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SXSW Sydney 2023: Days 6, 7 and 8

Day 6 of SXSW Sydney was a symphony of inspiration, exploration, and musical delights. As the music festival kicked into high gear, the SXSW Sydney precinct became a buzzing hub of enthusiastic attendees hopping from venue to venue, eager to discover new artists and revel in the performances of their favourites.

But SXSW Sydney isn't just about the music; it's a multidisciplinary extravaganza. The conference offered a diverse range of talks, from the fascinating realm of de-extinction to delving into the marriage of AI and music creativity. Attendees explored the transformative potential of VR/AR technology on culture and society. Simultaneously, the Tech Expo, Screen Festival, and Games Festival continued to captivate and unite attendees.

Dodo De-Extinction and the Resurrection of Lost Animals - Ben Lamm and Andrew Pask in Conversation

One of the day's highlights was a captivating conversation between Ben Lamm, the CEO of Colossal Biosciences, and Professor Andrew Pask, leading the Thylacine Integrated Genetic Restoration Research (TIGRR) Lab at the University of Melbourne. Their mission: resurrecting the Tasmanian tiger, also known as the thylacine.

In the company of wildlife scientist Dr. Vanessa Pirotta, Ben and Andrew revealed their ground-breaking partnership poised to make significant contributions to marsupial conservation in Australia. They shared their access to CRISPR DNA editing technology and a network of expert scientists.

The grand vision? To potentially reintroduce a living baby thylacine within a decade, advancing marsupial conservation and de-extinction efforts.

Coachella Co-Founder and AEG's Global Touring SVP in Conversation

Music aficionados rejoiced in the extensive conversation between two industry giants: Coachella Co-Founder and Goldenvoice President Paul Tollett and AEG's Global Touring SVP Michael “Harry” Harrison.

Their discussion began with the inception of Coachella, the world's most popular music festival. It traversed the evolution and the future of this iconic event and extended to related festivals like Stagecoach, Desert Trip, and Power Trip. They explored the myriad artists, both established and emerging, who have graced Coachella's stage, and they shared insights into the global touring industry's future. Their shared success story with BLACKPINK added another layer of fascination.

The conversation also ventured into the rise of new music genres and Michael's journey from an Australian promoter to a global industry leader.

Intel Extreme Masters - Day 1

The world's largest esports tournament made a triumphant return to Sydney for the first time since 2019. Day 1 witnessed four top Counter-Strike teams - Complexity vs. Betboom and FaZe Clan vs. Ence - battling it out in the quarter-finals, vying for a substantial prize pool of $250,000 USD.

The Aware Super Theatre was alive with thousands of enthusiastic gamers, creating the energetic and spirited atmosphere that characterizes Intel Extreme Masters events and reaffirming why Australian audiences are celebrated as some of the best in esports.

Saltburn Premiere

The Australian premiere of "Saltburn," a creation of Academy Award-winning filmmaker Emerald Fennell (known for "Promising Young Woman"), turned out to be a spectacular gala event at the ICC. "Saltburn" weaves a beguiling tale of privilege and desire, following student Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan) as he navigates the enigmatic world of aristocratic Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi). The journey unfolds at Saltburn, the Catton family's sprawling estate, promising a summer that will be forever etched in memory.

Day 7 of SXSW Sydney: The Unstoppable Unveiling

The 7th day of SXSW Sydney saw no signs of slowing down. A diverse crowd of gamers, film enthusiasts, tech connoisseurs, and music lovers converged in the bustling precinct, united by their shared quest for knowledge and entertainment. The day brought a star-studded line-up with a touch of humour and plenty of intriguing conversations.

Baz Luhrmann's Grand Arrival

The highlight of the day was the world premiere of Baz Luhrmann's "Faraway Downs" at the ICC Sydney. This epic adventure serves as a reimagined and extended version of his 2008 film, "Australia," narrated through six captivating chapters. Attendees were treated to not only the screening but also live performances by Electric Fields and Budjerah. The pièce de résistance? A Q&A session with the iconic Baz Luhrmann himself, offering an exclusive glimpse into the mind of a cinematic legend.

The red carpet was graced by notable figures including Baz Luhrmann, the producer and production/costume designer Catherine Martin, actor Thomas Cocquerel, Minister John Graham, Destination NSW CEO Steve Cox, television presenter and journalist Narelda Jacobs OAM, and model Jessica Gomes.

Our People: A Showcase of Indigenous Talent

SXSW Sydney and the Blak collective "3%" celebrated a significant milestone with the live debut of their first single at "OUR PEOPLE" showcase, held at The Lord Gladstone.

Enthusiasts who managed to secure a spot at the event were treated to a surprise orchestrated by none other than the inimitable Chance The Rapper. The Grammy-winning maestro had a tantalizing secret up his sleeve, and the crowd was about to be swept off their feet. As the night unfurled, Chance unveiled a prodigious talent that had been hiding in the wings—an 11-year-old rap sensation by the name of Inkabee, which resulted in a performance that left everyone in awe.

The moment was nothing short of extraordinary, a testament to the power of mentorship and the magic that can manifest when music's luminaries gather under one roof.

The "OUR PEOPLE" showcase assembled an impressive array of First Nations artists, featuring talents like Moss, Barkaa, Dobby, Yung Brother, and the legendary Bars Of Steel, and to cap it all off, the night was headlined by none other than the 3% collective themselves.

The Rolling Stone Courtyard

Throughout SXSW Sydney, Rolling Stone has been a hub of exclusive live performances, expert discussions, and exciting prize opportunities. As the event drew to a close, Rolling Stone pulled off a delightful surprise by announcing Jessica Mauboy as the surprise headliner for their stage. It was a fitting grand finale to a week filled with music, culture, and inspiration.

The 7th day of SXSW Sydney was a testament to the festival's unyielding energy and commitment to showcasing the best in music, film, tech, and indigenous talent with the momentum continuing.

Day 8 saw proceedings being rounded out with a grand celebration of all things gaming, which offered the opportunities to dive headfirst into a myriad of events, including

live gameplay sessions and hands-on demos that put you right in the action with the

iconic Fortress Sydney being the epicentre of this gaming extravaganza.

Summa summarum, the collision of creativity, innovation, and culture that resulted week-long odyssey into a realm of limitless possibilities, was a successful first on terra australis based on how well the multicultural tapestry of the region was incorporated, which while preserving the DNA of the original SXSW added an idiosyncratic nuance.


Words by AW.

Photos courtesy of AW and SXSW2023 Sydney.


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