AUSTIN, Texas (KCBD) - The City of Austin has cancelled the South By Southwest festival (SXSW) set for March of this year, due to concerns over Coronavirus.
Austin health authorities made the announcement in a press conference Friday.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler declared a local disaster, effectively cancelling the 10-day event that was expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people to the City.
The Texas Tribune reported that major sponsors like Facebook and Apple had already pulled out of the festival, and a Change.org petition was started to cancel the event that garnered more than 55,000 signatures.
Reports of cases of Coronavirus in Texas began this week, with the report of a 70-year-old man from Fort Bend County contracting a travel-related case, but still there is no evidence of community spread, according to state health officials.
SXSW posted a statement to their website following the announcement. A full copy of their statement can be seen here:
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.
This is a developing story, stay with KCBD for updates.