With the news hitting Friday that the city of Austin was officially pulling the plug on SXSW amid concerns over the coronavirus, social media has been flooded with questions about what happens next. The festival, which was first held back in 1987, has never been canceled before. This unprecedented decision has left many to wonder what to do regarding their plans to attend -- many of which are made months in advance.
While there are no clear-cut answers at this point, several would-be attendees ended up turning to social media to try and find some answers. As well as some support among one-another among the news.
Are you an early-career, marginalized, and/or independent creative who is now out money from lost gigs, accommodations, flights etc from #SXSW?March 7, 2020
Some immediately mobilized, offering to help up-and-coming creatives whose projects were going to be a part of the annual festival.
If you're interested: @GiantNoiseEG and I are working on a way to do a fundraiser for service industry folks affected by SXSW cancelling. We are already talking to a nonprofit that works in this area. Spending the time that would gone to #SXSW work on this. More soon.— Jennifer Sinski (@jennifersinski) March 6, 2020
Considering that SXSW brings in hundreds of millions of dollars to the city of Austin every year, people who work in the industry behind-the-scenes look forward to the week-plus of events as a way to make some extra income. With no official events on the calendar, some are looking for ways to offset the significant monetary loss many will now be enduring.
If you're cheering #SXSW being canceled simply because you hate the traffic or whatever, you're being a dick. Local small businesses could *go* *under.* Artists (not the famous ones!) have busted their asses to showcase their work and get their shot there.— Jessica Shortall 🧂 (@jessicashortall) March 6, 2020
Just ... just shush.
Along with creatives and industry workers, the festival's significant impact on the city at large, those in food service also looks to SXSW as a time to capitalize on the influx of visitors. While the economic impact of the cancellation will be significant, some are imploring others not to gloat about the news. Especially so quickly after it was announced.
#SXSW replied me saying they won't refund me ☹️ or exchange for 2021. For Brazilian standards the price of the ticket is VERY expensive and I'm cancelling my trip due to concerns related to coronavirus. I think they should refund me and the participants that decided not to attend— Anderson Criativo (@criativo) February 28, 2020
Others are forced to reckon with the money they've spent making their plans to travel to Austin for SXSW. While its cancellation is unprecedented, early reports are indicating refunds may be hard to come by. Though that could change in the coming days, it's proving difficult at the moment.
Shoutout to all of the artists from outside of Austin who committed non-refundable, thousands of dollars ages ago to be here for #SXSW. I live here, I'm not going anywhere and I will be rocking right along side you. Let's wash our hands and rock!— Jackie Venson (@jackievenson) March 5, 2020
Still, others are seeing the news as an opportunity to allow the influx of visitors still determined to make the trip (for one reason or another) to show them some of that famous Texas hospitality.