The mood was dark at the Austin Convention Center on Thursday, after two people were killed in a car wreck outside of the Mohawk in the early hours of the first full scale night at the South by Southwest Music Festival.
SXSW managing director Roland Swenson issued a statment saying "The SXSW staff is stunned and deeply moved by the events of last night." He said that the festival will go on: "We plan to carry on with our scheduled daytime events" and "we are contacting all of the venues to find out if they have made any decisions about our operations that impact our visitors."
One of the two people killed was a Dutch citizen riding a bicycle who was a SXSW registrant. The other was an Austin woman who was on a moped, with another man who is one of two people of the 23 hospitalized still in critical condition. Eight remain hospitalized.
At the Convention Center on Thursday morning, Samatha Kraft, 22, of Mount Holly in Burlington County, said "It feels different here, to know that people have died."
Kraft, who is in Austin as a merchandise worker at the Convention Center during the conference, and was home in bed when the accident occured. "It's weird to think that you could be out having a really good time," she said. "And then the next minute something like that could happen. It's horrifying. It's definitely changed the mood around here. Everbody's talking about it."
"We cannot allow one individual to ruin a wonderful event," said Austin police chief Art Acevedo. "I urge SXSW to continue."
Swenson's entire statement can be found at sxsw.com. the conference will post updates at twitter.com/sxsw.