After a rocky two years for Austin’s music, art and film festival, South by Southwest festival organizers confirmed plans to return as a hybrid festival in 2022 in time with an announcement for another round of featured speakers.
SXSW 2022 is scheduled to run from March 11-20 this year, in-person with online viewing and participation options. Organizers confirmed to Austonia that they are still planning on holding the in-person parts of the festival as scheduled. They added that with the rapidly changing COVID-19 landscape, they will continue to work with the city of Austin and Austin Public Health.
If things go off as planned, this will be the first time an in-person SXSW has been held since 2019 after 2021's festival was held virtually and 2020 was canceled altogether.
With a little less than two months until the festival begins, SXSW announced another round of featured speakers on Tuesday. The array of guests spans from major entrepreneurs like Michael Dell, health professionals like Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Jason Isbell.
What will be required to attend?
The festival will require certain COVID-19 precautions to attend the festival in person. (SXSW)
Just like last year’s Austin City Limits Festival, either proof of a completed primary set of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative COVID test will be required to collect credentials. The festival will host an adjacent testing clinic at cost to credentialed attendees.
Masks will be required in some spaces, like conference room sessions and exhibitions, and strongly encouraged everywhere else.
Who is local on the newest drop?
Austin's own Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears performed virtually during SXSW 2021. (SXSW)
The newest round of festival speakers includes a host of local names in addition to Dell. CLEAN Cause Yerba Mate founder Wes Hurt, University of Texas at Austin psychology professor Kathryn Paige Harden, ICON co-founder and CEO Jason Ballard, Breyer Capital CEO Jim Breyer, documentary filmmaker Skye Wallin, and Colossal Biosciences founder and CEO Ben Lamm.
“We’re excited to announce an incredible group of experts and innovators across the technology, healthcare, and entertainment industries, who are actively shaping the world we live in,” Chief Programming Officer Hugh Forrest said. “Entrepreneurial luminaries such as Michael Dell, and industry disruptors like Margrethe Vestager only add to our already robust lineup of creative visionaries working to build a better future.”
More additions are slated to be released next week, as well as the full Film Festival lineup on Feb. 2. Rates on SXSW badges increase after Jan. 27. View the lineup so far here.
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Austin police have charged Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, a local cyclist, for the murder of Moriah "Mo" Wilson.
Wilson, a rising star in the gravel and mountain bike community, was found dead with gunshot wounds inside an East Austin home on the night of May 11 when she was in town for the weekend Gravel Locos race in Hico, Texas.
Police believe Wilson was having a relationship with a man Armstrong was also in a relationship with. The man, another gravel cyclist, Colin Strickland, has since issued a statement on the murder.
In his statement, he said he had a brief romantic relationship with Wilson in October 2021 before he resumed his relationship with Armstrong, but that he remained friends with Wilson. "There is no way to adequately express the regret and torture I feel about my proximity to this horrible crime. I am sorry, and I simply cannot make sense of this unfathomable tragedy.
NEW: Austin professional cyclist Colin Strickland has just released a statement about the murder of cyclist Moriah Wilson, clarifying his relationship with her and expressing “torture about my proximity to this horrible crime.” pic.twitter.com/KnIna3mWrE
— Tony Plohetski (@tplohetski) May 20, 2022
Wilson, a 25-year-old Vermont native living in Colorado, had won a slew of races becoming a fan favorite. She had just become a full-time racer this year.
Anyone with information on this crime can contact Austin police at 512-974-TIPS or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 512-472-8477.
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Austin has added 24-hour security to the city-owned Pecan Gardens property, which will be converted into supportive housing for people exiting homelessness, after the former hotel was found with months of damage and vandalism May 5.
The building, which was broken into and stripped of copper and had people illegally sleeping inside of it, has been secured, Kelly said in a Friday press conference. Kelly said the city confirmed a measure to implement 24-hour security, including updates every 60 days until the property opens up as supportive housing.
"We cannot let this happen to any vacant city-owned property ever again," Kelly said. "This blatant act of disregard and criminal behavior will not be tolerated in our community."
The city bought the former hotel in August 2021 for $9.5 million with plans to renovate the property into a 78-unit supportive housing property. Those 55 or older that are experiencing chronic homelessness can qualify to live at the site once it is completed in late 2022-early 2023.
While the council was set to discuss a $4 million deal with Family Eldercare to begin converting the property Thursday, Kelly pulled the item for a later executive session due to security concerns. But the council did approve an item to authorize city leaders to begin negotiating other renovation contracts.
"I want to thank my colleagues for pumping the brakes on this contract and realizing that we owe the community not only an apology, but reassurance that the protection of the assets the city owns is vital to the success of achieving our intended goals," Kelly said.
When the building was found vandalized May 5, Kelly, who presides over the district containing the property, said damage included:
- Damage spanning all three floors of the building and is in nearly every room.
- The entire hotel was stripped of copper.
- Destroyed washers, dryers, air conditioners and electrical wiring.
- People sleeping at the hotel without permission.
On Tuesday, Austin’s Homeless Strategy Officer Dianna Gray apologized and said there was no security due to a delay in processing the request.
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