Ordinarily, come mid-March, people are cramming their cowboy boots into their suitcases and heading to Austin, TX for the annual South by Southwest festival, featuring emerging bands, film premieres, and an interactive tech conference. But, this year, for the first time ever in its 34-year history, SXSW is canceled as a result of the coronavirus. South by Southwest would have officially started today, March 18th.
The cancellation has dealt a huge blow to Austin's economy. Just last year, SXSW claimed in their annual report that "total attendance at all official SXSW events surpassed 280,000, and SXSW’s 2019 economic impact on the Austin economy totaled $355.9 million." Both the Austin Community Foundation and Red River Cultural District have launched fundraising campaigns to help support the venues, service/hospitality, production workers, and more, who've been negatively impacted by the cancellation.
The cancellation also impacts the musicians scheduled to appear. Thousands of bands from all over the world were planning on playing the festival and are now facing significant financial damage because of the cancellation. Both on-air and online, KEXP is spotlighting the artists who were scheduled to play as a means of drawing attention to the financial issues facing all independent artists right now. While KEXP can't bring the sunshine and queso to you, we've compiled a video playlist of some of the artists who were scheduled to appear at SXSW 2020 who've performed in our studios. If you are in a stable position, supporting artists by purchasing their music or merch is a wonderful way to help. Watch below:
Tomo Nakayama, Jason McCue, and more take part in this virtual concert series by and for artists who have lost wages due to COVID-19.
For the next few weeks, Ben Gibbard will be playing songs everyday from his home studio, streaming on Facebook at 4 PM PST.
Two of the leaders in synthesizer manufacturing have offered up their apps for free to promote creativity during the coronavirus pandemic.