SXSW 2020 cancelled due to coronavirus
In a Friday afternoon (3/6) press conference, Austin mayor Steve Adler said that the 2020 edition of Austin's SXSW is cancelled due to the coronavirus. Shorly after, SXSW shared a statement about the cancellation:
The City of Austin has cancelled the March dates for SXSW and SXSW EDU. SXSW will faithfully follow the City’s directions.
We are devastated to share this news with you. “The show must go on” is in our DNA, and this is the first time in 34 years that the March event will not take place. We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation.
As recently as Wednesday, Austin Public Health stated that “there’s no evidence that closing SXSW or any other gatherings will make the community safer.” However, this situation evolved rapidly, and we honor and respect the City of Austin’s decision. We are committed to do our part to help protect our staff, attendees, and fellow Austinites.
We are exploring options to reschedule the event and are working to provide a virtual SXSW online experience as soon as possible for 2020 participants, starting with SXSW EDU. For our registrants, clients, and participants we will be in touch as soon as possible and will publish an FAQ.
We understand the gravity of the situation for all the creatives who utilize SXSW to accelerate their careers; for the global businesses; and for Austin and the hundreds of small businesses – venues, theatres, vendors, production companies, service industry staff, and other partners that rely so heavily on the increased business that SXSW attracts.
We will continue to work hard to bring you the unique events you love. Though it’s true that our March 2020 event will no longer take place in the way that we intended, we continue to strive toward our purpose – helping creative people achieve their goals.
At the press conference, Adler said that "based on the recommendation of our public health officer and director of public health, and after consultation with the city manager, I’ve gone ahead and declared a local disaster in the city, and associated with that, have issued an order that effectively cancels SXSW," as The Dallas Morning News reports.
Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said that while there are currently no confirmed cases of the virus in Travis County, "the COVID-19 threat is growing across the United States." He continued, "now is not the time to panic. Now is the time to prepare and provide a measured response to that threat."
In another press conference earlier this week, Escott said, "there is no evidence that closing SXSW is going to make the community safer."
The cancellation comes after a string of high-profile companies pulled out of the festival, resulting in the cancellation of events and talks with Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Kumail Nanjiani, Emily Gordon, and others. Ozzy Osbourne also gave a statement cancelling his appearance last night.
SXSW's 2020 edition was to happen from March 13-22.
This is a developing story. Stay tuned for updates.