A STATEMENT ON THE CANCELLATION OF SXSW FROM MILLIE MILLGATE, SOUNDS AUSTRALIA EXECUTIVE PRODUCER 

Sounds Australia are a mix of emotions upon learning of the City of Austin’s decision to cancel SXSW this morning.

We respect that a decision was ultimately made that prioritises the health and safety of its citizens, the international guests travelling to Austin and, most importantly, mitigates the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

We are truly disappointed for SXSW and their incredible team who have been working around the clock to keep the iconic show on track. This is especially because they know the impact such a cancellation will have on hundreds of small Austin businesses including venues, production companies, vendors, service and hospitality staff and many more, along with the effect on the global music industry.

We are most heartbroken and feel for the 43 Australian artists who were due to showcase at this year’s SXSW festival. It is a huge achievement to have been selected from the 7,000 plus artists that apply each year. To have lost this opportunity after spending several months and thousands of dollars preparing, and planning is devastating.

We particularly want to acknowledge those individuals at the helm, responsible for managing each of the acts and the truly impressive way in which they have and continue to navigate this unprecedented cancellation and subsequent turn of events. To see the countless hours of work, setting up opportunities, meetings, showcases, travel logistics and more only to be reversed will have an enormous impact which cannot be underestimated.

We are extremely grateful for the comradery and counsel that has shone between our Australia House @ SXSW partners, whom we have been decision making and dealing with throughout the last week of extreme uncertainty, including the fantastic team at G’Day USA, led by Australian Consul-General Los Angeles Chelsey Martin, and Global Manager Nicole Foster spearheading SXSW activity for Tourism Australia. We also value the cooperation and patience shown from our Official SXSW showcase presenting partners Laneway, Secret Sounds (Splendour in the Grass & Falls Festival) and Made In Melbourne (Visit Victoria, ACMI and Spirit Level).

Sounds Australia is a partnership of Government and industry and more than ever before this has been demonstrated through the care and concern shown for the wellbeing of each of the Sounds Australia team members from APRA AMCOS, ARIA, the PPCA, The Australia Council for the Arts and Office for the Arts (Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications).

To the international music industry who had confirmed to join our events in Austin at SXSW, thank you and know that we still have many Australian artists heading to the USA to complete larger touring schedules and we will be sure to communicate with you all those details so you can still experience incredible live Australian music, closer to home.

For those Australian music industry delegates who have registered to attend SXSW in 2020 you can opt to defer registration to 2021, 2022, or 2023. You don’t need to take immediate action as it will remain in the SXSW system for future opportunities. If you have any questions, please email [email protected]. If you have booked a hotel through SXSW Housing & Travel, your reservation will not be automatically cancelled. To change or cancel your reservation please follow the instructions in your SXSW Hotel Reservation Confirmation email.

We really are still grappling with the SXSW cancellation news, what it will mean and the precedent it may set for other international showcase events, tours and festivals in the coming months and the wider commercial impact. However, we know that the Australian Music Industry is resilient, resourceful and creative and we couldn’t be prouder to be representing Australian Music on the world stage at this time.

Sounds Australia
Millie, Esti, Glenn, Dom, Leah and Larry