South by Southwest, the tech, music, and film festival that takes place every year in Texas, is officially canceled due to the spread of coronavirus.
The Austin-based festival was officially called off on March 6, just a week before it was set to begin. The cancellation came after more than 50,000 people signed a petition to cancel the event and some of the show's biggest attendees (including Facebook, Twitter, and Apple) pulled out. The festival was canceled by the City of Austin, not SXSW organizers.
SXSW 2020 had an impressive list of events, performances, exhibitions and film screenings scheduled this year. The King of Staten Island, Judd Apatow's first film in five years starring SNL's Pete Davidson, was set to premiere at the festival alongside Zappa, a Frank Zappa documentary, and a biographical drama directed by John Leguizamo called Critical Thinking.
On the game industry front, a slew of sessions centered around gaming were scheduled to take part at SXSW, including a talk about evolution at Riot Games, a discussion about Dreams, a session on the status of music in gaming with a Beat Saber developer, and tons more. People from Arkane Studios, Remedy Entertainment, and EA/Bioware were scheduled to take part in the events.
The yearly festival is not only a chance for the tech, film, music, and gaming industries to show off their newest creations. The city of Austin and its local businesses enjoy a massive economic boost from the influx of tourists, the lack of which will seriously hurt the area. Music venues, bars, restaurants, rideshare drivers, and food trucks will suffer the most this upcoming weekend.
SXSW isn't the only major event canceled due to mounting coronavirus fears: San Francisco's GDC was canceled on February 28, this year's Mortal Kombat 11 Final Kombat competition disallowed a live audience, and while E3 2020 is still set to kick off on June 9, the city of Los Angeles is currently in a state of emergency. We'll keep you posted on any related cancellations due to coronavirus concerns, so stay tuned.
In case the show goes on, here's the E3 2020 lineup.