Austin cancels SXSW over coronavirus, leaves Adam Schiff with more free time

A spot on Rep. Adam Schiff’s schedule just opened up. (Tom WIlliams/CQ Roll Call)
A spot on Rep. Adam Schiff’s schedule just opened up. (Tom WIlliams/CQ Roll Call)
Posted March 6, 2020 at 6:06pm

Conversations about “America’s future” will remain on hold now that South by Southwest is cancelled, scrambling the plans of several Capitol Hill lawmakers scheduled to make an appearance, including Adam Schiff.

Austin, Texas, scrapped the March 13-22 dates over coronavirus concerns. The popular annual film, media, tech and music festival translated to more than $350 million last year for the city’s economy, according to organizers.

[‘Queer Eye’ star responds to his hometown’s former congressman: Aaron Schock]

Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and lead impeachment manager, was scheduled to appear for a series called “Conversations About America’s Future.” Other politicos included Rep. Will Hurd and former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, both of Texas, along with Hillary Clinton.

Organizers say they were prepared to go forward with the festival until the situation quickly changed in recent days.

“As recently as Wednesday, Austin Public Health stated that ‘there’s no evidence that closing SXSW or any other gatherings will make the community safer,’” they said in a statement. “However, this situation evolved rapidly, and we honor and respect the City of Austin’s decision. We are committed to do our part to help protect our staff, attendees, and fellow Austinites.”

It isn’t just lawmakers being affected. If you have any journalist friends you wanted to hang out with, it looks like their weeks just opened up.