The Austin, Texas-based SXSW has canceled their upcoming convention due to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak. South By Southwest has been a massive technology, music and film convention for the past 34 years. The convention draws in the crowds and top companies like Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare, as well as key politicians, filmmakers, and hit music acts like Garth Brooks, The Roots, and Salt-N-Pepa. SXSW 2020 speakers and guests included Chris Evans, Kumail Nanjiani, and many others from across all aspects of tech, music and film.
Concern over the spread of the coronavirus has increased over the weeks leading up to this year’s SXSW, with many companies and guests dropping out. The virus originated in Wuhan City, China and has now spread into the U.S. striking major cities within California, Washington, and New York.
Hollywood feeling the impact of the coronavirus
Film studios have already pushed back releases for films including “No Time To Die,” and other events have been canceled including the Emerald City Comic Con and the Game Developers Conference. With a high number of people pulling out of SXSW, it was only a matter of time before the event was called off.
SXSW released an official statement saying they plan to follow the city’s orders, while calling the news devastating and are now working through the repercussions of this surprise situation. SXSW officials say they are looking into options to reschedule. The sudden cancelation places a financial headache on Austin, which made more than $310 million off last year’s SXSW convention.
Facebook and Twitter pull out of SXSW 2020
A few days prior, companies including Netflix, CNN, Facebook, Tiktok, Amazon and Twitter pulled out. SXSW also lost several musical guests including Ozzy Osbourne. The coronavirus doesn’t just affect SXSW and Hollywood, it has reached into the theme park world. Disney World has announced they are adding additional hand sanitizers around the park after they closed all of their Asia-based theme parks.
Both the comic book industry and the toy industry are expected to take a serious blow. Comic book companies are skipping convention appearances, and toy industry factories are closing in Asia.
While we still don’t know the exact total of infected people, the city of Austin and the folks of SXSW are making the move by canceling the popular event. The CDC has reported that the virus spreads from person-to-person contact. With 19 states already confirming a total of 164 cases, Austin is right to avoid any unnecessary risks. SXSW has not given any hint or mention of when they would reschedule it, but with so much unknown about the full impact of the coronavirus on the country, everyone should be focused on limiting their risk of exposure and staying safe.