Is there an equivalent of SXSW this side of the pond?

(Nick Lawson) #1

Just because i’ve been seeing reviews and write ups of SXSW all over my news feeds this week I thought I’d ask anyone who’s been - is there something that comes close to this festival in the UK or Europe? Should there be?

(derrick tchie) #2

Something like this would be amazing! Let me know if you find out and if anyone is looking to do something like this I would love to be involved.

(sboppert) #3

CeBIT, Germany’s largest IT fair in Hanover (>200k visitors this year) are ‘pivoting’ to become just that. And then there’s Tech Open Air in Berlin, who I believe are currently the closest to a European SXSW equivalent: it’s a summer event with keynotes and events, but also a ton of spin-off / satellite events on all kinds of topics in funky locations (think abandoned/repurposed industrial buildings, arts installations, music acts – it is Berlin, after all). They’ve grown considerably over the last few years, but have so far managed to maintain their alternative, relaxed character.

Recap video of TOA 2016

(John Odam-Adjei) #4

Hey Nick

I’ve never been but I get the impresssion that Barcelona’s Sonar festival ( comes close. I’m planning to go next year but I’d be keen to hear from anyone else who has been before. Music-wise, this year’s line-up has lots of names I recognise so they’re clearly doing something right. That said, I’m surprised that the festival’s profile isn’t a lot higher here in the UK.

Hope this helps and fires the creative juices!



(Nick Lawson) #5

@jodamadjei interesting - i’d heard of Sonar but only as a music festival, but didn’t know there was the creativity/tech element to it. Do you know if these new additions to the program or it’s always been like this? Their website seems very music focused.

Did a bit of background reading and SXSW started as a music festival and then branched out into media/film/tech. I wonder if it’s more challenging for the German events @sboppert to go from tech -> music, in terms of attracting new audiences, as opposed to music -> tech like SXSW

(Mark Dalgarno) #6


(Abena P) #8

This is a forum full of event organisers - maybe we should organise one… :wink:

(Katie McPhee) #9

I feel like I have met many organisers this side of the pond wanting to recreate SXSW, but none that have yet succeeded.
Great Escape has a similar setup on the music side but is light on tech.
Agreed Tech Open Air Berlin has potential but is definitely more tech than music.

@muonabena - agreed: I wonder which European city would be best suited??

(Abena P) #10

I would actually suggest Dublin, for a good mix of tech and the arts. The problem is the weather is so unreliable!

(Jim Richardson) #11

I’ve heard so many people who want to make the European SXSW. Interestingly SXSW have partnered with Mercedes Benz to produce this new event in Frankfurt this September -

(Belinda Booker) #12

We do have London Tech Week: