Recently, South By Southwest (SXSW) festival announced this year’s event was officially canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. Certainly, not many artists and business executives are too happy about the news. Members of the music industry are losing many critical opportunities, leading to a lack of financial investments.

SXSW was scheduled to start this weekend from March 13th – 22nd until a press conference was held with Austin Mayor Steve Adler. He stated that if it continued to move forward, it would cause a local disaster. Many popular platforms such as Facebook and Twitter were also dropping out of the conference already due to coronavirus concerns; certainly, the festival’s cancellation was inevitable. Unfortunately, This is the first time in 34 years that the conference will not take place.


Photo credited to Jay Janner/Associated Press.

SXSW is known to be a great platform for emerging artists looking for fan and industry exposure. Not only this, but it also provided them with great networking opportunities with many popular members of the music business. According to Billboard, many of the artists, managers, and publicists they have spoken to say that many of their tours, album releases, and marketing campaigns were designed around the conference. Many of them, unfortunately, don’t have any other events lined up since it was expected that SXSW would be happening.

Currently, artists and their teams are struggling to reroute tours and seek refunds on travel and hotels. In addition, the SXSW cancellation also means that they will not be getting paid. Many artists were counting on the festival to receive some income from the event. Now they are at risk for not getting paid at all if they are unable to find other events to participate in.

SXSW Cancellation May Cause a Business Disaster

Certainly, the festival’s cancellation isn’t just bad news for artists. According to Music Business Worldwide, SXSW may be facing a potential business disaster. Co-founder, Nick Barbaro, confirmed that the huge festival conference does not have cover for cancellation insurance due to the coronavirus outbreak. Co-founder and Managing Director, Ronald Swenson, shared that the event has lots of insurance; however, they do not have coverage for infections, diseases, viruses, and pandemics.

SXSW organizers are currently exploring options for a possible postponement for the event. According to a statement provided by the conference: “We are 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.” They continue, “We understand the gravity of [this] 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.”

Stay tuned for more SXSW updates.