South by Southwest goes digital after historic cancellation


Shelly Hiam / Hilltop Views Mashup

After South by Southwest was canceled sue to rising concerns of COVID-19 many of the aspects of the conference are still happening online. While the film festival awards have been announced online some of the films will also be made public on Amazon Prime in late April.

With the sudden onset of COVID-19 and the cancellation of major events around the globe, is the world onto something new with the rise of virtual events? The cancellation of major events and festivals such as South by Southwest has sparked the emergence of virtual events, concerts and conferences. 

If you live in Austin, then you were probably anticipating the traffic and overpriced ride-sharing that comes with SXSW. However, the cancellation of the massive conference allowed the public to tune into major events right from their couch. 

SXSW was one of the first to go virtual with many of the concerts and conferences that were planned going online. Many celebrities have also jumped on this trend to provide virtual live concerts on social platforms such as Facebook Live and Instagram Live. 

One performer who appeared at SXSW in 2019 gave the performance of a lifetime to those cooped up at home. DJ Mel, a popular Austin DJ, performed live on Facebook as part of his new series called Living Room Dance Party. 

DJ Mel reached 913,000 viewers with his post including Austin Mayor Steve Adler. In addition to bringing the joy of music to people bored at home, he shouted out multiple Austin nonprofits to help Austin’s entertainment industry which has hit a major roadblock because of the coronavirus. 

Keith Urban, John Legend, Chris Martin and plenty of other big-name musicians have set hearts racing around the country with free online concerts. In a time that is very uncertain and brings fear of the unknown, being able to have backstage access to celebrities and performers who, more often than not, cost big bucks to see is an unforeseen benefit to being stuck at home. 

Many artists have gone live on social platforms to play their music or just talk to fans. This accessibility to celebrities has seemed to help tame some of the anxiety that many people have been feeling. In a world where young people are told they spend too much time online, younger generations are helping keep industries such as the entertainment and events industries alive.