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Texan creativity festival SXSW to launch London edition in Shoreditch



South by Southwest, the creativity festival based in Austin, Texas, that has hosted the likes of Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg and Amy Winehouse, is launching a London edition next year.

Known as SXSW, the multi-day event – which has been running for almost four decades – celebrates new ideas and innovators across the culture, science and tech industries.

Over the course of a week in June, SXSW London will take over dozens of venues, galleries, clubs and spaces in Shoreditch, east London. It will feature speeches, music, tech, gaming and screen showcases, as well as host arts, design and fashion exhibitions and immersive experiences.

“As a lifelong fan of SXSW, I truly believe that it’s more than an event – it’s a movement, a platform where the world’s greatest minds, musicians and motivators come to share their passion and their vision of the future,” said Randel Bryan, managing director of SXSW London.

“SXSW London will build on Austin’s incredible legacy, presenting an event that underpins why SXSW is the go-to destination for professionals and creatives seeking meaningful connections, unexpected experiences and ideas that can help shape the world.

“SXSW London will also provide a platform for the next generation of creative talent and we will be working hard to ensure that opportunities for learning, employment and community uplift are at the heart of everything we do.”

Since its founding in 1987, SXSW has hosted leading speakers and participants across a multitude of disciplines, including Christiane Amanpour, Deepak Chopra, Mark Cuban, Melinda Gates, Dave Grohl, Sadiq Khan, Steven Spielberg, the Duchess of Sussex and Tilda Swinton.

It has also provided showcasing opportunities for new musicians and film-makers, with global cultural icons such as Winehouse, Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Skepta and Stormzy making early appearances there.

Startups such as X and Uber had their first outings at the festival.

SXSW London marks only the second iteration of the festival outside Austin after SXSW Sydney launched in 2023. It will be SXSW’s European debut, with a particular emphasis on creative talent from across Europe.

It is hoped the event will build on London’s place within the community of more than 20 million people working in the creative and technology sectors across the continent, which generate billions for the economy.

In the UK, the cultural and creative industries contribute £125bn, with London accounting for more than half of the country’s entire creative economic output.

Jann Baskett, the co-president and chief brand officer of SXSW, said: “We couldn’t be more excited to bring the SXSW experience to London. Following the success of SXSW Sydney, this is an incredible new opportunity to highlight the elements that make SXSW unique in one of the most vibrant cities in Europe.

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“We look forward to forming deeper connections with our overseas community and bringing the conversations that start in Austin all the way to Shoreditch.”

Jo Twist, the chief executive of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), said the move was “a wonderful endorsement of the UK as a world-leading centre of human creativity and tech-led innovation”.

Tom Kiehl, the interim chief executive at UK Music, said SXSW London was “not only fantastic news for the capital and the music industry, but more generally for the UK as a whole”.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said he was “delighted” to welcome SXSW to London. “When I was part of SXSW in Austin in 2018, I saw firsthand the electric atmosphere of innovation SXSW creates and I can’t wait to be part of it again.

“This is a historic opportunity for London to once again bring the world’s most exciting talent together as part of our mission to build a better and more prosperous London for everyone.”

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