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Sunday, March 8, 2020 8:30am ET by  
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SXSW Festival Organizers Admit To Having No Insurance Cover For Cancelation

South by Southwest festival organizers didn't have insurance to cover its cancelation.

The annual music, movie, and tech festival, set to take place between March 13 - 22, was axed on Friday (March 6) over concerns about the coronavirus.

SXSW co-founder, Nick Barbaro, has confirmed that their policy wasn't covered for cancelations relating to a disease outbreak or the city of Austin, Texas, declaring a local state of disaster.

Fellow co-founder, Roland Swenson, added to the Austin Chronicle newspaper: "We have a lot of insurance (terrorism, injury, property destruction, weather). However, bacterial infections, communicable diseases, viruses and pandemics are not covered."

Insurers routinely exclude disease outbreaks from cancelation policies offered to promoters and artists, but it is typically available as an extra. However, since the outbreak of the disease around the world, many insurers have stopped offering the buy-back option.

Austin mayor Steve Adler and Travis County judge Sarah Eckhardt announced the cancelation of the event in a press conference on Friday.

The mayor said: "It's really unfortunate to be canceling South by Southwest. It's tied to who we are in this city, and I look forward to the next iteration of South by Southwest when it comes."

Organizers have promised to do their best to reschedule the event.

They said in a statement published to Twitter: "We are exploring options to reschedule the event and are working to provide a virtual SXSW online experience as soon as possible for 2020 participants, starting with SXSW EDU. 

"For our registrants, clients, and participants we will be in touch as soon as possible and will publish an FAQ. 

"We understand the gravity of the situation for all the creatives who utilize SXSW to accelerate their careers; for the global businesses; and for Austin and the hundreds of small businesses - venues, theatres, vendors, production companies, service industry staff, and other partners that rely so heavily on the increased business that SXSW attracts."

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