SXSW has announced they will host their first in-person event in two years on March 11-20, 2022. The announcement comes on the heels of SXSW’s 2021 online edition, while those hoping to participate in next year’s program will be able to apply sometime over the summer.
“I’m very confident that SXSW will look normal, or near-normal next year,” Austin Public Health’s Interim Authority, Dr. Mark Escott said.
The festival had been forced to cancel its 2020 edition due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and hosted an online edition this year. Keynote speakers included Stacey Abrams, Willie Nelson, Pete Buttigieg, Priya Parker and Charles Yu. The festival began on Tuesday, March 16, with JAMBINAI, TV Priest, Holy Fuck and more. March 17 saw sets from Altin Gün, TENGGER and Yung Tate, while The Reverend Peyton, Enola Gay, Great Peacock, Sinead O’Brien, Drug Store Romeos, No Joy and Babeheaven performed on March 18. March 19 hosted ALMA, Squid, Blushin, Anna B. Savage, Otoboke and many more. Saturday, March 20 featured sets from Iceage, Sir Woman and more.
2020’s SXSW had been canceled just a week before the event was scheduled to begin, and had been one of the first cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 2021’s digital event began on March 16 and ended on March 20. Another difference in the 2021 edition of the festival was that the lineup had been curated by programming staff, rather than the usual application process that had been used in past years.
SXSW 2020 edition had some controversy after the festival refused to offer ticket refunds for those who had planned to go that year prior to its cancellation. Due to the cancellation not able to be covered under insurance, SXSW was unable to come up with the funds for refunds, as ticket prices had already been spent on the year’s event. Ticketholders were allowed to defer registration until 2021, 2022 or 2023. The pandemic also forced SXSW to lay off one-third of their year-round staff. Prior to the event’s official cancellation, Ozzy Osbourne made the decision to cancel his appearance due to the threat of the pandemic.