Here’s Happy Mag’s picks for the 10 must-see acts at SXSW Sydney

FRIDAY*, Trophie and Rum Jungle are just some of the many artists poised to bring this house down at SXSW Sydney 2023.

Among an already stacked itinerary extending to the worlds of tech, fashion, gaming and film, it’s the music program for this year’s edition of SXSW that steals the show. 

Set to host some 400 artist performances and counting, the eight-day festival boasts one of its starriest lineups to date from dynamic duo Girl and Girl to Sydney pop princess Charley. 


With such a stacked collection of homegrown and international acts (we’re surprised the poster could fit them all), it can be tricky to nail down which artists to see when SXSW takes to Haymarket, Darling Harbour, Ultimo and Chippendale this October. 

So, Happy Mag is taking some of the guesswork out of this year’s premiere event of ideas, sharing our selection for the 10 must-see acts to catch at SXSW Sydney. Scroll down for our full list of picks, and head here to see the music program in full.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by sxswsydney (@sxswsydney)


In what promises to be his biggest set to date, Sydney/Eora crooner will bring his electrifying blend of RnB and soul to the SXSW stage this year.

The triple j Unearthed feature artist might’ve only gained well-deserved attention last year, but his arsenal of hits will no-doubt make for a killer live setlist. 



Hailing from Western Sydney, so-called ‘bubblegum grunge’ singer Ūla is poised to steal the SXSW spotlight following her smash hit Futon.

The track barely scratches the surface of  Ūla, who has elsewhere released the tracks strawberry cheeks and gold star.

Impossible to pin down, fans should expect the unexpected for Ūla’s SXSW performance. Be sure to also catch her at Happy Mag’s Issue 17 Launch. 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Ūla (@ulamusic_)


Melbourne band Darlinghurst will man the country music front, armed with their 2021 debut self-titled album, and a long list of equally-enrapturing singles.

The beloved and award-winning band are already making waves in the country music scene, and we expect no less when they hit the SXSW stage. 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Darlinghurst (@darlinghurstband)


Few Australian musicians have mastered hyperpop quite like Trophie. Clubby, futuristic and experimental, the classically trained singer made a splash with last year’s debut album Dark City.

With some time to marinate since the release, fans can finally revel in the stellar tracklist when Trophie brings the house down at SXSW Sydney. 

Rum Jungle

Newcastle’s very own Rum Jungle have already performed with the likes of Lime Cordiale and Hilltop Hoods, but the reggae-rock band will have the stage all to themselves at SXSW.

With two 2023 singles already under their belt, Rum Jungle’s SXSW setlist will only get fuller ahead of their appearance as this year’s edition. 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Rum Jungle (@rumjungleband)

Nick Ward

SXSW is billed as a stage for emerging artists, but by now we are all well aware of the singular artistry that is Nick Ward.

With debut album BRAND NEW TO YOU and millions of streams to his name, the Welsh singer-songwriter will solidify his ascendancy with an electrifying set at SXSW. 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by nick ward (@nickwarddd)


Rightfully dubbed “the new matriarch of Australian rap,” BARKAA shows no signs of slow down, coasting off the success of her 2022 EP Blak Matriarch with a slew of festival appearances.

The rapper, activist and proud Malyangapa and Barkindji woman has a new single Ball On ’em on the way, but in the meantime, you can catch her tearing up the stage at SXSW. 

Caitlin Harnett & The Pony Boys

You’ve seen them take to the stage at Happy Mag’s Issue 13 launch, but Caitlin Harnett & The Pony Boys will (somehow) outdo themselves with a slot at this year’s SXSW.

Make You Feel Blue will no-doubt be a crowd favourite, but there’s a multitude of Americana-inspired hits for the group to belt out, including the most recent country-tinged gem Even Cowgirls Cry.  

Miss Kanina

Fans of Miss Kanina already know that something big is coming. The lutruwita/Tasmania singer has only one single to her name, but given the sheer excellence that is Blak Britney, we can’t help but want more.

And it looks like we’ll get just that, with Miss Kanina’s debut album and SXSW performance both poised to take over this world later this year.  


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by MISS KANINNA (@misskaninna)

Chanel Loren

Amassing millions of streams through only a handful of singles is no small feat, but then again, this is Chanel Loren we’re talking about.

Eora/Sydney-based, British Caribbean singer evokes everyone from Jorja Smith to fellow BRIT School alum Adele, which is enough name drops to give you an idea of just how good her set at SXSW will be.