In response to SXSW cancellation, music venues join to produce We Can Do Magic concerts March 16-22

Stubb's
Stubb’s is one of the music venues in Austin participating in We Can Do Magic from March 16-22. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

Stubb’s is one of the music venues in Austin participating in We Can Do Magic from March 16-22. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Red River Cultural District announced March 11 that Austin music venues will be hosting We Can Do Magic, a weeklong program of concerts that will run from March 16-22.

We Can Do Magic aims to fill some of the vacancies created for venues, employees and performers due to the cancellation of official South By Southwest music festival events.

“What we are experiencing is unprecedented in so many ways,” Cody Cowan, executive director of the Red River Cultural District, said in a news release. “The cancellation of SXSW is a true test to the grit and innovation of our live music community, and Austin’s live music venues, normally competing businesses, responded by doing something unprecedented themselves. They came together to join forces and do what they do best: book amazing and unforgettable live music experiences.”

Some of the venues currently participating in We Can Do Magic include Stubb’s, Mohawk, Antone’s, Barracuda, Cheer Up Charlie’s, Beerland, Cosmic Coffee and Elysium, according to a news release by the Red River Cultural District. A full list of participating venues and updated events can be found here.

Venues participating will increase their sanitation efforts, perform deep cleanings before shows and have additional hand washing and sanitizer stations at venues, the news release states.


On March 6, Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt issued disaster orders cancelling South By Southwest for 2020 due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

Hours after the official announcement, a GoFundMe fundraising page was created to solicit individual donations that will help musical artists, staff and the venues themselves to minimize the damage done.

“We had to get together as a group, as a community, to figure out how to take care of everybody that we can,” said Stephen Sternschein, the owner of Empire Control Room & Garage and one of the organizers for the GoFundMe campaign.

The priority for funds raised through the GoFundMe, which is titled Banding Together, will be paying the artists, allowing the musicians to keep the money they would have made by playing a SXSW gig and the venues to keep events on the schedule to make an income.


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