SXSW was arguably the first Austin company to fall victim to the pandemic. On March 6, just days before the 2020 festival began, local officials issued an emergency warrant effectively banning major events in Austin as the novel coronavirus spread across the United States. As a result, SXSW canceled its flagship for the first time ever within ten days of the festival.
In hindsight, the decision likely saved lives and helped contain the spread of COVID-19, but SXSW’s corporate failures were quick and brutal. Within a few days, SXSW laid off 30 percent of its Austin-based workforce, and many wondered if the festival would ever return.
Finally a ray of hope in a dark time: SXSW is back. Yes, it will look different than in previous years, but from Tuesday, November 10th, registration for SXSW Online will be possible from March 16-20, 2021.
“This year has been one that none of us have faced. At SXSW the impact has been profound and has changed the way we work. So having the opportunity to have a digital event in 2021 means a lot to us plan where we can share experiences and exchange ideas at this crucial time, “says Roland Swenson, co-founder and CEO of SXSW, in a press release.
Since its inception in 1987, SXSW has grown from a small Texas music festival to an internationally renowned festival that attracts the best in technology, film, music, and comedy. The digital version 2021 will capture much of that spirit, with keynote addresses, conference sessions, music showcases, comedy sets, film screenings, and other “unexpected discoveries”.
Badges are available starting today and cost $ 149 for a limited time. By March 2021, that rate will rise to $ 399. Student and group discounts are also available. Digital IDs provide access to:
SXSW keynotes and featured speakers
Mentoring sessions and workshops
Screenings, events and exclusive premieres of the SXSW Film Festival
Showcases and events of the SXSW Music Festival
Content of the SXSW Comedy Festival
A roster is not yet available – SXSW usually releases details in the two months leading up to the festival – but community voting on proposals for SXSW meetings is currently open until November 20th. Check out the 1,500+ panels here and vote for whoever you want to attend next year.
“It’s a new day for America and for the world,” added Swenson. “We have the opportunity to face challenges that affect us all and we are honored to bring you the conversations that will renew your hope for tomorrow.”