The organizers behind South By Southwest have sent out a distress call about its financial health after the festival was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak, now a pandemic.
On Thursday, SXSW officials responded finally to calls for refunds, at least as it pertains to entrance badges that cost hundreds of dollars. The organizers said that the event does not have a policy of issuing refunds under any circumstances, but it will allow attendees to apply unclaimed passes from 2020 to coming years.
Organizers explained that the festival was on the brink of financial ruin and said that it had to lay off workers. “Given financial factors that came to light very quickly, we were required to go where the company didn’t want to,” SXSW posted to its website. “We needed to cut costs immediately to survive, which regretfully required reducing staff. It is heart-wrenching for everyone, and we are not the same today.”
Last week, SXSW was shut down after officials from its host city Austin, Texas, decided the health risks were too great. The world is coping with a coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic, a virus that has led to a national state of emergency in the U.S. The tech, music and film festival was set to take place March 13-22 and for weeks leading up to the event, organizers had tried to keep the doors open.