Manchester delegation heads to Texas for SXSW – but no Mayor this year

GM delegation at SXSW 2023

A delegation from Manchester is returning to the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas in March 2024. 

The group will include staff from Marketing Manchester, the University of Manchester, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and GM Business Growth Hub who will highlight innovation and culture from the city to a mostly US audience.  

But Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham will not be attending the event this year, possibly because his priority in early 2024 is his election campaign in May.

He attended the 2023 event with musical giants New Order, and launched the Beyond the Music festival alongside Oliver Wilson.

Over 300,000 delegates attend the annual event that features tech conferences, immersive exhibitions, a music and film festival and is widely regarded as one of the premier global events for businesses to connect.

Victoria Braddock, Managing Director at Marketing Manchester said: “North America is a key market for engagement across Manchester’s priority sectors – leisure, business tourism and investment. Returning to SXSW provides a platform to showcase our growth as leader in these industries, as well as the opportunity to build on our existing relationship with the city of Austin, a destination that we share many similarities and a shared vision for the future with.”

Marie- Claire Daly, Culture Lead at Greater Manchester Combined Authority said: “Manchester is a hub of creativity and progress, home to the UK’s fifth largest nighttime economy. SXSW provides an unparalleled opportunity to reach a diverse and influential audience in the US for artists and to develop our cultural strategy with likeminded peers. We’re really pleased to be bringing The Lottery Winners, a homegrown indie band from Wigan out to SXSW with us.”

Angelia Wilson, Associate Dean, The University of Manchester and homegrown Texan commented: “Like Austin, Manchester knows what it is to grow, thrive, and do things differently. It’s the birthplace of UK feminism and modern vegetarianism – and is now the home of worldclass soccer, cultural industry and urban diversity. The University of Manchester is a key player in bringing new ideas to life in the city – we’re excited to meet fellow dreamers and change-makers at SXSW.

Manchester’s pitch at SXSW

Next Monday 11th March, Manchester will host ‘Manchester Presents’ at Downright Austin from 2:30-5:30pm, as part of the Official SXSW festival line up.

During the afternoon, the University of Manchester will bring expert panellists to the stage to lead a interactive debate on what lies ahead for future cities and how ambitious, post-industrial urban centres like Austin and Manchester will become the drivers of national and global progress. 

Following this, entrepreneurs, creatives, education and business tourism professionals are invited to meet Manchester for networking drinks at Creekside Patio, with a special performance by UK Chart toppers and home-grown Manchester indie band The Lottery Winners.

In 2021 the US was Greater Manchester’s most valuable export destination, with firms in the city-region exporting £794 million worth of goods across the Atlantic, accounting for about 12 per cent of total goods exports that year and representing a 22 percent increase since 2017.

The US is also Greater Manchester’s largest services export partner, with the value of services exports topping £1.9 billion – around 26 per cent of the total.

The US is also the third biggest source of international visitors to Greater Manchester and the second most valuable, with US tourists spending around £73.2m in the city-region’s economy in 2019.