AUSTIN, Texas - SXSW has announced layoffs following the city's "unprecedented and unexpected cancellation" of the 2020 event. According to a statement, SXSW laid off about one-third of its full-time staff Monday.
A SXSW spokesperson provided the following statement to FOX 7 Austin:
"Due to the City of Austin's unprecedented and unexpected cancellation of the SXSW 2020 events in March, SXSW has been rigorously reviewing our operations, and we are in the unimaginable position of reducing our workforce. Today we said goodbye to approximately one-third of our full-time staff."
Those of us in the business of live events know the level of trust required to execute an event of SXSW's scale, and we are deeply sad to let people go this soon. We are planning for the future and this was a necessary, but heartbreaking step."
The 2020 events were due to start this week but were canceled on Friday in a joint press conference of city and county leaders. Austin and Travis County leaders also declared a local state of disaster due to the coronavirus concerns.
The declaration was made ahead of the Spring Festival season following recommendations from interim local health authority Dr. Mark Escott, who acted on advice from an independent panel of experts.
SXSW issued a statement on the cancellation on Twitter soon after the announcement, saying they will faithfully follow the City's directions.
"We are devastated to share this news with you," the statement reads. "“The show must go on” is in our DNA, and this is the first time in 34 years that the March event will not take place. We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation."
SXSW said Friday they were "exploring options to reschedule the event and are working to provide a virtual SXSW online experience as soon as possible for 2020 participants, starting with SXSW EDU."