Dozens Of Aussie Artists Impacted As SXSW Gets Officially Cancelled Due To Coronavirus

Dozens of Australian artists have been left high and dry after the unprecedented cancelling of South By Southwest 2020 due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Alex the Astronaut, Ali Barter, Approachable Members Of Your Local Community, Baker Boy, Mo’ju and Bakers Eddy were among a slew of locals who’ve had their US tour plans unexpectedly scrambled due to the shock announcement, just one week out from the festival.

The Austin event — which features music, film, and comedy events — was due to kick off on March 13 and run until March 22, but was officially called off yesterday by the City of Austin, who declared Coronavirus a “local disaster”.

Conference organisers then agreed to “faithfully follow the city’s directions”.

“We are devastated to share this news with you,” they wrote in a statement on their website.

“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.”

The decision to axe the event completely follows a series of high profile companies pulling out of it, including Netflix, Facebook, Tik Tok, Twitter and Amazon.

Ozzy Osbourne, Trent Reznor, and Beastie Boys also cancelled their scheduled appearances at the event in the days prior to its cancellation.

Sounds Australia has also released its own statement following the devastating news. It reads:

Sounds Australia are a mix of emotions upon learning of the City of Austin’s decision to cancel SXSW this morning.

We respect that a decision was ultimately made that prioritises the health and safety of its citizens, the international guests travelling to Austin and, most importantly, mitigates the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

We are truly disappointed for SXSW and their incredible team who have been working around the clock to keep the iconic show on track. This is especially because they know the impact such a cancellation will have on hundreds of small Austin businesses including venues, production companies, vendors, service and hospitality staff and many more, along with the effect on the global music industry.

We are most heartbroken and feel for the 43 Australian artists who were due to showcase at this year’s SXSW festival. It is a huge achievement to have been selected from the 7,000 plus artists that apply each year. To have lost this opportunity after spending several months and thousands of dollars preparing and planning is devastating.

We particularly want to acknowledge those individuals at the helm, responsible for managing each of the acts and the truly impressive way in which they have and continue to navigate this unprecedented cancellation and subsequent turn of events. To see the countless hours of work, setting up opportunities, meetings, showcases, travel logistics and more only to be reversed will have an enormous impact which cannot be underestimated.

We are extremely grateful for the comradery and counsel that has shone between our Australia House @ SXSW partners, whom we have been decision making and dealing with throughout the last week of extreme uncertainty, including the fantastic team at G’Day USA, led by Australian Consul-General Los Angeles Chelsey Martin, and Global Manager Nicole Foster spearheading SXSW activity for Tourism Australia. We also value the cooperation and patience shown from our Official SXSW showcase presenting partners Laneway, Secret Sounds (Splendour in the Grass & Falls Festival) and Made In Melbourne (Visit Victoria, ACMI and Spirit Level).

Sounds Australia is a partnership of Government and industry and more than ever before this has been demonstrated through the care and concern shown for the wellbeing of each of the Sounds Australia team members from APRA AMCOS, ARIA, the PPCA, The Australia Council for the Arts and Office for the Arts (Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications).

To the international music industry who had confirmed to join our events in Austin at SXSW, thank you and know that we still have many Australian artists heading to the USA to complete larger touring schedules and we will be sure to communicate with you all those details so you can still experience incredible live Australian music, closer to home.

For those Australian music industry delegates who have registered to attend SXSW in 2020 you can opt to defer registration to 2021, 2022, or 2023. You don’t need to take immediate action as it will remain in the SXSW system for future opportunities. If you have any questions, please email [email protected] If you have booked a hotel through SXSW Housing & Travel, your reservation will not be automatically cancelled. To change or cancel your reservation please follow the instructions in your SXSW Hotel Reservation Confirmation email.

We really are still grappling with the SXSW cancellation news, what it will mean and the precedent it may set for other international showcase events, tours and festivals in the coming months and the wider commercial impact. However, we know that the Australian Music Industry is resilient, resourceful and creative and we couldn’t be prouder to be representing Australian Music on the world stage at this time.

Big love to all of the Aussie artists and their teams who’ve who’ve been impacted. See below for the full list.

SXSW – Australian Acts

Alex the Astronaut (Sydney AUSTRALIA)

Ali Barter (Melbourne AUSTRALIA)

Approachable Members Of Your Local Community (Melbourne AUSTRALIA)

Baker Boy (Melbourne AUSTRALIA)

Bakers Eddy (Melbourne AUSTRALIA)

Carla Geneve (Perth AUSTRALIA)

Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird (Melbourne AUSTRALIA)

Flyying Colours (Melbourne AUSTRALIA)

Gena Rose Bruce (Melbourne AUSTRALIA)

Good Morning (Melbourne AUSTRALIA)

Hachiku (Melbourne AUSTRALIA)


Mo’ju (Melbourne AUSTRALIA)

Ruby Boots (Perth AUSTRALIA)


San Mei (Gold Coast AUSTRALIA)

Shady Nasty (Sydney AUSTRALIA)

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