Austin City cancels South by Southwest music and film festival 2020 amid concerns over coronavirus outbreak

South by Southwest began 33 years ago as a music festival but evolved to also highlight technology, video games, TV shows and movies.

FP Staff March 08, 2020 11:12:08 IST
Austin City cancels South by Southwest music and film festival 2020 amid concerns over coronavirus outbreak

The South by Southwest music, technology and film festival in Austin, Texas, was canceled on Friday, adding to a growing list of events being suspended around the world over concerns about the spreading coronavirus outbreak.

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Known as SXSW, the annual showcase of pop culture had been scheduled to run March 13 to 22. Organizers and local officials said at a news conference that they had concluded it was unwise to draw crowds of people together in close proximity with the number of coronavirus cases rising around the world.

Read the official statement here

The novel coronavirus has spread across more than 90 countries. No cases have been confirmed in Austin.

“It is not a panic decision,” Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said of the cancellation.

"I've gone ahead and declared a local disaster in the city, and, associated with that, have issued an order that effectively cancels South by Southwest this year," Austin Mayor Steve Adler told reporters Friday afternoon.

SXSW began 33 years ago as a music festival but evolved to also highlight technology, video games, TV shows and movies. It has become a major promotional event for media and tech companies and last year attracted more than 417,000 people, organizers said.

Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Netflix Inc (NFLX.O), Facebook Inc (FB.O) and others had pulled out of the festival in recent days, ramping up the pressure to scrap it entirely.

(Also read on Firstpost - No Time to Die release postponed: a look at how COVID-19 outbreak has affected the entertainment industry)

(With inputs from Reuters) 

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