Once Ozzy Osbourne pulled out, the next step was obvious: South by Southwest, the annual tech, film, and music conference in Austin, Texas, has been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. It had been scheduled for March 13-22.
“Based on the recommendation of our public health officer and our director of public health… I’ve gone ahead and declared a local disaster in the city and associated with that, have issued an order that effectively cancels SXSW,” Austin mayor Steven Adler said during a press conference on Friday. Conference organizers also released a statement, noting that this is the first time in the festival’s 34-year history that “the March event will not take place.” SXSW’s cancelation, one of many festivals to be called off this week, is a devastating blow for the local economy, especially restaurants and bars, as well as the bands and filmmakers who rely on the festival for promotion.
“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.”
Notable SXSW cancelations before the whole thing was called off included Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter.