South by Southwest, SXSW, is facing a class action lawsuit for not providing refunds to ticket purchasers after it was cancelled.
On April 24, a suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas Austin Division by two plaintiffs, Maria Bromley and Pauta Kleber, who claim to have spent over $1,000 each on attending the event that was originally scheduled for March 12-20 in Austin according to Billboard.
The festival was originally scheduled for May 2020 but was cancelled due to COVID-19. Ticket holders were notified that the festival was cancelled and they would not be able to receive a refund. But they were allowed free registration for future SXSW festivals in 2021, 2022, 2023. Along with a 50% off discount for future festivals based upon the price they paid.
A SXSW spokesperson told Billboard,
"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," the statement continues. "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.”