For the first time in 34 years, there will be no SXSW Festival. After an order by the city of Austin Texas, the festival announced its cancellation over fears from the growing outbreak of the Coronavirus. Many key sponsors and artists had already pulled out. As reported by AdWeek, the event typically draws more than 400,000 attendees and in 2019 brought and added $350M to Austin’s economy. Attendance last year topped 417,400 across all events.
— SXSW (@sxsw) March 6, 2020
Calling it a “local disaster,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler said in a news conference today that he “issued an order that effectively cancels South by Southwest for this year.”
Twitter was one of the first brands to announce last weekend that it wouldn’t be attending, banning all non-critical employee travel. Facebook, Amazon Studios, Starz, TikTok, Netflix, Warner Media, Intel and many others are among the companies that had already withdrawn at the time of the city of Austin’s announcement.
Since it was first reported to the World Health Organization in December, the new coronavirus has spread to 90 countries. Nearly 100,000 cases have been reported worldwide and 3,400 people have died from COVID-19, the disease that it causes.
SXSW is the latest in a long list of high-profile events canceled or postponed in light of the epidemic, including Facebook’s F8 conference, Mobile World Congress and Collision.