Both bands and fans are reacting to the coronavirus. Motivated by increasing fears of a pandemic, fans are asking the South By Southwest festival to cancel this year’s event. A petition created on Change.org to influence the organization has collected over 22,000 signatures thus far.
Controversy about the event was ramped up by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey pulling out of this year’s keynote speech. Currently, Twitter has banned all travel for its employees.
In a statement on their website, SXSW says it is “working closely on a daily basis with local, state and federal agencies to plan for a safe event. As a result of this dialogue and the recommendations of Austin Public Health, the 2020 event is proceeding with safety as a top priority. We hope that people follow the science, implement the recommendations of public health agencies, and continue to participate in the activities that make our world connected.”
The potential threat of the coronavirus has caused bands to respond proactively. Green Day have postponed eight Asian dates on their current world tour. In addition, Set it Off canceled their Eastern tour appearances with Jimmy Eat World. K-pop sensations BTS and pop artist Avril Lavigne have also postponed appearances where the outbreaks are sizable.
The fear of a global coronavirus pandemic has made executive organizers of other events reexamine their decisions. The Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona, Spain, decided to cancel its international event when 10 major corporations said they would not be attending due to the virus. Facebook canceled their annual F8 developers meeting. Recently, the Swiss government put a moratorium on events larger than 1,000 people. That edict canceled the Geneva International Motor Show, one of the country’s largest international events.