Local business owners react to SXSW being canceled

Last year SXSW brought almost $400 million to the City of Austin, the largest economic impact the festival has ever had. Now that the decision has been made by city leaders to cancel it, bar employees say this is their worst nightmare come true.

“I'm super upset. I understand why, but I feel like it's been completely blown out of proportion,” said Brandi Pappas. 

Pappas is the manager of Pour Choices on Sixth Street. She says she never expected Austin city leaders to cancel South by Southwest.

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“I figured there were gonna be some companies that were going to pull out, but I definitely did not think the whole thing was going to be canceled,” she said.

Pappas says her bar has been preparing for months for this festival. The venue even had a company rent it out for the week.

“We were expecting to make, you know, thousands of dollars here. The city was gonna make millions of dollars, and now it's not happening, and I think that it's a shame,” she said.

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Bob Woody owns multiple bars on Sixth Street and also finds the news upsetting, but not surprising.

“The City is somewhat following suit with the large clients that have canceled and they did it based upon not wanting to risk their employees so the city looks at it and says if we allow the event and all these others have canceled, what do we look like? I think it sets a precedent and they're following their precedence,” said Woody.

Woody still believes there’s hope for local businesses that rely on SXSW.

RELATED: SXSW canceled for 2020 due to coronavirus

“These people have planned their time around this so it's my opinion that while it won't be what it was, the entertainment district, West Sixth Street, Rainey Street, downtown hotel district will still do well,” said Woody.

Although some on Sixth Street are not convinced.

“I don't think the South by Southwest will be, will ever be the same after this. It's a shame,” said Pappas.