BUSINESS
03/17/2012 12:16 pm ET Updated Mar 18, 2012

SXSW 2012: Small Business Owners Losing Money From Festival

South by Southwest isn't fun for everyone.

While the vintage shops and East Side dive bars make a killing off the 50,000-some festival attendees, other Austin, Texas business owners say they actually lose money when "South by," the annual music, film and technology mega-festival comes to town, local TV station KVUE reports.

With roads blocked off and many locals avoiding Austin's downtown, some businesses find it more profitable to close all together during the week in March, even as party people from all parts of the world roll in.

Ruth England, owner of Rogue Running, told the station:

"I read there was a New Yorkers guide to SXSW. They said, 'Go to the East side. It is the hot place in town.' I was like, 'No, not the East side! Please go somewhere else.'"
...
"They are here to party. They are here to smoke. They are here to drink. They are here to listen to music. They are not here to buy running shoes."

England is not the only local bemoaning her city's takeover. While South by Southwest brings thousands of musicians, hundreds of celebrities and business owners, as well as $167 million a year to Texas's capital, it also makes driving, eating, sleeping, parking or doing much of anything near impossible. Many Austinites choose to go on vacation when the festival comes to town. Others proclaim to hate the whole experience.

"I hate crowds, therefore I hate SXSW," writes resident Karen Writer. " ... Austin’s full of half-built condos and too much traffic and SXSW is a circus that takes over the city, making it a lot more fun for visitors than residents."

CONVERSATIONS