Coronavirus concern: What’s happening with big Austin-area events?
Updated March 15-16: As concern over the spread of COVID-19 continues in Central Texas, many large events and cultural spaces have taken preemptive action to mitigate the threat of the disease caused by the coronavirus.
A week of announcements kicked off on March 6, following a local disaster declaration in Austin and the cancellation of South by Southwest. On March 14, the city prohibited events and other community gatherings of more than 250 people. The order is effective until May 1.
The American-Statesman has tracked the status of major gatherings affected by concern over COVID-19. Here’s an updated list of cancellations as Sunday:
• South by Southwest
• Skylab 2020
• Lucy’s Fried Chicken Revival
• Ray Benson’s Birthday Bash
• Cirque du Soleil’s “Alegria”
• Explore UT
• The Deep End at Belmont
• Texas Monthly’s “Texas Music: The Untold Stories”
• Austin Dragon Boat Festival
• Wonder Women of Wine Conference
• Eeyore’s Birthday
• Austin Fashion Week
• Austin Reggae Fest
These cultural spaces have canceled or postponed live events in the near future:
• The Thinkery
• Austin Public Library branches (the city also has announced the closure of the Austin Animal Center, all pools, golf courses, athletic programs, recreation centers and cultural centers)
• Coconut Club
• Alamo Drafthouse
• AFS Cinema
• Violet Crown Cinema
Many restaurants and bars have already started closing or changing their service options.
These events or organizations have not announced any changes to their status since the city’s March 14 order, but they are likely to be affected by it:
• Germania Insurance Amphitheater (has not made an official announcement, but a March 14 Rufus Du Sol show was postponed and venue capacity exceeds 250)
• Mighty Texas Dog Walk
• Austin Reggae Fest
• Austin Symphony Orchestra
These events have indicated they plan to proceed or already took place after the initial March 6 emergency declaration:
• Pecan Street Festival (May 2-3)
From March 6-14: After a week of uncertainty as companies and speakers dropped out, South by Southwest 2020 was canceled March 6.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler said in a news conference that he declared a local disaster over concern about the spread of COVID-19, preventing SXSW from taking place. Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt also said she would sign a companion disaster declaration that applies to festival gatherings countywide.
At the time, there were no confirmed cases of the disease, caused by coronavirus, in the Austin area. On March 13, officials announced two people had tested positive.
SXSW is not the only large gathering happening in the Austin area over the next couple of weeks. Some events are under review by the city. Many venues and artists have said they still plan unofficial events in the wake of SXSW’s cancellation; we’re tracking their status.
Here’s the status other notable large events that were scheduled to take place over the next few weeks.
Looking for the status of more unofficial SXSW events? Visit our event tracker.
• Update, March 12:Rodeo Austin has now been canceled over coronavirus concerns.
Earlier: Rodeo Austin is set for March 14-28 at the Travis County Exposition Center. “We just heard the information at the same time as everybody else from the city and the county,” Katy Blankinship, Rodeo Austin’s senior manager, said Friday afternoon soon after news of the SXSW cancelation broke. “We are working with the city and the county to monitor the situation. At this point, we aren’t considering canceling unless we are advised by officials.”
The rodeo released another statement about an hour later: “Currently, the Rodeo Austin management team is working closely with City and County officials to monitor the COVID-19 situation. Rodeo Austin takes public health and safety extremely seriously and will continue to be guided by City and County officials to determine if modifications to our events are necessary. At this time, Rodeo Austin has been advised by County officials there is no immediate reason to cancel our events.” — Michael Barnes and Eric Webb
• As of March 6, the Texas Film Awards, the unofficial kick off to the SXSW Film Festival sponsored by the Austin Film Society and slated for March 12, was still scheduled to go on as planned, according to AFS publicist Brady Dyer. “At the moment, we are still happening,” Dyer said. “We plan on revisiting the situation on Monday.”
AFS released an update on March 7: “The 20th Texas Film Awards are still scheduled to take place on Thursday, March 12th. The Austin Film Society is following the directives of the City, following updated information and proceeding with the safety of our guests in mind. We will continue to evaluate the situation.”
— Joe Gross and E.W.
• Update, March 12:Luck Reunion has been canceled over coronavirus concerns.
Update, March 7: The organizers of Luck Reunion released the following statement on Saturday: "We are working diligently with Travis County officials in regard to Luck Reunion 2020. As we are still in conversation with authorities, we plan to share more information in the coming days."
Earlier: An inquiry to organizers of Willie Nelson's annual Luck Reunion, the March 19 event at Nelson's ranch in Spicewood, was not immediately answered.
— Peter Blackstock and E.W.
• Update March 14: The 10th annual Lucy's Fried Chicken Revival, a series of daytime shows scheduled for March 18-22, has been canceled over coronavirus concerns. The restaurant remains open for business.
