SXSW has let go 50 employees in the wake of the festival’s cancellation, according to Variety.
The City of Austin cancelled this year’s event, which was set to begin next week, in light of growing coronavirus fears. The number of employees that have been let go accounts for approximately one-third of their total full time staff.
NEW: After talking to @wsj yesterday about their precarious financial situation in light of the coronavirus cancellation, #SXSW confirms they today let 1/3 of their full-time employees go (approximately 58 people).
— Elizabeth Findell (@efindell) March 9, 2020
“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,” SXSW LLC explains in a statement. “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.”
SXSW Managing Director Roland Swenson previously revealed to the Austin Statesman that their insurance doesn’t cover “bacterial infections, communicable diseases, viruses and pandemics,” which means the festival could lose tens of millions of dollars.
Lead photo courtesy of kris krüg.