Image Credit: SXSW

SXSW Online 2021 is taking place between March 16-20, but will anyone pay $249 for the online-only digital experience?

Usually taking place in March, last year’s annual conglomeration of parallel film, interactive media, music festivals and conferences resulted in a last minute cancellation just one week before the event was slated to take place. This came as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, making holding a mass in-person gathering impossible. The cancellation in 2020 was a huge financial blow to the organisation, resulting in SXSW laying off one-third of its full-time employees, with CEO and co-founder Roland Swenson stating the future for the event was uncertain.

As the pandemic continues to cancel gigs and festivals around the world for the second year running, SXSW are going online-only for 2021. SXSW Online 2021 will include keynotes, Conference sessions, Music Festival showcases, Film Festival screenings, world-class networking and more. Speakers announced so far include Chris Webber, Erin Lee Carr, Mark Cuban, Tim Ellis and more. 97 indie artists will be performing from their home countries, including Indigo Sparke, Darkoo, Squid and more. The entire event can be streamed on the web, mobile devices or the SXSW Online Connected TV app.

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. We’re pleased to be working on 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.

Roland Swenson, CEO and Co-Founder, SXSW

Tickets to attend SXSW Online 2021 are on sale now for $249, increasing to $399 in March. One pass covers the entire event and can be purchased here today. Discounted passes are available for a limited number of students at $59 each and group passes are also available with the site saying “the more people you bring, the more you can save.”

Even the cheaper current amount is more pricey than we’ve seen any other online event in the last year. In 2019, the music portion attracted 159,258 festivalgoers, with the entire multifaceted SXSW 2019 seeing around 280,000 total people. Presumably this high ticket price will only attract a very select group of individuals, however it’s ease of access online will undoubtedly see attendees from around the world.