape UK in May 🇬🇧 🎥 @josieietto #germein #germeinsisters #sxsw #sisters #madeinadelaide #madeinaustralia #sisters #sisterband #siblingband Will & Bear Arts South Australia Solo Music Agency Nord Keyboards Taylor Guitars Fender SXSW Sydney G’Day USA Workforce BluePrint Wendy Perry”

Bumping into Jordan Tito all the way from Adelaide, South Australia,

“You never know who you are going to meet at SXSW including someone you know well hey Tracey Tito – conversation was at the next level for the City of Austin Government & City of Adelaide #sistercities #meetup thanks to Department for Trade and Investment.

Local #southaustralian band Germein who are debuting at #sxsw were outstanding & we’ll get you to play at a business event & maybe a wedding soon.

There are so many areas to collaborate & many people to tag too – time for chat to action…”

Read this latest blog on, Why is Now the Time to Invest in Taking Sister Cities Relationships to the Next Level – AUKUS for one and 40 year celebration for two, where Stewart Walker, President, North America, and Kaylee Robinson, Business Development Manager, Acclime, let’s chat about that soft landing pad.  Especially, Andrew Letton, Trade and Investment Director, South Australian Department for Trade and Investment; and Laura L, Strategic Partnerships, Marketing & Brand Strategy, American Australian Association, plus our MC Scott Perry, all of our speakers and supporters, Aditi Joshi, Austin Sister Cities International; Anne Derfler, Adelaide Sister Cities, Chair of the Austin-Adelaide Sister City Committee, Austin; Major Ben Flink, Head of Innovation and New Ventures, RAA, Adelaide; Kevin Koym, CEO, Techranch, Austin; and Roseanne Healy, CEO, Swarmer, Adelaide, thank you for making this a remarkable event.

Plus, more posts from socials,

“So cool to see what Disney unveiled at SXSW this year #starwars #tinkerbell #hulk #robots #animation #SXSW #sxsw2023 #imagineering.”

For The First Time, Disney Parks Takes Center Stage at SXSW 2023

Raphael Gielgen, Trendscout I Future of Work, Team Heiko thank you for sharing your charts and flipboard, and I’ve love to chat with you soon, and I enjoyed The Art of Creating Influence 101 session.

“Photos from SXSW where there is nothing else like it on the planet – sister city relationship between City of Austin Government and City of Adelaide makes for a more connected & collaborative experience.  Loads to digest, internalise, link, introduce and share from a memorable #SXSW #sxsw2023”

More connections made included with Martine Paris, Shaw Adcock, Josefina Echeverria, Zana Nesheiwat, Lisa J Schanley, Tomasz Brunarski, Mark Gregory, Courtney Tune, Edward Castillo and Johnny Russell from Russell Photonic.

On the way home from Austin to Dallas where there was a hail storm and then Sydney to Adelaide,

“Still in the SXSW bubble, watching sessions I didn’t get to (because there are hundreds each day) to fill in the wait at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Scott Perry are on the same flight and now sitting next to each other on the plane so after a long flight to Sydney then Adelaide followed by a massive sleep I should emerge sometime late on Monday to get back to y’all ✈️ 🙌🏻 🛌”

Please feel free to share this blog and posts with your networks and get in touch via mailto:wendy@workforceblueprint.com.au to talk about common ground, thanks.

  1. Thank you to everyone who helped me out and start the Meetup event in Austin via your social media and networks, such as:

From Suzanne Ingleton – “Anyone in Austin Texas, or know of peeps who live there? 

We would love you to pass on this wonderful invitation!

#Workforce Blueprint (aka Wendy Perry& Scott Perry) are about to host an epic event in a Sister City Meetup SXSW for the SA Department for Trade and Investment!

You are invited to a Sister and Friendly Cities Meetup – From Adelaide, South Australia, Australia to Austin, Texas, USA where y’all are welcome. Where sister and friendly cities relationships pave the way for collaboration, business, entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic development.

This will be the perfect opportunity to meet with delegates from sister city Austin in Texas, who host the remarkable SXSW Festival in March, where there is nothing like it on the planet, sees delegations coming from Adelaide, South Australia, and all over the world!

#SXSW #Adelaide #Austin #wendyperry”

Steve Davis, “If you know anybody going to SXSW, my friend, Wendy, is co-hosting a meetup in our sister city.”

Eddie Blass, “#SXSW #adelaide #austin #wendyperry

If anyone is going to SXSW in Austin, check ou this meetup to connect with other Aussies.  The lovely Wendy Perry is hosting so don’t worry if you don’t know anyone (or think you won’t), Wendy will make sure you quickly do!”

And from me,

“Not too shabby for a few hours sleep because of the excitement travelling to the USA 🇺🇸 – first leg is Melbourne then Los Angeles, California & final destination is City of Austin Government #Texas 🤠 for SXSW #sxsw #sxsw2023 Brand South Australia 🇦🇺 #IWD #iwd23 ✈️ G’Day USA.”

Scroll to Top