SXSW, a.k.a. South By Southwest, has officially canceled it’s annual film, tech and music festival amid concerns of the coronavirus. The event, which was scheduled to take place in Austin, TX., is closing its curtains for the first time in 34 years.
Austin mayor, Steve Adler, declared the city of Austin in a state of ‘local disaster’, in a press conference Friday afternoon. Although there have been no reported cases of the virus in Austin, cases are rapidly spreading across the U.S.
SXSW said in a statement that organizers will ‘SXSW will faithfully follow the City’s directions.’
— SXSW (@sxsw) March 6, 2020
However, even before the cancellation announcement, major companies quietly pulled out just days ahead. Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok were among those who decided to retreat for safety concerns.
Furthermore, SXSW representatives have yet to make a statement concerning refunds. Tickets for the 10-day-long event ranged between $1,395 to $1,725.
A Change.org petition could have been the leading prompt in the decision to cancel. The creator of the petition stated, “I believe that having an event like this is irresponsible amid an outbreak.” And by Wednesday the call to action received 40,000 signatures.
In SXSW’s statement regarding the concerned, organizers wrote that March is historically not a popular travel month for the city of Austin. Although, they added demographic numbers that seem to say otherwise.
“SXSW’s Conference Attendee numbers from our 2019 demographics report state that we had 73,716 SXSW Conference Attendees, 19,166 of whom were from outside of the US. We are on par with those numbers for 2020.”
Likewise, we should expect future events and festivals to cancel in weeks coming up. That said, hold off on buying tickets…this news is surely the first of many. And, as the saying goes, better safe than sorry!
How do you feel about the coronavirus? Are you concerned?
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