The Best Pop-Up Events and Parties at SXSW 2023
Star-Studded Premieres, A Surprise Appearance by President Obama and Big Brand Magic are Just A Few of The Buzziest SXSW Happenings in Austin
By Georgie Miller and Holly Cowart
SXSW came through town with a roaring presence this year. Hundreds of thousands descended upon the capital city from all over the world. Between the conference, and the music, film and comedy festivals, there were entrepreneurs, musicians, actors, artists, tech giants, innovative thinkers and creative gurus bustling from scene to scene.
Keynote conference speakers like Tilda Swinton, Chef José Andrés and Patagonia CEO Ryan Geller spoke inspiring words. Meanwhile, celebrities like Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Eva Longoria, Chris Pine, Keanu Reeves and Anna Kendrick popped in to premiere their latest TV and film projects while musical showstoppers like The Zombies and Armani White graced the stage.
Big brands took over some of the town’s top spots, making magical havens with exciting programming and lines of fans waiting to get a glimpse, from FADER Fort’s appearance at the Porsche X House downtown to the Prime, TX takeover at Hotel San José.
Tribeza was on the ground exploring, soaking up as much as possible during the 10 day marathon. It’s nearly impossible to sum up the bustling roster of conference speakers, brand pop-ups, expos, parties and people, but there were quite a few memorable moments that will keep the conference goers buzzing ’til next year.
These are some of the parties and people who caused major buzz on the SXSW 2023 scene:
Rolling Stone Arrives at South By
For the first time ever, Rolling Stone partnered with SXSW for the Future of Music showcase at ACL Live, featuring four nights of concerts from impactful artists like J.I.D., Remi Wolf, Chlöe Bailey — plus a surprise performance from Macklemore. To kick off the fest, the magazine’s CEO Gus Wenner joined Bumble’s Chief Brand Officer Selby Drummond at Howards Bar & Club for a chic and intimate cocktail party, which honored rising women’s voices across music, tech and more.
“Idiocracy’s” President Camacho Rallies Support
Announcing his return to candidacy, Terry Crews reprised his iconic character from cult favorite film, “Idiocracy.” Fest-goers could spot his patriotic monster-truck motorcade all over town, with a pit stop at Favorite Pizza complete with ballot petitions, t-shirt cannons and more. Events culminated in a launch party at Banger’s where attendees enjoyed a speech from President Camacho himself, drank cans of Brawndo and grooved to music from Thundercat, Armani White and Toasters ‘n’ Moose.
President Obama’s Surprise Visit
President Obama made the surprise visit at an event hosted by the Obama Foundation at Arlyn Studios to celebrate the SXSW debut of an award-winning documentary No Ordinary Campaign, which highlights two of his former staffers, Brian Wallach and Sandra Abrevaya and their fight to find a cure for ALS. Following poignant remarks by Mr President himself and a performance by singer/songwriter Rachel Platten whose anthemic “Fight Song” is included in the film, the celebration continued with attendees like Executive producer Katie Couric, Geoff Bennet and more.
Miranda Kerr Celebrates KORA Organics
Model and founder Miranda Kerr hosted a soiree at Commodore Perry Estate to celebrate her skincare brand KORA Organics. The brand toasted to the launch of its new Plant Stem Cell Retinol Alternative serum, which becomes available this month. Complete with bites from Lutie’s and sips from Casa Dragones, the festive patio gathering of stylish beauty connoisseurs ended with a birthday serenade for Kerr’s birthday.
Austin Local Talent
While the city was bursting at the seams with incredible slates of world-renowned acts, it was also a treat to see and appreciate the locally-grown talent Austin is known for having itself. We loved coming across a Bright Light Social Hour set at Parlor & Yard and watching Sir Woman close down South by San José, while beloved venues Empire, C-Boy’s Heart & Soul and Hotel Vegas held some of the most impressive public showcases of the fest.
Pizzeria Beddia Comes to Austin
Joe Beddia of lauded Philly-based Pizzeria Beddia took over Austin’s Favorite Pizza for three days during SXSW. Starting at 5pm, diners could select from his specialty menu of salad, mortadella-packed hoagies, curated wines and, of course, signature pies. Once named Best Pizza in America by Bon Appétit, the handcrafted pizzas were delectable with distinct ingredients like Old Gold gouda and Calabrian cream. Guests could also purchase signed copies of Beddia’s cookbook, “Pizza Camp: Recipes from Pizzeria Beddia.”
Trovador’s 1st Birthday Party
High-quality hat maker Trovador Customs commemorated its first year in business with a bash at the flagship store on South Congress. Along with tasty drinks and live music from Nik Parr, owner and designer Ryan McGrath welcomed a panel of Austin makers including Kate Robberson and Emilie Basez of Ley Line and Joaihú Chocolate, Barrett Dudley of Howler Brothers and musician-turned-jewelry maker Jordan Matthew Young. Led by Tierra Neubaum, the group discussed the power of Austin’s creative community, before McGrath put on a fiery display of his hat making process.