Just a week before the event would begin, South By Southwest recently canceled its 2020 festival in Austin due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. The cancellation marked the first time in 34 years the festivities won’t happen.
Despite the unforeseen circumstances, SXSW won’t be granting refunds. In the wake of the cancellation, the terms of its policy have come under scrutiny.
“Any and all payments made to SXSW are not refundable for any reason,” the policy states. “Including, without limitation, failure to use Credentials due to illness, acts of God, travel-related problems, acts of terrorism, loss of employment and/or duplicate purchases.”
However, in a letter sent to badge holders, the festival offered an alternative option for those who’d already bought tickets. Buyers will be able to defer their registrations to upcoming festivals from 2021 to 2023.
The festival’s co-founder Ronald Swenson spoke with the Austin American-Statesman regarding the policy. Swenson explained that the festival’s insurance policy doesn’t cover cancellations due to “bacterial infections, communicable diseases, viruses, and pandemics.”
Swenson revealed that the festival’s insurance covers events such as terrorism, injury, and property destruction. “It’s not unusual,” he said, “for insurance companies to exclude coverage for specific circumstances.” Stay tuned for more updates about festival cancellations. Coachella recently postponed its two-weekend festival until October amidst the pandemic.
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