The 2017 BIGSOUND daytime conference, which kicked off proper on Wednesday, has truly grown into its name.

From the giant inflatable octopus greeting guests at the nearby Empire Hotel, to the expanded program and the crowds shuffling through its myriad venues across the Fortitude Valley, this year’s Bigsound is bigger than any previous incarnation. It’s no secret organisers have long harboured ambitions of turning Brisbane into Australia’s SXSW for just one week in the year. Perhaps SXSW, now considered too busy, too unwieldy, might take some tips from its southern cousins.

As the doors to the Judith Wright Centre swung open, and with the introductory formalities completed, Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz handled the opening keynote with a presentation that was part girl power, part history lesson and a rally for diversity and inclusiveness.

Dupuis explored the parallels between art and activism, and exposed the false narratives about women and guitar playing. She thanked her ex-punk mum, who signed her up to a “hippy dippy” music camp from which she returned with “utterly reformed confidence.”