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AUSTIN, Texas—It’s Friday, March 13.
Today, Austin would have kicked off South by Southwest (SXSW). Instead, the city is scrambling.
Austin, the self-proclaimed “live music capital of the world,” is a booming tech city whose economy has come to rely on the visitors and revenue from the annual event. Last year, SXSW’s conglomeration of festivals brought an estimated $356 million to the city.
This year, for the first time in 34 years, it’s not happening.
As big-name sponsors dropped out, a snowball effect gained momentum.