SXSW has officially been cancelled amid fears of the spread of coronavirus.
The entertainment, music, and technology festival was scheduled to run in Austin, Texas from 13th to the 22nd March. City of Austin officials made the decision to cancel the festival after 17 confirmed cases in Texas to date.
It's the first time in the festival's 34 year history that it will not go ahead.
The festival organisers released a statement on Twitter sharing their disappointment, but confirming that they will "honour and respect" the decision of Austin's city officials.
— SXSW (@sxsw) March 6, 2020
The festival organisers confirmed in their full statement that they would be exploring options to reschedule for a later date.
Prior to the announcement that the festival would not be going ahead, a number of Hollywood studios had already made the decision to cancel planned panels and events in light of fears of the spread of coronavirus.
A number of high profile actors and filmmakers took to Twitter to share their dismay at the news.
I love SXSW, it's been so good to me over the years. With its cancellation, spare a thought for the many indie film-makers, bands, artists and fans who were excited to go & to the people and businesses of Austin who were relying on that trade. Show your support however you can.
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) March 7, 2020
Sad to hear that SXSW has been cancelled. Its the right call, but I feel for everyone who worked for years to get their films there. And for all the people of Austin who depend on the fest to help pay bills.
— Colin Hanks (@ColinHanks) March 7, 2020
Sxsw is one of my favorite festivals. 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.
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) March 6, 2020
While there's no doubt that the right decision was made, it's certainly a tough break for a number of independent filmmakers who were set to premiere their work. Among them is Irish director Kieron J. Walsh, whose Screen Ireland backed film, The Racer, was scheduled to have its World Premiere at the festival. The film's story is set during the Irish opening of the 1998 Tour de France.
SXSW is not the only high profile casualty of coronavirus in the world of entertainment. Earlier this week it was announced that the release of the next James Bond film, No Time to Die, has been postponed until November.