In a statement, festival organizers said they were "devastated" by the cancellation of the festival, which was scheduled for March 13-21, but would try to reschedule the event. Organizers said they were working to offer a "virtual SXSW online experience" for participants, beginning with SXSW EDU, an education innovation conference held in conjunction with the festival.
"'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. We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation," organizers said.
As late as Wednesday morning, Austin public health officials said there was no need to cancel the festival or other large events.
"Right now, there is no evidence that closing SXSW or other activities is going to make this community safer," said Mark Escott, interim director of Austin Public Health. "We are constantly monitoring that situation."