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Austin cancels SXSW amid coronavirus outbreak concerns

AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 16:  Lucki performs onstage at Rolling Loud during the 2019 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Austin Convention Center on March 16, 2019 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Danny Matson/Getty Images for SXSW)
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 16: Lucki performs onstage at Rolling Loud during the 2019 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Austin Convention Center on March 16, 2019 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Danny Matson/Getty Images for SXSW) (2019 Danny Matson)

HOUSTON – The city of Austin has canceled the March dates of SXSW and SXSW EDU festival after several major tech companies previously backed out.

“We are devastated to share this news with you. ‘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,” festival organizers wrote in a press release. “We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation.”

SXSW organizers said Austin health officials said on Wednesday that there was no evidence of a risk to the community.

“However, this situation evolved rapidly, and we honor and respect the City of Austin’s decision,” festival organizers wrote. “We are committed to do our part to help protect our staff, attendees, and fellow Austinites.”

At present, festival organizers are contemplating options to reschedule the event that brings nearly 1 million people to Austin each year.