SXSW 2020 has officially been cancelled as cases of coronavirus continue to rise across the world.
The Austin festival, which features music, film, and comedy events, was due to begin on March 13 and run until March 22.
Now organisers have confirmed that the 2020 edition has officially been cancelled by the city of Austin. “We are devastated to share this news with you,” they wrote in a statement posted on their website.
“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 the statement notes, Austin Public Health officials had stated earlier this week (March 4) that there was “no evidence that closing SXSW or any other gatherings will make the community safer”. However, with cases rapidly rising in the US and across the world, the local government have now made the decision to cancel the festival altogether.
SXSW organisers said they were “exploring options to reschedule the event and are working to provide a virtual SXSW online experience as soon as possible for 2020 participants”. They promised to be in touch with registrants, clients and participants as soon as possible.
“We understand the gravity of the situation for all the creatives who utilise 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,” they added.
A number of brand sponsors and participants had already pulled out of this year’s festival, including Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon. Ozzy Osbourne, Trent Reznor, and Beastie Boys also cancelled their scheduled appearances at the event.
There has now been over 100,000 cases of coronavirus identified worldwide as of March 6, with over 3,000 deaths.