Wednesday , December 6 2023
Mavis Staples - SXSW 2019 (Photo: Amy E. Price-Getty Images)

SXSW Music Festival 2020: R.I.P. (March 16–22)

I was oh-so-close to publishing my music festival preview for the 34th annual South by Southwest for March 16-22, 2020. Unfortunately, I deleted everything and started from scratch, as the City of Austin canceled—very late I might add—this year’s SXSW events out of an abundance of caution over the fear of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19).

I’m still in a bit of shock.

Yes, it was probably a wise decision, especially as more centralized festivals like Coachella and Ultra Music Festival were canceled postponed until the weather warms back up.

But, no refunds. From SXSW’s cancellation announcement:

We understand the gravity of the situation for all the creatives who utilize SXSW to accelerate their careers; for the global businesses; and for Austin and the hundreds of small businesses, venues, theatres, vendors, production companies, service industry staff, and other partners that rely so heavily on the increased business that SXSW attracts.

I feel for the artists whose music won’t be heard that week. I feel for all the vendors whose work won’t be paid. I feel for everyone who will lose out from spending a week in such a fun and positive environment. Sure, you generally must deal with being around a lot of companies that are trying to “sell” you something, but welcome to corporate America.

Several showcasing artists from the 2,000+ I hoped to see:

That’s it. I only planned to catch the New Zealand alternative pop band and let the rest of the week decide for me. Now I can’t see the band at all this month. I thought SXSW would be my fix, but the quartet’s tour is mostly sold out. Alas, its new album Truth or Consequences that drops today, March 13, will have to suffice.

For those who couldn’t cancel flights or hotels and still plan to be in Austin, apparently some unofficial events will still occur. Your mileage may vary, though I wouldn’t recommend the risk. Stay safe everyone, and I look forward to SXSW 2021.

[Photo via Amy E. Price/Getty Images]

About Tan The Man

Tan The Man writes mostly about film and music. He has previously covered events like Noise Pop, Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, South By Southwest, TBD Festival, and Wizard World Comic Con.

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