SXSW Lays Off Some 50 Employees After Cancellation of 2020 Festival

Senior source says it was the only way to “stop the bleeding”

SXSW Center in Downtown Austin (Courtesy of SXSW)

South by Southwest laid off about one-third of its staff, around 50 people, this afternoon. A senior employee at the organization, who only agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the layoffs to the Chronicle in the dinnertime hour.

The high-ranking official characterized the mass termination as “the only way to stop the bleeding” after the city of Austin forced SXSW into cancellation late Friday afternoon over concerns of the coronavirus spreading.

The terminated employees spanned multiple departments with the company and included both veteran staffers and newer hires. Anyone not working on something immediate was let go. Some people had been working there for months and others for over a decade.

Those let go received severance pay. The source allowed that they were – at this point – “hopeful” the organization would be able to orchestrate a SXSW conference next year.

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SXSW 2020, SXSW Music 2020, coronavirus, layoffs

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