The SXSW festival was canceled late Friday afternoon at the host city of Austin’s request. It became the most recent in a series of events, including health- tech mainstay HIMSS, to be shut down amid the burgeoning coronavirus public health crisis.
Many SXSW health events, including the Energizing Health track, had either been downsized or canceled prior to the event’s official shutdown. Companies like Amazon, Facebook and Twitter announced earlier in the week that they would not attend SXSW due to coronavirus-related concerns.
Leaders of the Austin health community were stunned by the cancellation, the first in SXSW’s 34-year history. “Disbelief would be an understatement,” said HCB president Nancy Beesley. “The enormous amount of revenue that comes to Austin has just evaporated in an instant. I think there is so much international attendance that the city of Austin felt they had a responsibility. But I’m still in shock.”
MM&M will update this story as events warrant.