Though festival organizers insisted all week that the festival will go on despite an online petition, SCSW 2020, the year’s biggest music festival has been cancelled, CNN reports. More details to come.
The cancellation comes days after other festivals such as Ultra Music Festival in Miami and Knotfest Japan postponed their planned events. High-profile artists such as Ozzy Osbourne had already dropped out of their planned speaking arrangements, with more artists including Nine Inch Nails and the Beastie Boys announcing they weren’t taking part in the festival.
“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,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler. None of the announced performers which included Phantogram, Black Lips, Savages singer Jehnny Beth, Margo Price, Soccer Mommy, Nicole Atkins, Wire, and many more – had dropped out. However, some of the companies involved, most notably Twitter and TikTok, had dropped off of the festival.
According to the festival website, the cancellation comes at the direction of the City of Austin. It marks the first time in 34 years that the festival will not take place and organizers describe the cancellation order as devestating.
Just a week ago it looked like the festival would continue on despite fears of the concetration of music fans descending upon a relatively small area of the city for over a week. Last week the Austin Public Health department stated “there’s no evidence that closing SXSW or any other gatherings will make the community safer” but circumstances have changed rapidly as the virus spreads throughout the United States.
— SXSW (@sxsw) March 6, 2020
The festival is considering the possibility of rescheduling the event. They’re also investigating a way to provide an online SXSW experience sometime this year for those that were going to take part in the 2020 festival. They’ll be starting with SXSW EDU. The festival concludes its statement by saying:
“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.