Austin Music Community Bands Together Following SXSW Cancellation

With the cancellation adversely affecting Austin’s local economy, businesses and individuals alike are organizing fundraiser #BandingTogetherATX to provide financial relief to community.

For the first time in its 34 year history, South by Southwest will not be taking place in March. The cancellation was announced on March 6, a week before the music and film festival was meant to take place. The world- famous festival was canceled by the City of Austin amid growing concern over COVID-19, with Mayor Steve Adler declaring a “local state of disaster.” 

While the future of the 2020 festival is still up in the air, many worry about the impact of canceling a festival that brought 355.9 million dollars worth of business to the local community in 2019. Not only bars and venues may feel the brunt of this cancellation, but also artists and other gig-workers in hotels, restaurants, and more.

In response to the cancellation—and the potentially devastating impact it could have on Austin’s economy—a number of Austin-based businesses and individuals have joined together to launch the #BandingTogetherATX initiative on GoFundMe to provide financial support to artists and venues in the Red River Cultural district. The Red River Cultural District,—which represents businesses in the district like Cheer Up Charlie’s and more—local music promoter Heard Presents, and software startup Prism.FM are among the organizations backing the initiative.

“Our venues and staff are ready and willing to work to make ten glorious days of music, art, culture and technology happen across our city, and more folks around town are joining us every minute,” the businesses wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Artists and workers have incurred expenses to get to and stay in the ‘Live Music Capitol of the World’ during the next few weeks. Some may have been reimbursed or refunded but many folks are out thousands of dollars. Our goal is to keep as many artists as possible coming to Austin.”

The Red River Cultural District will also be working to put together replacement showcases and relocate events that have lost venues. If you are interested in helping with these efforts, you can contact the Red River Cultural District here. As of publication, the GoFundMe has raised 17 percent of its $100,000 goal.