By DONNA BALANCIA
South by Southwest, the music, film and tech festival annually held in Austin, has been canceled over coronavirus warnings.
The cancellation os SXSW was announced by Austin officials on March 6 with days to spare before the important Austin event begins.
“The City of Austin has canceled the March dates for SXSW and SXSW EDU. SXSW will faithfully follow the City’s directions,” event organizers posted on the SXSW page. “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,’ the organizers posted. “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.”
There will be tremendous economic fallout because of the cancellation of Austin’s premiere festival and conference.
The 2019 conference and festival drew 417,400 registrants representing 106 countries, according to the Austin Chronicle. Additional related events and parties during the Spring Break week event also bring visitors to the fest. SXSW estimated in 2019 the event brought $355.9 million to the Austin economy.
“I’ve gone ahead and declared a local disaster in the city, and associated with that have issued an order that effectively cancels South by Southwest this year,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler.
The event, which was set to kick off March 13 and go through March 22, has not been rescheduled. Organizers say it’s the first time in the history of the fest that it has been canceled.