SXSW Has Been Cancelled For The First Time In 34 Years Due To Coronavirus Fears

Is Coachella next?

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SXSW, the Austin-based festival of music, film and culture, has been cancelled for the first time in 34 years amidst coronavirus fears.

It’s one of a number of festivals cancelled to the illness. Ultra Festival in the States was also forced to shutter for this year, and there are already rumours that Coachella might suffer the same fate.

In a press release issued by SXSW, organisers claim that the decision to cancel the festival was made by the City of Austin.

“We are devastated to share this news with you,” organisers write. “‘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 decision to cancel the event has huge ramifications for the music industry, as the statement itself acknowledges.

“We understand the gravity of the situation for all the creatives who utilize SXSW to accelerate their careers; for the global businesses; and for Austin and the hundreds of small businesses – venues, theatres, vendors, production companies, service industry staff, and other partners that rely so heavily on the increased business that SXSW attracts.”

This decision particularly impacts those bands that have already paid many thousands of dollars for transport, accomodation, and time off work. Bands who attend SXSW pay for everything themselves, meaning that most are already out of pocket before they’ve even left their home country — this is big news for those who already struggle to afford to make music.

Coronavirus has had a massive impact on the world of music and culture. The new Bond film was delayed seven months over the illness, an unprecedented move.

Of course, all of this casts some serious doubt over the workings of the American election this year — if local governments are worried about mass gatherings of people, what will happen to political rallies?