Interactive media festival South by Southwest (SXSW) has been cancelled for the first time in 34 years, due to the growing COVID-19 cases worldwide. Scheduled to be held in Austin, Texas, a statement on the site said: "The City of Austin has cancelled the March dates for SXSW and SXSW EDU. SXSW will faithfully follow the City’s directions". It added that it will now be working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation. The organisers added that they are now exploring options to reschedule the event and are working to provide a virtual SXSW online experience as soon as possible for 2020 participants, starting with SXSW EDU.
“We understand the gravity of the situation for all the creatives who utilise 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,” the organisers said.
SXSW is among the other major events that have had to cancel. Adobe recently cancelled its annual Summit/Imagine 2020, after monitoring and evaluating the situation around COVID-19. According to Adobe, the live event in Las Vegas will be cancelled, however the company will be hosting its Summit as an online experience.
Last month, the Mobile World Congress (MWC) also cancelled its event in Barcelona after an exodus of firms due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The organisers, GSM Association (GSMA) said in a statement that the event was axed because the global concern regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, "make it impossible" for the GSMA to hold the event.
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