Border Control Login

Key members of the team that will be responsible for bringing multi-venue talent showcase festival and creative industry conference SXSW to London for the first time has been announced.

Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of tech, film and television, music, education, and culture. Building on the success of SXSW in Austin and the 2023 launch of the Pan-Pacific edition in Sydney, SXSW London will take place in June 2025 at venues and spaces around Shoreditch in east London.

Adem Holness (pictured), up until recently head of contemporary music at Southbank Centre, has been appointed SXSW London’s head of music, and Katy Arnander, who has previously worked at organisations including Barbican and Sadler’s Wells, will take on the role of director of programming.

Alex Poots will serve as a consulting creative advisor while continuing his work full-time at Manhattan-based arts centre The Shed, and Elliot Willis, whose previous roles include lead commercial consultant at Manchester International Festival, has taken on the role of SXSW London commercial director.

SXSW London MD Randel Bryan said, “Our goal is to create a London edition of SXSW that bottles the essence of UK-based creativity and innovation through working with some of the best in the business. I’m delighted to have Elliot, Adem and Katy joining the team on the ground along with Alex to shape the inaugural year.”

While no firm date has yet been announced for SXSW London’s debut, its planned arrival in June will come on the back of a busy time for UK-based conference and artist showcase events, with The Great Escape (Brighton), Wide Days (Edinburgh), Sound City (Liverpool) and Focus Wales (Wrexham) all usually taking place in May.

SXSW London will be produced by Panarise, a live entertainment company established and owned by Panarae that was founded by Ali Munir. Munir is a director of SXSW’s majority owner Penske Media Corporation, which owns media brands including Rolling Stone, Variety and Billboard.