Two would-be festivalgoers have sued SXSW LLC after spending significant sums of money on entry fees that were not refunded when the event was canceled, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Austin on April 24.
The lawsuit reads:
"Plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and all other persons who purchased wristbands, tickets, passes, and badges to the 2020 South by Southwest Festival, bring this action for breach of contract and unjust enrichment in order to recover monies paid for a festival that never occurred."
The festival did offer deferrals, stating that the badges could be used at one of next three festivals, along with a half-price discount on a second registration.
SXSW LLC responded to inquiries about the lawsuit with this written statement from a spokesperson. It says in part:
"When Mayor Steve Adler issued an order on March 6, 2020, prohibiting SXSW from holding the 2020 event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we understood and agreed with his tough call ... Due to the unique nature of SXSW's business, where we are reliant on one annual event, we incurred extensive amounts of non-recoupable costs well in advance of March. These expenditures, and the loss of expected revenue, have resulted in a situation where we do not have the money to issue refunds. SXSW, like many small businesses across the country, is in a dire financial situation requiring that we rely on our contracts, which have a clearly stated no refunds policy. Though we wish we were able to do more, we are doing our best to reconcile the situation and offered a deferral package option to purchasers of 2020 registrations."
As widespread protests against police violence continue in Austin and around the country, local activist groups are pushing for what they've wanted for years but didn't feel they could successfully demand: defunding the Austin Police Department. And people seem to be paying attention.
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From the release:
University of Texas at Austin will limit class size to 40% capacity this fall, offer 2,100 classes online
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Travis County reports two suspected cases in children of inflammatory disease associated with COVID-19
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- Protests continued peacefully in Austin last night.
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