icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

SXSW submits to coronavirus fears: Austin cancels biggest tech, film & music festival for first time EVER

SXSW submits to coronavirus fears: Austin cancels biggest tech, film & music festival for first time EVER
The 2020 South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas has been canceled due to concerns over Covid-19. Meanwhile, a major convention in Washington state, where the most US deaths have occurred, has merely been postponed.

Austin city officials ordered the festival canceled, SXSW said in a statement on Friday, adding that they were now “working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation.”

As late as Wednesday, city authorities were saying there was no evidence that canceling the festival would help make the public safer, but the situation “evolved rapidly,” SXSW said, without elaborating. Officially, there have been no cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Austin or Travis County.

The music, film and interactive technology conference was scheduled to run from March 13-22. This is the first time in its 34-year existence that it was canceled. It is the largest annual economic event for Austin, the largest US tech hub outside of Silicon Valley.

Fears of Covid-19 have already prompted a number of big tech companies to bow out of SXSW, including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Netflix and Twitter, whose CEO Jack Dorsey was supposed to give a keynote speech before changing his mind.

Also on rt.com Big Tech companies cancel conventions over coronavirus fears, but small businesses hurt the most

Covid-19, which appeared in Wuhan, China in December last year, seemed to be contained in the US until an undiscovered cluster in the suburbs of Seattle, Washington resulted in 10 deaths over the past two weeks. Another fatality was recently reported in California, apparently after exposure on a cruise ship traveling between San Francisco and Mexico in February. New cases were also registered on the east coast.  

Mounting fears of the coronavirus have put pressure on cities to cancel events such as conventions, even with massive losses to the local economy. Hours before the SXSW announcement, the Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle announced it was rescheduling for the summer, amid concerns that some 100,000 convention-goers traveling to the recent hub of Covid-19 cases would spread the contagion to the rest of the US.

Also on rt.com 'People spend money and stay home now, I LIKE that': Trump finds coronavirus silver lining as he signs $8.3bn aid bill

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Podcasts