Skip to main content

Two prospective SXSW attendees have filed a class action lawsuit against the famed Austin music and media festival over its stringent no-refund policy.

Following its cancellation in early March, SXSW informed its patrons that they would not be issuing refunds, instead offering them registration for its 2021, 2022, or 2023 iterations. They also promised ticket-holders a 50% discount if they opt to attend one of those three future fests.

Following that move, two seething plaintiffs—Massachusetts’s Maria Bromley and Colorado’s Kleber Pauta—have now filed a class action lawsuit against SXSW, claiming "breach of contract and unjust enrichment." Moreover, the tandem alleges that SXSW organizers "cannot be certain that future festivals will occur," essentially rendering the olive branch of the 50% discount a moot point. The latter assertion by Bromley and Pauta can be tied back to an ominous March 9th, 2020 announcement by SXSW officials that they were forced to lay off a large portion of its employees, casting doubt on its 2021 status. Speaking to The Austin Chronicle on the condition of anonymity, a senior official depicted the layoffs as “the only way to stop the bleeding" during a markedly grave time for the event in terms of its fiscal status contrived by the pandemic.

In a statement provided to Billboard, a SXSW spokesperson expounded on the situation at hand. "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 reads. "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.”

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles


Why Attendees of This Fiji Music Festival Leave the Island With "Feelings They Can't Quite Articulate"

We caught up with the Co-Founder of Your Paradise, an idyllic electronic music festival on Fiji's Mamanuca Islands.

no mana

Techno and Electro House Intersect In No Mana's Stunning Single, "Out of the Dark"

No Mana says the track was conceptualized from what he believes angels would sound like.

As of the time of writing, SXSW has not responded publicly to the lawsuit.





StubHub Faces $5M Class Action Lawsuit Over COVID-19 Refund Policy

A Wisconsin man has filed a lawsuit against StubHub over alleged changes to their refund policy.

Electric Zoo Cancun Beach Stage at Night at Grand Oasis Cancun

Former Employees File Class Action Lawsuit Against Pollen Over Unpaid Wages

The suit is the latest development in the saga of the destination events company, which had raised $150 million before falling into administration in the U.K.

Live Nation

Live Nation Announces Revised Refund Policy for Ticketholders

Live Nation's CEO took to Twitter to share the good news.

Shambhala Music Festival

Shambhala Music Festival Officially Postponed Until 2021

Another beloved music festival bites the dust due to the impact of COVID-19.


SXSW is Officially Cancelled Amid Coronavirus Concerns

The latest festival to cancel due to the ongoing safety concern is South By Southwest.


Law Firm Files Class Action Suit Against Ultra Miami Organizers to Issue Refunds

Corwin Law alleges that the organizers of Miami's Ultra Music Festival engaged in "deceptive trade practices."

Lightning in a Bottle 2019

Lawsuit Filed Against Lightning In A Bottle Over Lack of Refunds

Lightning in a Bottle faces a backlash due to the lack of refunds for their 2020 event.

The Stud

Historic Venue The Stud, Oldest Gay Bar In San Francisco, Is Closing Its Doors

Another storied venue sadly bites the dust due to the impact of COVID-19.