As a string of major events continues to be canceled all around the world due to the coronavirus, Austin has just made the difficult decision to cancel South by Southwest (SXSW), one of its largest tourism and economic draws. Government officials made the announcement on Friday that they would be canceling the annual tech, film, and music conference after Mayor Steve Adler declared a local disaster in the city. There are, as of right now, zero confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Austin.
SXSW organizers wrote on the official event website, “We are devastated to share this news with you. ‘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.”
The conference was scheduled to take place on March 13-22 and was ultimately canceled due to mounting pressure on organizers. Facebook, Intel, Twitter, and TikTok had already pulled out of the conference, and a Change.org petition called holding the event “irresponsible,” gathering over 40,000 signatures.
Last year, the conference drew 73,700 people from all over the world, 19,000 of whom came from outside the US. Although there aren’t yet any confirmed cases in Austin, as confirmed global cases exceed 100,000, officials are taking extra precautions to prevent the virus from spreading to their city.