(CelebrityAccess) – SXSW has been served with a class action lawsuit on behalf of ticket buyers who were not offered refunds after the Austin, Texas festival was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the complaint, which was filed by Maria Bromley and Kleber Pauta in a Texas Federal Court earlier this week, the plaintiffs are accusing the festival of being in breach of contract and unjust enrichment. The suit also claims the festival’s refund and revocation policy renders its own terms & conditions “unlawful, unconscionable and unenforceable.”
In a statement to Law360, SXSW said: “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.”
Due to the fact that SXSW’s insurance policy did not cover the cancellation, festival organizers announced that in lieu of refunds, ticket and pass holders would be offered free registration for the 2021, 2022, or 2023 editions of SXSW, and a 50 percent discount for an additional year. However, according to the lawsuit, Bromley and Kleber, who claim to have spent over $1,000 each on attending the event, were both informed that the offer would expire on April 30, 2020.
SXSX was originally slated to take place March 12–20, however, after an order was issued by the city of Austin prohibiting large gatherings, the festival was canceled on March 6. SXSW has since been forced to lay off a third of its 175 year-round employees.