AUSTIN, Tex. (KXAN) – The cancellation of the 2020 South by Southwest Music and Film Festival could prove devastating for Austin’s entertainment and hospitality industry.
On Friday, Austin City officials canceled one of the area’s largest festivals over concerns of the coronavirus.
Evan Charles is a singer-songwriter, guitar player and frontman for the band Altamesa. As a native Austinite, he’d long dreamed of playing at South by Southwest.
Now, that opportunity will have to wait.
“I’ve always hoped it would come through, and it was going to this year. So we were official this year, and who knows what will happen now,” said Charles.
The festival brings the music industry to Austin, an opportunity for Charles and other independent musicians to get their names out there.
“South by is where you can maybe encounter somebody with the ways and means to do things, so it’s disappointing to be cut short of that,” said the musician.
South by Southwest creates an economic impact of more than $350 million for Austin. Economist Angelos Angelou tells KXAN, when the impact is all in a matter of a couple weeks, the cancellation is devastating for the entertainment and hospitality industry.
Many businesses make as much money during SXSW as they do in an entire quarter.
“So many businesses expecting this event and preparing year-round for this event, so they stocked on food and drinks and material and everything else,” said Angelos Angelou.