A week’s worth of rumors have now been confirmed as the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) music, film and technology conference has officially been cancelled due to fears over the coronavirus. Show officials called the decision a medical and data driven decision.
The week began poorly for SXSW as several of the event’s major participants pulled out including Apple, Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Mashablwe to name but a few.
Despite all the notable cancellations, festival organizers initially refused to cancel SXSW, largely based on the advice of local officials, who continued to assure them that the Austin health department had approved the event taking place.
Local government officials announced the update at a news conference early Friday afternoon shortly after Austin Mayor Steve Adler declared a local disaster in the city and issued an order canceling the conference.
A visit to the SXSW website revealed the following statements, “SXSW will faithfully follow the City’s directions.” Organizers also added, “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.”
Confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world passed the 100,000 mark during the day Friday.
Among the many high-profile guests scheduled to speak at the conference this year were former presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton, Beto O'Rourke and Andrew Yang, along with Steve Jobs' widow Laurene Powell Jobs, and rocker Ozzy Osbourne. Last year’s SXSW drew approximately 300,000 people.