skip to main content

Belfast music, innovation and virtual production takes to the stage at SXSW, Austin Texas

13 March 2023

Winona Bleach

Belfast music, creative industries and innovation talent are getting the opportunity to shine at this year’s major US conference and festival SXSW, thanks to support from Belfast City Council, the Arts Council of NI and Digital Catapult.

Known globally as the music and creative industries event not to be missed, this year, keynote speakers include luminaries Tilda Swinton, New Order, William Shatner and Eva Longoria.

Councillor Ryan Murphy, Chair of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee said: “Belfast is currently the only UNESCO City of Music on the island of Ireland, so it makes sense to support and champion our talent at SXSW. It’s recognised globally as one of the essential platforms for the creative industries, reaching an incredibly influential audience.

“SXSW also provides invaluable networking opportunities for those looking to build business connections worldwide, with a programme of panels and roundtables featuring top executives and industry experts. We’re committed to supporting the development of Belfast’s creative industries. With the programme of Belfast Region City Deal investment over the next 10 years boosting our innovation capabilities, we’re going to making great strides in the world of music, film, and entertainment – and that’s going to translate into investment and opportunities for people living here.”

Output Belfast is showcasing six great new NI acts at the Courtyard with the British Music Embassy on March 16.

Far Caspian (Irish singer, multi-instrumentalist and producer Joel Johnston), pop punk trio Cherym from Derry, Lemonade Shoelace from Newcastle, who’s on a mission to paint some colour back into the world through his music and visual art, Wynona Bleach from Belfast who mix alternative rock, shoegaze and power pop who recently supported Alice in Chains on their Irish tour, Belfast power duo Dea Matrona whose name, derived from Celtic mythology, translates as "divine mother goddess", and Belfast’s Junk Drawer whose music is a dynamic, idiosyncratic brand of indie rock.

Belfast’s NI Music Prize winning Robocobra Quartet will be bringing their jazz-motivated, punk-informed spoken word to the programme and Andrea Magee, Belfast born artist, now based in Austin TX, will also be playing the festival. Andrea’s roots are in Irish folk and her bodhran drum and flute playing are a testament to her lifelong connection to her heritage.

In addition to the music showcase, a session entitled “The trouble with creativity and technology…which drives which?” has highlighted the work of three pioneering women from NI. From ballet dancer to MedTech pioneer Movetru founder Naomi McGregor, from theatre production to immersive guru, Big Telly Director Zoe Seaton, and from neon artist to XR storytelling evangelist, Deepa Mann-Kler shared their stories of pivoting from traditional creative art forms to embrace emerging technology and innovate around themes linked to MedTech, well-being and conflict, in order to reach new audiences and drive business.

Guerrillas and Mandalorians: Taming the Global Virtual Production Monster, from Northern Ireland highlighted how NI is producing homegrown production skills and world class facilities for the global virtual production sector by harnessing young talent who are eager to deploy guerrilla style ‘break it to fix’ thinking to overcome VP pipeline skills, while also attracting virtual production’s Hollywood elite through the tier 1 facilities being created in the Belfast Region City Deal funded Studio Ulster at Giant’s Park. Studio Ulster will provide the best environment for the next generation of this vital creative technology to be produced to a world class standard.

For more information on SXSW, go to SXSW Conference & Festivals | March 10-19, 2023

Share Article