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Reactions: Fans, artists, city leaders respond to SXSW 2020 cancellation

The city declared a local emergency and canceled SXSW to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Austin, and Austinites were quick to react.

AUSTIN, Texas — On Friday, Austin Mayor Steve Adler announced the declaration of a local emergency and the cancellation of South by Southwest 2020 (SXSW).

Austinites went straight to social media to share their opinions on the cancellation, which was made due to growing coronavirus concerns.

That comes as no surprise, as the cancellation of SXSW is affecting many companies and smaller artists who relied on the festival to boost their businesses. In 2019, SXSW made a $355.9 million economic impact on Austin.

Some used Twitter to share condolences, while some made light of the situation:

Local organizations and city leaders reacted to the news as well.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport stated, "AUS is not aware of any service cancellations associated with SXSW or COVID-19." The airport "is providing additional hand sanitizer ... and adding a focus on disinfecting 'high-touch' areas."

Dewitt Peart, president and CEO of the Downtown Austin Alliance issued a statement: "The Downtown Austin Alliance supports the difficult decision that was made after careful deliberation by city and county officials and healthcare experts to cancel SXSW 2020. Downtown Austin will be waiting with open arms for SXSW 2021 when the festival will be back stronger than ever."

The Austin Chamber of Commerce also released a statement:

“We respect the city and county’s decision to issue a state of emergency in response to COVID-19. Our thoughts are with the many small businesses in Austin that depend on major events like SXSW to keep their doors open.”

Meanwhile, local venue Mozart's said, "The show must go on," and that it will remain an unofficial SXSW music venue:

Credit: Mozart's Coffee

Rodeo Austin stated: "Currently, the Rodeo Austin management team is working closely with City and County officials to monitor the COVID-19 situation. Rodeo Austin takes public health and safety extremely seriously and will continue to be guided by City and County officials to determine if modifications to our events are necessary. At this time, Rodeo Austin has been advised by County officials there is no immediate reason to cancel our events."

Actor and filmmaker Mark Duplass voiced his support for SXSW and Austin in a message on Twitter on Friday evening.

"My heart goes out to all those affected by the @sxsw cancellation," he said. "So vital to so many artists, organizations, businesses, etc. Let's order from local Austin businesses. Let's support the SXSW artists. Let's take care of each other."

Duplass followed his statement by asking Austin businesses and artists negatively affected by the cancellation to respond.


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