It was reported on Tuesday that the South by Southwest event in Austin would go on as scheduled despite mounting concern that the tech and culture festival will expose the Texas city to the coronavirus. They almost seemed defiant about the event staying on track. The next day Apple Dropped out of the South by Southwest event that was to debut the Documentary Film titled "Beastie Boys Story" and more.
Despite what the organizers of the SXSW event wanted, the City of Austin made the decision for them after declaring a "Local Disaster." Below is a video of the news conference making that announcement stating that individuals would be coming from infected areas of the country and that this could cause major problems for Austin.
Local government officials announced the update at a press conference Friday afternoon discussing the status of the outbreak and events in the city. Austin’s Mayor Steve Adler said he had declared a local disaster in the city and issued an order canceling the conference.
SXSW Statement of closing the Event in Austin
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.
As recently as Wednesday, Austin Public Health stated that "there’s no evidence that closing SXSW or any other gatherings will make the community safer." 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.
We are exploring options to reschedule the event and are working to provide a virtual SXSW online experience as soon as possible for 2020 participants, starting with SXSW EDU. For our registrants, clients, and participants we will be in touch as soon as possible and will publish an FAQ.
We understand the gravity of the situation for all the creatives who utilize SXSW to accelerate their careers; for the global businesses; and for Austin and the hundreds of small businesses – venues, theatres, vendors, production companies, service industry staff, and other partners that rely so heavily on the increased business that SXSW attracts.
We will continue to work hard to bring you the unique events you love. Though it’s true that our March 2020 event will no longer take place in the way that we intended, we continue to strive toward our purpose – helping creative people achieve their goals.