Shortly after the Beastie Boys, Ozzy Osbourne and Trent Reznor announced they’d pulled out of the annual South By Southwest music festival, the Austin-based event has been canceled. According to a statement on the official SXSW website, the coronavirus is to blame.
“We are devastated to share this news with you,” the statement reads. “‘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 (March 4), 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.”
The festival organizers vowed to do their best to somehow make it right.
“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,” the statement continued. “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.”
Over the past few days, Facebook, Intel, Twitter and TikTok all pulled out of the conference as large corporations limited travel for employees amid the virus outbreak.
The conference said it had 73,716 attendees in 2019, 19,166 of whom were from outside the United States.