SXSW festival to kick off this week starting March 11
AUSTIN, Texas - SXSW, an Austin-based festival celebrating tech, film, and music, is returning this week. It kicks off on March 11.
The event was canceled in 2020 and virtual in 2021 due to COVID-19.
Mayor Steve Adler called the decision to cancel SXSW "perhaps the most difficult" he has had to make in his leadership role. "It is only fitting that we really open back up this city in a grand way with SXSW," Adler said.
A SXSW economic analysis found the 2019 festival had a $355.9 million impact on Austin’s economy. "Roughly the equivalent of having a Super Bowl in the city," Adler said of the festival’s economic impact.
When the festival was canceled in 2020, SXSW was forced to lay off approximately one-third of its full-time staff.
"We're not so much seeing staffing shortages. We are seeing some challenges as it relates to our volunteers, but we are making concessions and we're moving people around," said SXSW Vice President of Operations Tami Richter, Monday.
Austin is currently in stage two for COVID-19 risk-based guidelines.
Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes asks festival goers to wear masks indoors where social distancing is not possible.
"Today marks the beginning of our path forward living with the virus, while also being able to gather and celebrate the experiences and culture that make our community special," said Travis County Judge Andy Brown.
Richter acknowledged that badge sales were down from 2019, though she declined to provide figures.
Austin-Travis County moves to Stage 2 ahead of SXSW
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