South by Southwest (SXSW) canceled due to the spread of COVID-19
SXSW was initially scheduled for March 13-22, 2020 in Austin, Texas. Initially, event organizers were adamant in their decision to keep the huge event going. However, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said in a press conference, they will be following the recommendations to cancel the event.
The annual tech, music, and film gathering is yet another major conference that’s been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. The event would have brought a large crowd and high-profile speakers. Despite the influx of income for the city, the virus is a public health concern. SXSW is a major income-generating event for the city, and it was a big decision Mayor Adler to make. Annually, the event brings in hundreds of millions of dollars from ticket sales and several other revenue streams. Just last year Austin earned $355.9 million from SXSW.
Health authorities recommend cancellation
Mayor Adler stated that the cancellation is unfortunate but it wasn’t a trivial decision for him and the event’s organizers.
Mark Escott from the Austin Public Health said that the size of the event and the person-to-person contact was the driving factor for their decision. It was a way to minimize the spread of the virus and to appease the public panic. Escott added that hand washing and staying at home are some precautions people can do to keep themselves safe.
The decision to cancel the event was the most acceptable option to mitigate the risk and protect the community.
SXSW follows City order on event cancellation
An update on its site stated that SXSW will faithfully follow the City’s direction. This is the first time in 34 years for the event to not take place. Event organizers are still working on how they can push the event through whether it’d be rescheduling it or by providing a virtual experience for its participants akin to Facebook’s F8 Developers Conference. SXSW also assured all its clients, registrants, and participants that they will be reaching out to them and they will be publishing an FAQ anytime soon.
There were 417, 400 attendees last year, where almost 20,00 of them came from outside the US excluding the volunteers. Other canceled events include Facebook’s F8 Developers Conference, Google’s I/O, the Mobile World Congress, and the Geneva International Motor Show.