Musicians React to the Cancellation of SXSW Over Coronavirus Concerns

Musicians who were originally scheduled to perform at South By Southwest (SXSW) voiced their frustration and disappointment after Austin, Texas officials canceled the popular music, film, and tech festival due to the coronavirus outbreak.

On Friday, festival organizers revealed that they were trying to reschedule the event and provide a virtual experience for certain performers.

"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," they said in a statement. "We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation."

The festival organizers also apologized to local businesses that often get more traffic from the festival and announced that they were working towards bringing more events in the future.

"We understand the gravity of the 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," the SXSW organizers said. "We will continue to work hard to bring you the unique events you love."

SXSW did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment.

sxsw
SXSW 2020 banners are seen in the Red River Cultural District on March 6, 2020 in Austin Texas. SUZANNE CORDEIRO / AFP/Getty

Musicians as well as attendees were upset over the festival's cancellation but were understanding due to the circumstances. U.K. indie rockers Mammoth Penguins wrote that they were upset to not make it to Austin for the festival, but felt worse for the staff and service industry workers who were expecting to make more money during the festival.

We're gutted about #sxsw, but thanks to everyone for your support recently x pic.twitter.com/2P7nvL1bGM

— Mammoth Penguins (@MammothPenguins) March 7, 2020

Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang also shared that while he was disappointed to not attend the festival, his concerns were primarily the economic impact that the cancellation would entail.

I’m disappointed not to be going to @sxsw with @karaswisher @benyt - but my disappointment is nothing compared to the economic harm and lost opportunities to everyone who was counting on SXSW for wages, tips, business and publicity. It’s devastating for tens of thousands.

— Andrew Yang🧢🇺🇸 (@AndrewYang) March 7, 2020

Indie music outlet the Alternative shared the poster for a showcase they were co-producing for the festival. They told fans to stay tuned, as some of the artists may still play in Austin despite SXSW's cancellation.

We were announcing our SXSW lineup today but the event (a collab with @NOEARBUDS + @nomoredysphoria) is now cancelled.

Some of the bands may still perform in Austin so we'll keep you updated, but for now marvel at this amazing lineup and sick poster by @foxydads. We'll be back. pic.twitter.com/nSgwTMTE1t

— The Alternative (@GetAlternative) March 7, 2020

Indie pop group Hazy Sour Cherry also announced that they would be trying to make up for the festival's cancellation.

Due to the influence of the coronavirus, it has been announced that SXSW will not be held.We will do our best to make a surprise in a different way for all the people who were supported us, and for those who knew about us through SXSW.
🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/mhiCyOSUTe

— 𝙷𝙰𝚉𝚈 𝚂𝙾𝚄𝚁 𝙲𝙷𝙴𝚁𝚁𝚈 (@hazysourcherry) March 7, 2020

Brooklyn punk outfit Worriers took a lighthearted approach to the cancellation, with lead singer and only consistent member Lauren Denitzio writing that no one wanted breakfast tacos more than they did.

I’m sorry to have to pile on here but we are also no longer playing SXSW or Austin on this tour. I’m very sorry we won’t make it there this time. No one wants breakfast tacos more than me. Stay safe and healthy everyone! https://t.co/W492vcFcJv

— WORRIERS // Lauren D (@worriersmusic) March 7, 2020

Singer-songwriter Bartees Strange also announced that if unofficial shows are still happening, it would still feel like the festival was happening and be great.

Or wait, is SXSW now gonna be sick (PUN CITY) bc all the unofficial shows pretty much just become SXSW? Somebody give me instructions.

— Strange (@Bartees_Strange) March 6, 2020

Some Twitter users suggested buying records and merchandise from bands who took a financial hit with the festival's cancellation. Others encouraged patrons to still support local establishments to make up for the lost business.

time to go to @Bandcamp dot com and buy / pre-order some records and/or merch from those bands you were stoked to check out in Austin!

— Rachel R / lemony snickers (@whoisrachie) March 7, 2020

Please get out and support your local venues. Go to shows and concerts. Drink at bars. Eat at restaurants. Tourists aren't coming. We have to take care of our communities to minimize the economic pain of Coronavirus.

— I'm Gary #CABBAGES (@noyokono) March 6, 2020