On Friday, news broke that Austin, TX city officials had forced the cancellation of South By Southwest (SXSW), the annual music, film, and tech summit, due to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. This news came just days after firms like Facebook and Amazon pulled out of the event. Shortly thereafter, event organizers confirmed that SXSW does not have insurance that covers the cancellation.
The Austin Chronicle reported on Friday evening that SXSW’s insurance policy does not cover cancellations due to disease outbreak or “local state of disaster,” according to event co-founder Nick Barbaro. Another SXSW co-founder and Managing Director, Roland Swenson, confirmed to the Chronicle via text, “We have a lot of insurance (terrorism, injury, property destruction, weather). However, bacterial infections, communicable diseases, viruses and pandemics are not covered.” Those statements refute several claims that the event organizers and city would benefit from the cancellation.
With regard to tickets, SXSW clearly states in its terms and conditions that it does not offer refunds under any circumstances. “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.”
Event organizers have told patrons, however, that their credentials can be used in future years, including 2021, 2022, and 2023. Head to SXSW’s website for the most up-to-date information regarding the event.
Following the SXSW cancellation, city officials worried about the impact it would have on the local economy. Mayor Steve Adler spearheaded a “Stand With Austin” campaign, encouraging the community to “Go out to eat, drink & listen to live music. Support the artists, businesses, and working people who make Austin special.” Visit the “Stand With Austin” website to donate. Proceeds will benefit individuals and small businesses hit hardest by the event’s cancellation. Watch the campaign announcement video below:
[H/T Austin Chronicle]