The news that the city of Austin was forcing a SXSW cancellation amid coronavirus fears came as a huge shock to everyone last week. As soon as the announcement was made, my phone lit up. It was overwhelming enough that I poured myself a glass of wine and turned on completely mindless tv.
Were you headed to SXSW? Do you know how to survive a SXSW cancellation? 75,000 people were about to descend upon Austin, TX for SXSW, one of the world’s premier music, film and tech festivals. For the first time in 34 years, the event will not go on. While SXSW is mostly known for its music festival, what really brings the money to Austin (and $350 million plus of it at that), is the Interactive portion, which draws a young audience of inventors, investors and risk takers looking for networking opportunities and the next big thing. At any given moment all over the city there are thousands of opportunities to learn, network, workshop and cultivate relationships. For 8 years now, I’ve been working for the Sales Department at the event, as a SXSW event photographer responsible for documenting the return on investment for their sponsors. It’s exhausting. It’s exhilarating. It’s incredibly fun. And now, it’s not happening.