The popular two-week entertainment festival South By Southwest, also known as SXSW, has officially been canceled due to the coronavirus with just a week before its start.
An official statement on the festival’s Twitter account was released by the organizers saying that the city of Austin, where the festival is held, has canceled the dates for the festival.
“We are devastated to share this news with you,” the message began. “‘The show must gon 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.”
The message continued, “As recently as Wednesday, Austin Public Health stated that ‘there’s no evidence that closing SXSW or any other gatherings will make the community safe.’ 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.”
Major tech companies such as Facebook and Amazon had pulled out after a petition calling for the festival’s cancelation garnered more than 55,000 signatures made it likely that pulling the plug on the famed event.
The petition gained traction as US coronavirus cases began to spike, with now 11 deaths being reported in the nation.
This is certainly a big L for the city of Austin and the festival’s organizers. Last year, the festival made $355.9 million for the city of Austin, according to SXSW, the Verge reports.
Hopefully, festival attendees won’t share that L as festival organizers have yet to detail their refund policies. It’s possible that the festival may be rescheduled for a later date this year.
Organizers acknowledged that it’s an option they are exploring.