Mayor of Austin asks residents to support local business after cancelling SXSW

"Now is the time we should be going to restaurants, going to clubs, and buying musicians' merchandise"

The mayor of Austin, Jerry Adler, has encouraged residents of the city to “go out to eat, drink and listen to live music” a week after cancelling SXSW 2020 in reaction to the coronavirus epidemic.

The festival was expected to deliver several hundred million dollars to the local economy. Alongside Texas State Senator Kirk Watson and Judge Sarah Eckhardt, Adler appeared in a video message to make the plea.

In the video, Mayor Adler suggested that those “hurting” because of SXSW’s cancellation help the situation by “going to restaurants, going to clubs, buying musicians’ merchandise, [and] helping one another.”


The appeal comes after it was revealed that fans who bought SXSW tickets will not be getting a refund. The 2020 edition was officially cancelled by the city of Austin last Friday (March 6).

SXSW 2019. CREDIT: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Fans who were left disappointed by the cancellation were quick to criticise the new statement. “You [Mayor Adler] crushed a lot of businesses,” one Twitter user said. “It will be remembered on Election Day.”

Another suggested double standards in Adler’s comments for cancelling the event over concerns about COVID-19, then encouraging people to congregate in public spaces. “You’re not making much sense, Mayor Adler,” they concluded.


To date, 16 Texans and approximately 1,400 Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Earlier this week, NME announced a collaboration with legendary London venue The 100 Club to host a last minute live showcase to support bands that were set to perform at SXSW this week.

Ticket and line-up details will be announced next week. Visit here for info and to register your interest. Sign up to the NME mailing list here

If you are an artist who has been affected by the SXSW cancellation and are interested in an alternative showcase, please email with the subject line: “NME X SXSW show.”