SXSW Comes Roaring Back to Austin, with a Full In-Person Festival that is Music to Texas Restaurants’ Ears

Mar 7

AUSTIN, TX (March 7, 2022) – The Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) is thrilled to welcome South by Southwest (SXSW) back to the bars, restaurants, venues, and streets of Austin that have nurtured and defined it for 35 years.

The festival, which injects on average more than $16 million of consumer spending into the legendary Austin music scene over the course of just nine days, returns after its 2020 pandemic cancellation and a virtual version in 2021. Austin’s hospitality businesses have long recognized the festival’s importance, working hand-in-hand to create a must-attend experience for participants and attendees from all over the world.

For business owners and their employees, the first SXSW cancellation marked the beginning of a two-year rollercoaster that still has many reeling. Austin’s hospitality industry has persevered through the pandemic with remarkable grit and determination, supported by loyal customers and a remarkably close-knit music community. Now, as musicians, artists, entrepreneurs, and fans from around the world pack their bags for Austin, the city’s bars, venues, restaurants, and hotels are ready to welcome them back with open arms, menus, and bar tabs.

A touchstone of the global creative economy, SXSW has grown since its founding in 1987 from a small collection of concerts centered around downtown Austin’s Sixth Street to one of the most important media and industry exhibitions in the world. In 2019, the year before the pandemic, South By, as attendees lovingly call it, generated over $355 million in economic impact for the city, including over $16 million of consumer spending to Austin’s bars, restaurants, and other local businesses.

“SXSW is unequalled among live events, and a big part of that is because it is in Austin—a city known world-wide for its music and originality,” said Dr. Emily Williams Knight, Ed.D., President and CEO of the TRA. “So much of what makes Austin special can be found in our food, our hospitality, and our people. That is why people come year after year. This community and these businesses navigated the COVID-19 pandemic with incredible resilience, innovation, and tenacity. Now that SXSW is back with a full, in-person lineup March 11-20, Austin restaurants, bars, and venues are ready to welcome back visitors and Austinites alike to celebrate all that we’ve overcome and the innovation that lies ahead.”

“We are excited for the in-person return of SXSW,” said Tom Noonan, President and CEO of Visit Austin. “SXSW is one of the top economic drivers for so many of our local businesses, live music venues, restaurants and hotels, and we look forward to once again hosting visitors from around the world for an event that is like no other.”


Formed in 1937, the Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) serves as the advocate and indispensable resource for the foodservice industry in Texas. As a leading business association, the TRA represents the state’s $70 billion restaurant industry, which comprises approximately 50,000 locations and a workforce of 1.3 million employees. Along with the Texas Restaurant Foundation, the workforce development arm of the TRA, the association proudly continues to protect, advance, and educate a growing industry as the TRA enters its 85th anniversary year. For more information, please visit


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