ICC Sydney’s biggest year for entertainment as live concerts and consumer exhibitions take off

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Live concerts and consumer exhibitions are booming post-COVID, with ICC Sydney experiencing its biggest year ever for entertainment. The venue hosted more than 80 live entertainment events in the last financial year, and over 50 exhibitions.

The boom is being attributed to pent-up demand, with tours that were postponed during the pandemic drawing large crowds. Around 360,000 people attended performances at ICC Sydney’s ICC Sydney Theatre and Darling Harbour Theatre throughout the year, helping revitalise the city.

ICC Sydney further boosted the local economy through trade and consumer exhibitions, with 390,000 visitors attending 54 events. Consumer exhibitions were particularly popular, recording some of their biggest numbers since ICC Sydney opened in 2016.

The Indo Pacific International Maritime Exposition, for example, was the largest in the event’s history, with the international trade show welcoming 27,000 attendees. Business connections sparked on the expo floor help drive trade, investment and innovation.

“It is exciting to see the impact of live entertainment events bringing people together to enjoy unique experiences that also provide substantial social and economic benefits, rejuvenating our city as we welcome thousands of patrons to our venue,” ICC Sydney director of event services Malu Barrios said.

“ICC Sydney’s customer-centric approach is aligned in championing the power of entertainment to promote connection at shared extraordinary experiences, and we look forward to supporting Sydney’s continued entertainment boom.”

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Sydney was also the first city to host a South by Southwest (SXSW) cultural event outside of Austin, Texas in 2023, with ICC Sydney acting as the anchor venue. SXSW Sydney, which brought together people from the industries of technology and innovation, games music and film, featured more than 1,200 events and sessions. Speakers included Academy Award-winning Australian actress Nicole Kidman, Grammy-winning artist Chance the Rapper, and lauded filmmaker and director Baz Luhrmann.

SXSW Sydney managing director Colin Daniels says ICC Sydney’s approach to sustainability and inclusivity was a major factor when it came to choosing it as an anchor venue.

“Whether it be the Tech and Innovation Expo with more than 100 exhibitors to more than 400 conference sessions including celebrities, CEOs and thought leaders from around the world – from planning to execution, the ICC Sydney team made SXSW Sydney a lot easier. Year one for SXSW Sydney was a success and we’re looking forward to planning 2024 and beyond with ICC Sydney,” he said.

ICC Sydney also hosted Talent Development Project Foundation’s graduation concert, which showcases the talents of high school students in years 10, 11 and 12.

“The venue’s Legacy Program platform continues to nurture the careers of these emerging entertainers, connecting them to world class event experiences across a diverse range of clients and sustaining the meaning and the belief in the work that we do,” said Peter Cousens, the event’s artistic director.

Sydney is known to have an abundance of talented performers, artists and designers, making it the perfect place for such events to thrive. Through its large network, ICC Sydney can connect clients to both emerging and established performers, help facilitate bespoke artwork tours, and help organise gifts for delegates from Australian artists.