Austin, TX – South By Southwest was recently canceled for the first time in 34 years due to the coronavirus pandemic. But despite its cancelation, the annual Austin-based music event won’t be issuing any refunds.
A letter sent to badge holders said 2020 registrants “can opt to defer their registration to 2021, 2022, or 2023” and cited the public refund policy.
“Any and all payments made to SXSW are not refundable for any reason, including, without limitation, failure to use Credentials due to illness, acts of God, travel-related problems, acts of terrorism, loss of employment and/or duplicate purchases.”
How was anyone suppose to predict an epidemic canceling @sxsw when buying tickets last year. This no refund policy needs to take into consideration that the event was cancelled by the city and a lot of people didn’t decide to cancel their tickets. @sxsw please update your policy. pic.twitter.com/NwljLSkoBZ
— OffscreenwithJillian (@JillianChili) March 9, 2020
SXSW co-founder Roland Swenson told the American-Statesman the festival didn’t have an insurance policy that provides it with cancelation coverage because of “bacterial infections, communicable diseases, viruses and pandemics.”
On Monday (March 9), SXSW laid off roughly a third of its 175 year-round employees, explaining to American-Statesman they’d been “rigorously reviewing our operations, and we are in the unimaginable position of reducing our workforce. We are planning for the future and this was a necessary, but heartbreaking, step.”
The move to cancel came shortly after Beastie Boys, Ozzy Osbourne and Trent Reznor pulled out.