SXSW Canceled Over Coronavirus Scare

The annual South by Southwest festival has been canceled by the city of Austin, TX over fears surrounding the spread of the coronavirus, The New York Times reports.

The interactive, film and music portions of the event, which would have hosted its 34th year and was scheduled to run from March 13 to 22, has now been entirely canceled after certain key presenters, including Nine Inch Nails and Ozzy Osbourne, pulled out this morning. Other key participants such as Facebook, Twitter, Intel and TikTok had also recently canceled their participation.

Refunds for badges, which cost between $1,395 and $1,725, have been mentioned as of this time.

A Change.org petition requested the event be canceled had already gained over 40,000 signatures before the plug was officially pulled.

An official statement from SXSW reads as follows:

“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.

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