The annual music, film, and tech festival - which was due to take place from March 13-22 - was axed on Friday (06.03.20) over concerns about the coronavirus and SXSW co-founder Nick Barbaro has confirmed their policy weren't covered for cancellations relating to a disease outbreak or the city of Austin, Texas, declaring a local state of disaster.
Fellow co-founder Roland Swenson added to the Austin Chronicle newspaper: We have a lot of insurance (terrorism, injury, property destruction, weather). However, bacterial infections, communicable diseases, viruses and pandemics are not covered."
Insurers routinely exclude disease outbreaks from cancellation policies offered to promoters and artists, but it is typically available as an extra. However, since the outbreak of the disease around the world, many insurers have stopped offering the buy-back option.
Austin mayor Steve Adler and Travis County judge Sarah Eckhardt announced the cancellation of the event in a press conference on Friday.
The mayor said: "It's really unfortunate to be canceling South by Southwest. It's tied to who we are in this city, and I look forward to the next iteration of South by Southwest when it comes."
Organisers have promised to do their best to reschedule the event or provide content in a different form.
They said in a statement published to Twitter: "We are exploring options to reschedule the event and are working to provide a virtual SXSW online experience as soon as possible for 2020 participants, starting with SXSW EDU.
"For our registrants, clients, and participants we will be in touch as soon as possible and will publish an FAQ.
"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."
Shortly before the cancellation was announced, Ozzy Osbourne revealed he was no longer planning to attend the festival, which was staging the world premiere screening of 'Biography: The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne'.
A representative explained: "Following recent cancellations by major corporations, artists, record companies and studios because of the ongoing threat of the coronavirus, Ozzy Osbourne has likewise decided to cancel his upcoming appearance at SXSW."
Prior to Ozzy's announcement, the likes of Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, Neflix and Apple all withdrew from the event.