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

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?


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.

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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


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!



@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


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

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??

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

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 -

We do have London Tech Week: