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Thirty eight Australian bands kick off performances today at what is without doubt one of the biggest platforms in the world for the music business.

The South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival is the premier showcase for contemporary music and continually fosters professional and creative growth on an international scale. Nearly half of the 38 bands in attendance are being supported by the Australia Council for the Arts.

The Australian artists will join nearly 2,000 international artists over the course of the five-day festival at from the 17-21 March.

Sandra Bender, The Australia Council’s Executive Director of Arts Development, said ‘South by Southwest is a pivotal career opportunity for any artist. There’s over 15 000 global music business professionals attending including labels, publishers, agents, managers and promoters as well as over 2000 media looking for the next band to break internationally  ‘that’s why so many artists work so hard to get there.’

‘The Australia Council’s role is to support these musicians in order to provide them with the opportunity to secure international tours, spots on festival bills and new audiences’, she said.

Through ‘Sounds Australia’, an industry partnership facilitated by the Australia Council and supported by the States and Territories and peak industry bodies to promote Australian music overseas, Australian bands will have the opportunity to perform in at least 5 Australian-themed events during the festival.

The largest is the ‘Aussie BBQ’, a 14 hour event featuring more than 30 Australian acts on three different stages. Some of the Australian acts set to perform include well known musicians in Australia such as Dappled Cities, Paul Dempsey, Children Collide, Pivot and Sally Seltmann,

Last year James O’Brien, of The Boat People, travelled with his group to the SXSW festival with the support of the Australia Council. ‘Being involved in such an incredibly vibrant and high-level festival meant rubbing shoulders with and amazingly in our case, performing with some of our favourite bands in the world. This provided invaluable opportunities for future trips to the US, and we returned only a few months later to further develop the relationships we established at SXSW’, he said.

The Australia Council is committed to supporting the ongoing growth of a strong and vibrant live music scene and supporting artists careers through developing new audiences both at home and internationally. ‘SXSW positions Australian bands within the international arena in the lead up to Australia’s feature at The Great Escape in Brighton, UK this May – creating a unprecedented profile of Australian bands within these crucial offshore music markets’, said Bender.

Artists receiving direct support from the Australia Council are: Children Collide, Grand Atlantic, Kate Miller-Heidke, Oh Mercy, The Middle East, Crayon Fields, Sherlock’s Daughter, Sally Seltman, Love of Diagrams, Pivot, Paul Dempsey, Beaches, Dappled Cities, Washington, Karnivool

For a list of all 38 bands appearing under the Sounds Australia banner, visit:



Brianna Roberts


(02) 9215 9030


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