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South By Southwest (SXSW) organisers have announced that the annual Austin, Texas music, tech and film festival will be held in a virtual capacity in 2021, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
SXSW Online – which takes place 16-20 March 2021 – will host conference keynotes and sessions, screenings, showcases, and exhibitions. Meanwhile, the education conference, SXSW EDU, will start a week before and take place 9-11 March 2021.
Both events will begin accepting proposals for digital programs and sessions on 6 October, as well as submissions for the film festival.
In lieu of the usual showcase application process for the music festival, music programming will be curated by staff, “with priority given to showcase presenters and artists who were scheduled for the 2020 event,” organisers said.
SXSW reps also said that an in-person event is still a possibility for 2021, and that they have been working with Austin city health officials.
Whether held in-person or digitally, SXSW CEO and co-founder Roland Swenson promised that SXSW will still hold up as a primo networking event for creatives.
“The challenge of building a new future is one that we’re excited to tackle,” Swenson said. “This has been such a year of change and we, like the entire world, are reshaping our perspective on how we connect.”
“We’re pleased to be working on SXSW Online as part of our program for 2021, and regardless of platform, we will continue to bring together the brightest minds from creative industries worldwide.”
SXSW was one of the first major festivals to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the first time in the annual event’s 34-year history that it was cancelled.
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