South by Southwest (SXSW), a major annual event that features film festivals, interactive media, music festivals, and conferences, has been canceled, the city of Austin announced today. SXSW was set to take place from March 13 to March 22.
Austin has declared a health emergency, and SXSW has been canceled on the advice of local health experts who have warned that it could cause COVID-19 to spread.
SXSW event organizers say they’re exploring options to reschedule and are working to provide a virtual SXSW experience for 2020 participants.
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.
SXSW typically draws well over 70,000 people from around the world, and up until today, the organizers had planned to keep the event going despite multiple companies pulling out.
Apple was planning to debut new Apple TV+ content at SXSW, but earlier this week said that it would no longer attend. Other companies that include Amazon Studios, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Panasonic, SAP, HBO, and Intel had all declined to attend because of COVID-19 fears.