SXSW 2020 cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns

It’s the first time that the annual festival and conference has been called off.

sxsw 2019

Festivalgoers at the 2019 edition of SXSW. Image: Diego Donamaria / Getty Images for SXSW

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SXSW 2020 has been cancelled by order of the City Of Austin due to coronavirus fears, the annual tech, music and film festival/conference announced earlier today. It had been scheduled to run from 13 to 22 March across multiple locations in Austin, Texas.

This is the first time in its 34-year history that SXSW will not take place as planned. Mayor of Austin Steve Adler said at a press conference: “Based on the recommendation of our public health officer and our director of public health, and after our consultation with the city manager, I’ve gone ahead and declared a local disaster in the city. In association with that, I’ve issued an order that effectively cancels South By Southwest for this year.”

SXSW said in an official statement that it is “devastated” by the decision. “SXSW will faithfully follow the City’s directions […] 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.”

Read SXSW’s statement here:

The latest blow to SXSW comes just days after a clutch of big companies and artists announced that they were pulling out of the event. Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Facebook and LinkedIn – and musicians such as Ozzy Osbourne and Trent Reznor – are among those that withdrew citing public health concerns, according to NME.

In response to the news, NME has announced that it will support bands that had been scheduled to play at the festival by coordinating a “recorded showcase” in London.

SXSW is the latest in a string of events and concerts that have been called off or postponed in the wake of the global COVID-19 outbreak. Musikmesse, which had been scheduled to take place in early April, has been pushed back to a later, unspecified date. Knotfest Japan, a metal festival in March organised by Slipknot, has also been cancelled.

More info at sxsw.com.


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