In the months since its discovery, fear of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has managed to wreak havoc on all of our favorite conferences. This year’s Mobile World Congress was canceled after weeks of vendors dropping out one-by-one; this month’s Game Developers Conference has been postponed until later in the summer over similar concerns. Both Facebook’s F8 conference and Google’s I/O 2020 have been canceled over similar concerns.
Up next in the coronavirus's crosshairs: South by South West (SXSW), which is set to be held in Austin, Texas from March 13 to 22. Amazon Studios, one of the biggest names set to attend, just pulled all of its SXSW activities, leaving everyone wondering whether or not SXSW will follow the path set by the year’s other major events. The list of companies canceling on SXSW is growing fast.
On March 4, Austin Public Health declared its belief that canceling SXSW would not make the community any safer. The department mentioned that it believes people will travel to Austin whether or not the event is canceled.
Plenty of other big names have canceled their presence at SXSW:
- WarnerMedia (including HBO and CNN), as of March 5. The company issued a statement on its CNN press account stating, "As a precaution, WarnerMedia has decided it best not to move forward with activations at SXSW. We look forward to seeing everyone in Austin next year."
- Apple, as of March 4: According to Variety, Apple was set to release three new films at SXSW, but the company has now reversed course and will no longer be sending teams to Austin.
- The CW, as of March 4: No official announcement, but at least one panel has been canceled. The network’s parent company, WarnerMedia, has suspended non-essential travel for employees.
- TikTok, as of March 3: “We are erring on the side of caution as we prioritize safety for our team, creators, partners, artists, and brands.”
- Facebook, as of March 3: “Due to concerns related to coronavirus, our company and employees will not be participating in SXSW this year.”
- Vevo, as of March 3: “Vevo has decided to cancel its annual SXSW event this year. We'd like to thank our partners for their support and understanding. We hope to see you next year."
- Mashable, as of March 3: “The health and safety of our teams, partners and guests is, as always, our number one priority."
- Intel, as of March 3: “After careful consideration, we have withdrawn from on-site activities at this year’s SXSW. We are grateful to SXSW for their understanding and look forward to attending and supporting future events.”
- Twitter, as of March 1: “On February 29, we informed our people and started notifying partners that we are suspending all non-critical business travel and events.”
We’ll continue to update this list as other SXSW cancellations are announced. Or, you know, if SXSW decides to cancel the event entirely.