Jul 15, 2020 - Health

Austin mayor: Having to cancel SXSW festival was "horrible"

Austin, Texas, Mayor Steve Adler

Photo: Axios screenshot

Canceling the South by Southwest festival was "horrible," but necessary, as the coronavirus began to spread through the United States, Austin, Texas, Mayor Steve Adler said at an Axios event on Wednesday.

The big picture: The popular film, music and technology event attracts more than 400,000 attendees annually to the city's downtown. It was scheduled to take place March 13–22 before it was moved to an online format. The cancellation cost Austin $350 million in revenue, Adler said.

  • "It became real apparent as it was spreading across the world toward us that when this hit, it hit faster than anyone could anticipate," Adler said.
  • "We want at South By so many people coming from so many different places because of the environment that it creates and the pot that you can stir with ideas and innovations. But it was that very collection of people from all over the world that made it so susceptible to virus transfer."
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