Well it depends on who you talk to.
As you would expect the organisers, Destination NSW and the main venue all claimed it was a great success, however there were also plenty of points to the contrary.
As I noted in my preview I couldn’t find enough content to entice me to pay. So the only thing I was really interested in was the tech expo at ICCS and I was OK with a $40 entry fee. However the day I had available I turned up at 4:00pm and was told I had to purchase a ticket online and the expo closes at 5:00pm anyhow (seriously?)
The free music program in Tumbalong Park looked attractive so I checked out the YH Rock & Roll Circus on the Wednesday night. A house band with guests was a great concept and drew a decent crowd. My favourite act was Murray Cook who appropriately played a Rolling Stones number. The original Rock n Roll Circus was staged by the Rolling Stones in 1968
The stage for this free music program was used for various free (and open to anyone) seminars, movies and more throughout the festival. This was a temporary stage built for the festival while the permanent Tumbalong stage was boxed in by food trucks (go figure). Around the stage were various promotional installations for “participating brands” – where I discovered that Snapchat is still alive and well.
I revisited this area again on Friday night and it was dead.
The biggest complaint after pricing was how spread out the festival was. The seminars and the expo were mostly housed in the ICCS and nearby venues with the various activations around Tumbalong Park. However the music venues were quite scattered and not really within walking distance.
So, regarding the music program I defer to this article by Dan Condon
The organisers were big on encouraging people to get involved by simply wandering the streets. But really, that didn’t offer much.
Getting a handle on what the festival actual is confused some people, but I was really surprised to find that the marketing was not getting to the target audience. I spoke to a volunteer who is a student at UNSW and who found about volunteering (and the festival) via other students. He also pointed out that although he would loved to attend the tech stream but there was no way he could afford it.
And then there were those who thought this was a new festival for South West Sydney (eg Liverpool).
Bronwen Largier interviewed CEO Geoff Donaghy to get the perspective of ICC Sydney
“I think a very big proportion of people haven’t been here before because this event itself has attracted a whole new demographic,” he said.
“There might have been people that have been to concerts, there might have been some people that have been to our tech exhibitions, but I think across the board, the majority of people probably haven’t been through our doors before.”
ICC Sydney still managed to host some other events which overlapped with SXSW’s residency at the centre, with the Mind Body Spirit Festival and the Sydney Property Expo, amongst others sharing the space.
Read the full article in micenet