South by Southwest festival cancelled amids coronavirus fears
One of the most famous music festivals in the United States was cancelled by South By Southwest due to the fear of coronavirus.
Organizers of the annual event in Austin, Texas, said they had no choice but to cancel it for the first time in 34 years.
The move was ordered by Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who announced”local disaster”.
The United States coronavirus killed 14 people, but more than 200 people nationwide have been confirmed to be ill.
All but one of the deaths took place in Washington state.
Although the mayor of Austin has announced a local disaster-a largely administrative measure-none of the six coronavirus cases recorded so far in Texas are in the state capital.
The World Health Organization says nearly 100,000 people worldwide are infected with the coronavirus. More than 3,000 people died-the majority in China.
In a statement on Friday, SXSW said it was”destroyed” by the news, but respected the decision.
Event organizers said:” ‘the show must continue’ in our DNA, this is the first time in 34 years that a march event will not occur.
“We are now going through the consequences of this unprecedented situation.”
Some of the biggest exhibitors of the event-including apple fruit, Amazon, Twitter and Facebook-have already quit.
The 10-day event drew leading figures from the technology, music and media worlds to mingle in the capital of Texas.
Last year SXSW attracted nearly 74,000 people, more than 19,000 from outside the United States.
According to a study commissioned by the event organizers, in 2018, visitors spent$350m (£270m) during the festival.
The organizers of the event have been under pressure to cancel the event.A petition to that effect on change.org received 55,000 signatures.
Several other big tech conferences have been canceled in recent weeks, including Google’s next Cloud Conference, Mobile World Congress and Game Developers Conference.