Skip to main content

Belfast music talent prepares to shine at SXSW Online 2021

This page is more than a year old and may not contain the most up-to-date information.

Date: 25 Feb 2021

Category: Supporting businesses


Belfast music talent will have the opportunity to shine at SXSW online from 16-20 March, thanks to support from Belfast City Council.

Beauty Sleep, Enola Gay, Lilla Vargen and Ryan McMullan will be participating in the British Music Embassy, SXSW’s venue for hotly-tipped UK artists as part of SXSW Online 2021, supported by AIM, BBC, BPI, the Department for International Trade, PPL, PRS for Music and PRS Foundation, ATC, media partner DIY Magazine and Belfast City Council.

The British Music Embassy typically takes over a venue every year at SXSW in Austin, Texas, putting a spotlight on the best new music from around the UK. As the festival is online-only this year, the British Music Embassy has recorded live performances which can be watched on the SXSW portal. A selection of performances will also be made available after Easter for all to view on SXSW’s YouTube channel. 

Councillor David Brooks, Chair of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee said: “We’re committed to helping support the development of Belfast’s creative industries. If nurtured in the right way, they have the ability to make Belfast a truly creative and globally competitive city. Participating in SXSW presents a fantastic opportunity to share sights and sounds of Belfast Music around the world. We’re incredibly proud of the abundance of talent in Belfast. Music is a fundamental expression of human creativity, it permeates and soundtracks our lives, and it’s a crucial part of who we are. But it’s also a massive global industry – and one which generates substantial economic value for Belfast and the wider region.”

Singer songwriter and showcasing artist Lilla Vargen said: "The past year has been devastating for live music, and SXSW being able to go ahead in some form is a light at the end of the tunnel, and hopefully can signal the return of more opportunities like this. I can’t wait to head to Austin when it is safe to do so.”

The full British Music Embassy line-up for SXSW Online 2021 is:

404 Guild / Afronaut Zu / Anna B Savage / Baby Queen / Beauty Sleep / Black Country, New Road / Chubby and The Gang / Connie Constance / Do Nothing / Drug Store Romeos / Ego Ella May / Enola Gay / Finn Askew / The Goa Express / IDER / Katy J Pearson / Lau.ra / Lilla Vargen / Matilda Mann / The Mysterines / Nayana IZ / Olivia Dean / Onipa / Penelope Isles / Phoebe Green / Porij / PVA / Ryan McMullan / Sinead O’Brien / Squid / Tayo Sound / TV Priest / Virginia Wing / Walt Disco / Yard Act

James Minor, Head of Music Festival at SXSW said: "For 15 years, the global industry has been able to rely on the British Music Embassy to discover what's next in British Music at SXSW."

Paul Pacifico, Chief Executive Officer at AIM said: "We’re delighted to be returning as a British Music Embassy partner for SXSW 2021. It has always been a key stepping stone for the careers of independent artists, and a valuable way to accelerate their journeys on the international stage. Although we can’t attend in person this year, the positioning of British Music within the virtual showcase platform is the next best thing and a crucial moment to showcase exciting British talent to the world.”

Alex Bruford, Chief Executive Officer at ATC Live said: “ATC Live’s 2019 showcase at The British Music Embassy in Austin, Texas was a highlight of the year for us, featuring incendiary performances from artists including Fontaines D.C, Georgia and Black Midi, who all went on to become Mercury nominated. We are thrilled to be back again with The British Music Embassy and partners in 2021, and are proud to present London based Anna B Savage and her deeply intriguing songwriting, scorching garage rock from Manchester’s The Goa Express, boundary blurring rap from Indian-born, London raised Nayana IZ and the effortless lo-fi folk and glistening pop of Bristol’s Katy J Pearson.”

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive at BPI, BRIT Awards and Mercury Prize said: “The BPI relishes once again partnering with the British Music Embassy at SXSW, which has become such an important staging post for rising UK artists as they look to develop their global following. British music is loved the world over, accounting for one in every 10 streams, but thanks to the immediate global reach that streaming now gives artists, there is a unique opportunity for British music exports to grow even more and double to over £1 billion this decade.  Events such as SXSW, which are so keenly anticipated, have a crucial role to play in helping to realise this potential by showcasing the best of British new music talent to the rest of the world.”      

Graham Stuart, Exports Minister at the Department for International Trade said: "The UK music industry is one of the UK’s greatest British exports, bringing millions to our economy each year. We are proud to have worked over many years with industry partners to promote new talent at SXSW including Bastille, Celeste, Rag n Bone Man, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Dave, Sam Fender and more than 450 others. I am delighted that we are continuing to support UK artists during the pandemic and can ensure the UK remains a world leader in music.”  

Rupert Vereker, Chief Executive Officer at DIY Music and publisher of DIY Magazine said: “The fact that 2021 is the fifth year that we are involved with the Department of International Trade’s iconic British Music Embassy stage at SXSW festival is particularly pleasing. Despite it being a virtual stage this year, it is still the pinnacle of the UK’s music export showcases for the UK’s up and coming artists. We are thrilled to be continuing the tradition of not just presenting the DIY stage, that once again features many of the DIY Class of 2020 and 2021 artists, but also being media partner to the week-long British Music Embassy stage supported by the UK industry partners that share our purpose of supporting new talent. There has never been a more important time for emerging artists to get in front of the key industry members from around the world.”

Peter Leathem, Chief Executive Officer at PPL said: “SXSW is a major showcase of musical talent from around the world, and this year will be no exception even though we can’t be together in-person. It is still a fantastic opportunity for up-and-coming UK talent to establish new audiences and connections around the world that will help them develop their careers. Such international connections can be vital to a successful career. Of the royalties that PPL pays out, one third comes from countries outside of the UK, and SXSW offers an entry to those markets. PPL is proud to partner with the British Music Embassy and create such a platform, all while celebrating new UK music. We look forward to seeing the artists perform and wish them the best of luck.”

Andrea Czapary Martin, Chief Executive Officer at PRS for Music said: “While we can’t currently enjoy live events standing side-by-side, we are glad that emerging songwriters and composers still have opportunities to perform as part of global events such as SXSW Online 2021. The British Music Embassy continues to offer an international platform for some of the UK’s most promising new acts to showcase their exceptional talent, with the chance for their creativity to be experienced by fans and industry the world over. We are proud to support the future of British music and once again partner with the British Music Embassy.”         

Joe Frankland, Chief Executive Officer at PRS Foundation said: “Showcasing in overseas territories has proven to be a crucial stepping stone to progressing talented UK music creators’ careers and their sustainability, which is why at this unprecedented time it is so important we have adapted our International Showcase Fund support to enable export ready artists to still be able to showcase at key overseas events such as SXSW.  I’m delighted that we are supporting at least 15 artists to showcase their performances at this year’s event and that the International Showcase Fund partners, together with our friends at the Department for International Trade and the BPI, have forged a UK Sounds opportunity and platform for export ready music creators and to shine a spotlight on talented underrepresented groups in the UK.”

The British Music Embassy also offers networking opportunities for those looking to build business connections around the world. For more details visit

For more information on SXSW, go to

Read aloud icon Read aloud