SXSW London to bring Texas to Shoreditch in 2025 as new festival announced

South by Southwest is getting an East London makeover, as the festival of creativity prepares to make its European debut.

Since its debut in Austin, Texas in 1987, the annual event – often referred to as SXSW – has been considered a go-to location for the newest releases in culture and technology.

In March, the festival hosted the world premieres of the new Anne Hathaway-led romcom The Idea of You, and the Sydney Sweeney-fronted nun horror Immaculate, while artists such as Janelle Monáe and Questlove entertained music lovers.

The Duchess of Sussex also gave a keynote speech about women’s leadership at this year’s event, while tech company Hanson Robotics brought along a humanoid robot named Desdemona to showcase how AI can be taught to understand and care about people.

Describing itself as “the world’s leading festival celebrating the convergence of creativity, culture and technology”, SXSW will now mark its European debut in London in 2025.

“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.

Bryan also noted that the establishment of SXSW in London will “provide a platform for the next generation of creative talent”, with several opportunities “for learning, employment and community uplift”.

Anne Hathaway, Meghan Markle, Sydney Sweeney at SXSW 2024 (Getty)
Anne Hathaway, Meghan Markle, Sydney Sweeney at SXSW 2024 (Getty)

The festival first branched out from its Austin roots in 2023 with the launch of SXSW Sydney. For SXSW London, talent from the UK and Europe will take centre stage with a series of talks, music showcases and innovations in tech, gaming and screen.

The recently re-elected London mayor Sadiq Khan also shared his excitement for SXSW coming to the British capital city, noting that it confirms “our place at the heart of Europe’s tech and creative sectors and as a global capital of culture”.

Khan’s statement continues: “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.”

Desdemona, a humanoid robot at SXSW 2024 in Austin, Texas (AFP via Getty Images)
Desdemona, a humanoid robot at SXSW 2024 in Austin, Texas (AFP via Getty Images)

Jann Baskett, the co-president and chief brand officer of SXSW, added: “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.

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

This year’s Austin event was shrouded in some controversy, as several artists pulled out of their performance slots in support of Palestine.

One of SXSW’s Austin sponsors includes the US Army, while the event also has ties to the defense contractor RTX Corporation, formerly known as Raytheon, which is known to supply weapons to the Israeli government.

American rock musician Squirrel Flower kickstarted the boycott, with other artists such as emo band Proper, indie band Mamalarky and North Carolinian singer-songwriter Eliza McLamb later announcing their withdrawal for similar reasons.

The festival responded with a statement accepting the artists’ choice to step down, noting: “We fully respect the decision these artists made to exercise their right to free speech.”

Details about the SXSW London 2025 lineup will be announced later this year, with badges to events due to go on sale in October. Those interested can register for more information at