It’s very early to start making doom-laden predictions about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak laying waste to 2020’s festivals season. But certainly those that are earlier in the calendar are facing tough questions about whether to go ahead or not.
Newspaper the Miami Herald reported yesterday that the Ultra Music Festival, due to be held later this month, will now be postponed – possibly for a year (i.e. cancelled). An official announcement is expected to be made on Friday. It would make Ultra Music the highest-profile festival so far to be nixed by the ongoing outbreak, and public-health measures focusing on large-scale events.
SXSW is the other event currently under scrutiny: yesterday Apple pulled out of the Austin festival and conference, while Netflix also cancelled its planned screenings and panels at the event. For now, SXSW’s organisers are maintaining that it will go ahead.
Yesterday also saw Midem organiser Reed Midem cancel its MIPTV television industry conference, set to kick off in Cannes later this month, while its parent company Reed Exhibitions also called off the London Book Fair conference just days before it opened.