The festival was expected to deliver several hundred million dollars to the local economy. Alongside Texas State Senator Kirk Watson and Judge Sarah Eckhardt, Adler appeared in a video message to make the plea.
In the video, Mayor Adler suggested that those “hurting” because of SXSW’s cancellation help the situation by “going to restaurants, going to clubs, buying musicians’ merchandise, [and] helping one another.”
The appeal comes after it was revealed that fans who bought SXSW tickets will not be getting a refund. The 2020 edition was officially cancelled by the city of Austin last Friday (March 6).
Fans who were left disappointed by the cancellation were quick to criticise the new statement. “You [Mayor Adler] crushed a lot of businesses,” one Twitter user said. “It will be remembered on Election Day.”
Another suggested double standards in Adler’s comments for cancelling the event over concerns about COVID-19, then encouraging people to congregate in public spaces. “You’re not making much sense, Mayor Adler,” they concluded.
We can go out now with a local disaster ordered, but not go out for SXSW? Good try Mayor. You crushed a lot of businesses. It will be remembered on Election Day.
— Kyle Krueger (@KyleK21) March 7, 2020
So let me get this straight…you cancel SXSW due to an emergency health declaration. Then a day later, you post a video encouraging people to still congregate bc it’s actually safe. You’re not making much sense, Mayor Adler.
— Jeff G (@jjgilz) March 8, 2020
To date, 16 Texans and approximately 1,400 Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
If you are an artist who has been affected by the SXSW cancellation and are interested in an alternative showcase, please email [email protected] with the subject line: “NME X SXSW show.”