Organizers of South by Southwest have finally canceled the celebration of technology, arts and music in Austin, Texas, citing concerns from city officials about the continuing spread of the coronavirus.
Here is the what the organizer said:
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.
The weeklong gathering attracts more than 75,0000 people to the city. Dozens of startups and tech titans including Alphabet Inc., Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc. have opened offices there in recent years. In the past week, many of those companies had canceled their appearances at the conference.
Some of the world’s largest conventions have been called off or postponed to prevent the spread of the deadly virus: Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Game Developers Conference and an Intel convention in San Francisco, and Facebook’s F8 developer conference and Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, California.