Multiple industries are sure to feel the ripple effects from last Friday’s SXSW cancellation for an undisclosed amount of time, especially within the city of Austin itself, which will likely lose around $355 millions in economic revenue. The film, music, and tech festival will have to weather a particularly hard blow: Because pandemics are not covered by the event’s insurance, SXSW stands to lose tens of millions of unrecoverable dollars. What does this mean for the future of Austin’s most notable annual event? According to co-founder and Chief Executive Roland Swenson in an interview he did with Wall Street Journal’s Elizabeth Findell, the financial impact of the cancellation makes it too hard to assess just how the festival will return next year.
“I am most worried about my people and what this means for their future, and I don’t know what that is yet,” Mr. Swenson said. “We are planning to carry on and do another event in 2021, but how we’re going to do that I’m not entirely sure.”
The organization is diligently looking at options for creative funding, including possible grants. Swenson and his team are also looking at the possibility of rescheduling the massive festival for later in the year if logistics will allow, though the sheer size of the event might make the prospect a little too difficult. Swenson told WSJ that “they should know within a few weeks whether that’s a feasible option.”