After holding out for quite a while, South by Southwest (or SXSW 2020) has finally been canceled due to the rapidly spreading Coronavirus in the United States. The decision was taken by the City of Austin, with the Mayor, Steve Adler saying “I’ve issued an order that effectively cancels South by Southwest.”
The annual event focuses on tech, music, and film and was going to play host to big industry names including Netflix, Apple, Facebook, TikTok, and more before all of these companies pulled out from attending the event citing the COVID-19 breakout.
Up until Wednesday, city officials were quoted as saying that the event will go on because “there’s no evidence that closing SXSW or any other gatherings will make the community safer.” However, that changed last night when the city finally decided that the March dates for the event should be canceled.
The organisers are now looking at possible alternatives including rescheduling the event. Meanwhile, they have also announced that they are working to provide a virtual experience for 2020 participants as soon as possible.
Notably, the organisers have not yet announced whether or not tickets will be refunded, with the SXSW website simply saying “For our registrants, clients, and participants we will be in touch as soon as possible and will publish an FAQ.” As far as we can tell as of this writing, the FAQ in question hasn’t been published on the website. We’ve reached out to the event organisers for clarification on whether or not tickets will be refunded, and we’ll update this post if and when they respond.