SXSW 2020: Dear America, these are the UK artists who would have blown you away

Book them for your next festival, when the time is right

Twitter was awash with cheap gags about Austin’s streets being busied by a few less hipsters when news broke that this year’s SXSW festival had been cancelled over fears surrounding coronavirus, but it’s a serious business. In fact, it’s a huge kick in the face for many people, for many reasons. Firstly for the festival team – this is the first time they’ve had to halt it in their 34 year history – who work year-round to organise what’s probably still considered the world’s leading new music showcase. They’re understandably devastated, not to mention out of pocket.

Then the local community: the great many independent venues of Austin whose footfall and takings no doubt spike around the annual event. The restaurants, the taxis, anything that falls into the general local tourist economy – all will feel this via loss of earnings. It’s an amazing city built fundamentally built on its reputation for live music. And then the international impact; performers booked from Amsterdam to Lagos, Seoul to Kiev. From a UK community perspective, there’s the artists who applied for funding, borrowed money or fundraised to get themselves out there in front of the global media, booking agents and influencers. This shit is hard work. So, our sympathies go out to them, from those who’ve taken a painful financial hit or who’re coming to terms with the disappointment. They still deserve a spotlight.

In light of not really knowing what else to do, but wanting to do something, as small and pathetic a gesture as it may seem, below is a playlist of fantastic UK artists (photographed top: KEYAH/BLU) who should have been blowing up at the festival this coming week. These are just the ones we’re familiar with, there are lots more, forgive us for those we may have missed. They would likely have appeared in many a “best things we saw at SXSW” pieces. Hopefully when the time is right, they’ll get their opportunity again. And for everyone else affected, we’re feeling for you.