The global coronavirus outbreak continues to reshape the cultural landscape this Friday afternoon, as the City of Austin has canceled the 2020 iteration of South by Southwest, which had been set to take place March 13-22.
“We are devastated to share this news with you,” SXSW’s announcement reads. “‘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.”
Festival organizers go on to say that, though Austin Public Health found no evidence that cancelling the event would provide any safety benefits, they “honor and respect the City of Austin’s decision” nonetheless. They also note that they 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,” the multifaceted festival’s education arm.
SXSW’s cancellation is a tough blow for the city of Austin, as well as the entertainment industry at large. Amid the continued spread of the coronavirus, we’ve already seen the new James Bond film’s release delayed and, just this morning, Miami’s Ultra Music Festival called off (meanwhile, the president is downplaying the issue for fear of it making him look bad). It’s a deadly serious situation, and getting more so by the day.
Read SXSW’s complete cancellation statement below.
City of Austin Cancels SXSW March Events
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.