The SXSW 2020 saga has taken yet another unfortunate turn, as a recent letter to the mega festival’s badge holders made clear that they won’t be receiving refunds for their passes.
Instead, those who paid to attend the 10-day-long Austin event will be able to “defer” their registrations to any of the next three years’ SXSW editions. Significantly, SXSW CEO Roland Swenson recently indicated that SXSW 2021’s fate is uncertain, owing to the immense financial fallout of this year’s cancellation.
While the no-refund policy may be reversed if enough fans voice their opposition, SXSW’s website rather explicitly states that the company “does not issue refunds under any circumstances.” Per this fine print, payments to SXSW “are not refundable for any reason,” including acts of God, duplicate purchases, travel issues, or even “acts of terrorism.”
On Twitter, would-be SXSW attendees are voicing their frustration with the no-refund stance. One user posted an image of the full message sent by South-by, emphasizing that refunds won’t be provided, and another user speculated that there are “very tough times ahead for the [concert and music festival] promoters and those hoping for refunds.”
Many other festivals and concerts have been cancelled due to coronavirus (COVID-19) fears, and notably, SXSW passholders aren’t the only ones who’re being denied refunds.
Today, Ultra Miami organizers deemed their cancellation a “postponement” and informed ticketholders that they’ll have 30 days to transfer their passes to the 2021 or 2022 festival — but refused to grant refunds.
COVID-19 has been generally well-contained in America, but its global impact is growing. Italy’s government officials reported 168 more coronavirus deaths overnight, and earlier this week, the country’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, instituted a mandatory lockdown, which will prohibit city-to-city movement until April 3rd.
The economic fallout from SXSW’s cancellation is continuing to affect Austin’s business owners, artists, and residents. A fundraiser has been started to aid those who were relying on SXSW income, for instance, and something of an impromptu marketplace has been created to swap excess food and beverage stockpiles.
At the time of this piece’s writing, SXSW hadn’t responded to fan protests and complaints pertaining to the no-refund stipulation.