Published Sep 22, 2020After being one of the first major festivals to cancel its 2020 edition due to coronavirus concerns, SXSW has announced plans to go digital in looking ahead to its 2021 event.
As part of an initial announcement of next year's proceedings, organizers unveiled SXSW Online 2021, which will bring conference keynotes and sessions, screenings, showcases, networking and exhibitions to the digital realm. This component is slated to run March 16 through March 20, 2021.
Still, organizers note that a physical event isn't off the table entirely, as "SXSW [works] with the City of Austin and public health authorities on plans for a physical event in 2021." They note, "We will provide updates as more information becomes available."
"The challenge of building a new future is one that we're excited to tackle," festival CEO and co-founder Roland Swenson expressed in a statement. "This has been such a year of change and we, like the entire world, are reshaping our perspective on how we connect. We're pleased to be working on SXSW Online as part of our program for 2021, and regardless of platform, we will continue to bring together the brightest minds from creative industries worldwide."
SXSW's website explains its music festival portion "will be curated by programming staff with priority given to showcase presenters and artists who were scheduled for the 2020 event." Meanwhile, film submissions will open October 6, with further information available here.
SXSW's 2020 cancellation marked the first time in over three decades that the festival did not take place. After announcing that refunds would not be offered to ticketholders, the fest was served with a class action suit. Not long after the cancellation, the festival's parent company, SXSW LLC, laid off roughly a third of its 175 year-round employees.