SXSW is officially canceled by the City of Austin. This comes after companies such as CNN, Apple, LinkedIn, IBM, Netflix, WarnerMedia, TikTok, Amazon Studios, Intel, Facebook, Twitter and Panasonic bail on the event.
On Friday, with just days to go before SXSW 2020, the event was canceled by the City of Austin. The music, film, tech, art and gaming conference brings in over 400,000 people from around the world, and more than $350 million in local economic impact.
SXSW organizers said in a statement, “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.” The organizers said they are looking at options to reschedule the event and provide a virtual SXSW online experience, beginning with SXSW EDU.
Apple, LinkedIn, IBM, Netflix, WarnerMedia, TikTok, Amazon Studios, Intel, Facebook, Twitter and Panasonic were among the first to bail due to worries about the coronavirus.
Earlier today, media giant CNN cancelled its plans to participate. CNN issued the following statement, “Out of an abundance of caution and because the situation has been changing so rapidly, CNN has limited all non-essential travel and events for its employees until further notice. Because of that, CNN will not be moving forward with the CITIZEN by CNN House at SXSW this year.”
South by Southwest was scheduled for March 13-22 and normally takes place at venues throughout Austin. It’s the kind of event where you can rub elbows with Jon Hamm, bump into random aliens, bleed for the throne at an HBO Game of Thrones activation, pet a Hellhound from Amazon’s Garden of Earthly Delights at various locations, and then walk down the street to another setting to learn about technology such as what LG is doing with 5G mobility or find out more about the future of autonomous vehicles. It’s a magical kind of place and seems like the type of event that the real world can’t affect but, sadly, this year it is as the threat of the coronavirus and COVID-19 looms large.
The event was threatened in recent days as Sony, Universal and Warner Music advised employees not to attend.canceled its popular House of Modern Beauty event. All of the Hypergiant SXSW activations were canceled. The Latinx House was closed. The Capital Factory canceled its startup crawl. And entertainers such as Atticus Ross, Kumail Nanjiani, Emily Gordon, Ozzy Osbourne, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and the Beastie Boys had already bailed with more surely to come over the weekend before SXSW’s organizers made the announcement.
There were big names still on the marquee. Hillary Clinton, Adam Schiff, Beto O’Rourke and Andrew Yang were late additions to the schedule as part of the “Conversations about America’s Future” series and they hadn’t yet said they were cancelling. Chris Evans was still listed as a keynote speaker.
According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins, there have been 101,583 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. A total of 55,863 people have recovered, and 3,460 people have died. There have been 14 deaths in the United States, with 13 in Washington state and one in California.
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