We’ve all heard the news. The sea of free activations, booze and life-changing concerts will not be taking place for SXSW this year. The threat of the coronavirus was bigger than the city’s desire to cash in on the $365 million dollars it was expected to bring to town.
The last few days have been a mourning period for those who embrace the festival, yet not so much for those who look at it as a disruption. But after the dust settled, Austinites are doing what they do best. They are banding together to support the locals.
All you have to do is look on Facebook or Instagram for countless events and pages hoping to help those who were affected by the loss of special events, gigs and extra cash that was much needed after a slow winter. Those who are part of the service and music industry have been the most vocal about their losses. Austin mayor, Steve Adler, has also launched his own campaign to get people to drop some cash at their favorite locally owned shops, restaurants and venues.
Although business owners are taking a big loss, so are the people who are there every time you have a bad day or are just looking to unwind with your favorite cocktail. Bartending during SXSW can be the most lucrative time for many bartenders in Austin, but without the expected income most in the service industry normally expect to receive, many are left scrambling to figure out what’s next.
That’s where the owners of The Roosevelt Room and The Eleanor come into play. Starting Thursday, March 12th through Sunday, March 22nd, they are putting their money where their mouth is. Starting at 6pm each night, they will be opening up The Eleanor, an event space that would have been booked out throughout SXSW, and will be hosting bartenders and support staff from Austin to work with a guaranteed minimum pay of $150 per person. Half of all sales will be donated to the United States Bartenders’ Guild of Austin and the Austin Food & Wine Alliance.
The bar will also be hosting bartenders from Nashville, who have traveled to Austin to work the festival while their home bars are being repaired following the devastating tornadoes that ripped through their city earlier this month. On those evenings, a portion of the sales will also be donated to the Nashville chapter of the USBG.
No matter if you love it or hate SXSW, we can all get behind Austinites doing something great to give back to those in our community.
You can find more information on The Eleanor’s facebook. The bar is located at 307 West 5th Street in downtown Austin.