THE popular South by Southwest festival held annually in Texas was cancelled today amid coronavirus fears.
More than 50,000 people had signed a petition seeking to get the Austin festival cancelled.
The announcement comes days after high-profile companies such as Netflix and Mashable and the social media platform TikTok pulled out of the arts and technology extravaganza, often referred to as SXSW.
Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt, the top elected official in the county, said no one in the Austin area has been found to have the coronavirus, which has killed 14 people in the US.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler announced the decision to cancel the festival, saying it was done as a precaution.
"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," organizers said in a statement.
"We are working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation."
The festival had been scheduled to take place from March 13th to the 22nd.
Organizers emphasized that local health officials had recently said that “there's no evidence that closing SXSW or any other gatherings will make the community safer.”
“However, this situation evolved rapidly, and we honor and respect the City of Austin's decision,” the organizers said.
Actor Kumail Nanjiani had been scheduled to attend the festival to promote the movie "The Lovebirds."
“Sxsw is one of my favorite festivals," he tweeted. "Canceling it was the responsible thing to go. I know this sucks for many people for whom this was a massive opportunity. But we’re kind of in an unprecedented situation here and caution is key. Thank you for the making the right decision.”
More to follow…
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