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Austin's Mayor, Steve Adler made the cancellation official. The two week film and music fest that brings a huge national as well as international crowd was canned due to growing concerns over the spread of the coronavirus. It goes without saying that this is a huge blow to entertainment and fans a like. The festival rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue every year. The major as well as a Travis County Judge declared a local state disaster which gives public health officials the authority to review mas public events and decide whether or not to can them. Needless to say, local residents and businesses where shaken by the decision. Festivals throughout the globe are shutting down as well. Japan's famous Cherry Blossom festival was one of them.
Even though this is a big bummer for many people, there is still a silver lining here, although a small one. After the decision came through, a band of Austin businesses formed a coalition to keep at least some of the festival going. Establishments such as the Far Out Lounge took matters into its own hands and will put on their own unofficial South By Southwest.
A Tweet from Lawrence Boone, Talent Buyer at Far Out Lounge:
“Everybody’s trying to rally and do the best we can to still produce events, during the week that would’ve been SXSW -- fill in the blanks from bands that can’t make it anymore, help bands who had their shows get canceled find a place to play, make some money while they’re here, so they’re not traveling to Austin and not making money.”
Other venues and restaurants have been putting in similar efforts as well.
So was it a good decision to cancel this decades-old tradition in the first place? Or where they jumping the gun here? If not, is it irresponsible for businesses to make efforts to move forward despite the local government's decision? Perhaps it's too early to tell.