SXSW, the annual tech, music, and film festival held in Austin Texas, is the latest major conference to be canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. It is the first time in the SXSW’s 34-year history that it’s been canceled. The meetup was scheduled to take place from March 13th to March 22nd, yet Austin Mayor Steve Adler today announced that an increasing number of high-profile speaker and company withdrawals and growing public health concerns, the festival will no longer be taking place.
The company that organizes SXSW made a clear statement on Twitter and its website that this decision was taken by Austin city officials and out of its hands. But there are chances that the festival might take place in some form or another later this year. “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,” reads the full cancellation note on the SXSW website.
For the last few weeks, there were growing concerns about whether it is a smart decision for Austin leaders and the festival organizers to host SXSW 2020, which brings nearly half a million people to a concentrated part of the city’s downtown. The situation became even more complicated as US coronavirus cases began spiking in the Washington state, where there have so far been at least 11 reported deaths, and rapidly spreading to other parts of the country, including California and New York.
SXSW is just the latest major industry conference to get canceled due to concerns of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Earlier The Game Developers Conference, Mobile World Congress, Facebook’s F8 developer conference, Google’s Cloud Next conference and I/O developer conference, and countless other events have been postponed or canceled.