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After Hit-and-Run, SXSW Organizer Says Fest Will Continue as Planned

"As much as we would like to just go home and spend time absorbing the shock of this horrific event, we feel our best use is to continue to operate today"

People are treated after being struck by a vehicle on Red River Street in downtown Austin during SXSW.
AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner
March 13, 2014 2:53 PM ET

Following Thursday's tragic hit-and-run at South by Southwest that left two people dead and 23 injured, the festival's Managing Director Roland Swenson issued a statement Thursday expressing shock at the incident, while stating that "to avoid confusion, we plan to carry on with our scheduled daytime events at the Austin Convention Center in order to serve our tens of thousands of participants during this tragic time."

Swenson said that all staff and volunteers were working on a normal schedule, though The Mohawk, the Austin venue where many of the victims were near when the accident occurred, tweeted that all events at the venue would be cancelled for the afternoon.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families of last night's senseless tragedy," the venue's owners said in a statement. "We are working together with SXSW and city officials on next steps. We will be canceling all events scheduled for this afternoon. Tonight's events are still pending. We will communicate information as it becoems available. Our hearts are broken. Thank you, as always, for the love and support."

Full statement from SXSW Managing Director Roland Swenson 

The SXSW staff is stunned and deeply moved by the events of last night.

Dozens of us were on the scene when the incident occurred and we worked closely with APD to create a perimeter around the area, turning back all the visitors spilling out of the clubs who headed north on Red River Street.

To avoid confusion we plan to carry on with our scheduled daytime events at the Austin Convention Center in order to serve our tens of thousands of participants during this tragic time.

All of the SXSW staff and volunteers reported for their regular duties this morning and will continue working today on the event.

We are contacting all of the venues to find out if they have made any decisions about their operations that might impact our visitors.

Despite all of our preparations for dealing with a major incident during SXSW, nothing could really prepare us for how this feels. As much as we would like to just go home and spend time absorbing the shock of this horrific event, we feel our best use is to continue to operate today.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and with the families of the fatalities.

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