SXSW lays off one-third of employees after canceling event due to coronavirus concerns

Posted at 6:52 AM, Mar 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-10 07:53:08-04

AUSTIN, TX — SXSW LLC. has laid off about a third of its 175 employees, according to the Austin American Statesman.

The company “has been rigorously reviewing our operations, and we are in the unimaginable position of reducing our workforce,” a SXSW spokesperson said in a written statement. “We are planning for the future and this was a necessary, but heartbreaking, step.”

South by Southwest was canceled last week due to growing coronavirus concerns. The festival generated over $300 million in revenue in 2019 for the city of Austin.

The City of Austin declared a State of Disaster during a press conference where the event was canceled.

The festival issued a statement, saying they are devastated to share the news. The group announced they are now working through the ramifications of this "unprecedented situation."

The report from the Statesman said that SXSW co-founder and CEO Ronald Swenson said that they are planning to do another event in 2021, but they aren't sure how they're going to do it.

Swenson said tens of millions of dollars were lost due to the cancellation of the event.

The festival was insured, but they did not have coverage for “bacterial infections, communicable diseases, viruses and pandemics.”