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SXSW will host an online festival in 2021

The organizers are holding out hopes for an in-person component.
Igor Bonifacic, @igorbonifacic
September 22, 2020
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AUSTIN, TEXAS - MARCH 7, 2019: SXSW South by Southwest Annual music, film, and interactive conference and festival. Capitol metro rail station at Austin Convention Center at 4th street during the SXSW, downtown.
galinast via Getty Images

As part of its 2021 plans, SXSW will host an online festival that will attempt to replicate the best features of its annual conference in Austin, Texas. SXSW Online will run from March 16th to March 20th, 2021. SXSW's organizers say the event will allow attendees to check out film and music screenings, as well as take part in sessions, networking opportunities and exhibitions.

“The challenge of building a new future is one that we’re excited to tackle. This has been such a year of change and we, like the entire world, are reshaping our perspective on how we connect,” said Ronald Swenson, the CEO and co-founder of SXSW. “We’re pleased to introduce 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's organizers say they're also working with Austin city and public health officials to plan a physical event in 2021. SXSW was one of the first big cancellations in this year's event calendar due to the coronavirus pandemic. After companies like Amazon, Facebook and Twitter pulled out of the annual festival, SXSW's organizers tried to continue with the event. However, Austin city officials eventually stepped in and canceled the festival.

SXSW did its best to salvage what it could of the event. It partnered with Amazon to stream movies from the festival for free on Prime Video for a short time. With more time to prepare this time around, SXSW Online could fill the gap left by the absence of its physical counterpart.

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