Earlier: Lucy’s Fried Chicken on South Congress expressed guarded optimism about continuing with plans for their 10th annual Revival run of afternoon shows March 18-22. "The Lucy’s Revival has always been primarily a local event, providing our customers a place for great music away from the downtown crowds," the restaurant posted to social media on Friday. "We’ve asked our customers, our artists, our employees, and our friends and families — and everyone’s hoping we can have our annual celebration. Until we’re told otherwise, our every intention is to move forward." — P.B.
• Update, March 12: After briefly being rescheduled at a different venue, the Paramount Theatre, Ray Benson’s Birthday Bash is again canceled over coronavirus concerns.
Earlier: Ray Benson's Birthday Bash on March 17 at GSD&M has been canceled. — P.B.
• All Waterloo Records in-store performances scheduled for March 18-20 have been canceled. — P.B.
• March 14 update:Campfire Gathering in Dripping Springs, which was scheduled for March 16-17, has been canceled over coronavirus concerns.
Earlier: Campfire Gathering at Camp Lucy released a statement on March 7: "Although we are monitoring the situation closely, Campfire Gathering is moving forward. We look forward to hosting our inaugural music event on March 16-17. As independent event producers ourselves, our deepest sympathies go out to those affected by the cancellations."
Earlier: An inquiry to Campfire Gathering, which planned many performances by Margo Price, Shakey Graves and others at Camp Lucy in Dripping Springs March 16-17, was not immediately answered.
• Update, March 13:Skylab 2020 has been canceled over coronavirus concerns.
Earlier: Skylab 2020, a 15-hour show co-sponsored by Mosaic Sound Collective and Spaceflight Records, is scheduled for March 19 at Scholz Garten with dozens of Austin bands and co-host Val Kilmer, who recently partnered with Mosaic. "We are taking all the info in now and determining our best next steps," said Mosaic founder Dan Redman. "We just want to express our support for all the bands and venues affected by today's news, and as hard as this is for our community, at least we're all in this together."
• Explore UT, the annual University of Texas open house event that brings in thousands of visitors, has been canceled after the city of Austin’s coronavirus-related emergency declaration March 6. — Roberto Villalpando
• Update, March 12: All events at Bass Concert Hall have been postponed, including “Aladdin,” organizers announced.
Earlier:“Aladdin” runs March 11-22 at Bass Concert Hall as part of Broadway in Austin. A representative said it is still scheduled to go on. “The safety and security of our theatregoers and employees is our highest priority,” an official statement reads. “We are following the lead of our city, state and federally elected officials, as well as implementing strategies recommended by public health authorities in all of our theatres and offices. We remain vigilant, and we are prepared to make decisions based on current needs, as well as in response to changing conditions."
Texas Performing Arts also released a statement late March 6: “The university is closely monitoring the situation and following recommendations from public health officials. At this time, all Texas Performing Arts events will continue as planned.” In addition to “Aladdin,” shows on the university’s schedule in the next month are “Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet,“ Lisa Lampanelli’s ”Losin’ It!“ and ”Viva MOMIX.“
• Local FM station Sun Radio, which earlier Friday had unveiled a lineup of afternoon shows at Cosmic Coffee + Beer with acts including Margo Price, Shakey Graves and Soul Asylum, issued a statement late Friday announcing their intention to proceed with plans for their shows. "Sun Radio’s plan is to continue with our Sun Radio Sessions scheduled for the dates of March 16-21 at Friends & Allies Brewing, Hyde Park Bar & Grill, and Cosmic Coffee + Beer, as we are not affected by (the city's) mandate," the statement reads.
They added a caveat to address the possibility that some non-local acts may yet change their plans: "Lineup is subject to change, as some of our bands booked will be traveling from other places. We will replace these select bands with other local acts in effort to support local artists. Lineup changes will be posted as we know more." — P.B.
• Vox Media sent an email to those who had RSVPed for their Deep End side party at the Belmont: “You’ve likely seen that the City of Austin issued a local disaster declaration which effectively cancels SXSW. This means that we are no longer able to move forward with Vox Media’s The Deep End. We are deeply disappointed as we love participating in SXSW and have been proud partners with the festival for the past 3 years. We fully understand and respect the City of Austin’s decision in light of the COVID-19 outbreak and look forward to attending and partnering with SXSW in 2021.” — E.W.
• Dell Match Play, set for March 25-29 at Austin Country Club, released a statement Friday: “We have been and are continuing to monitor the developing situation closely through updates from the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization. Based upon current knowledge and their recommendations on planning for mass gatherings, we are proceeding as scheduled with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play later this month. We will continue to review the available information with authorities and take appropriate action as advised.” — Suzanne Halliburton
• Zilker Brewing and the producers of Utopia Fest still intend to hold the Utopia Sessions, Mar 19-21, a series held during SXSW where artists play in the Zilker taproom. Zilker has a special event permit for those days that allows up to 250 people in the space at a time. — Arianna Auber
• The Paramount Theatre released a statement on social media saying that while SXSW Film had been canceled, programming at the Paramount and Stateside theaters will proceed as planned. Upcoming shows include Delbert McClinton, Whine Down, Banff Film Fest, Trixie Mattel and “The Office! A Musical Parody.” — E.W.
• Zach Theatre is currently staging “A Night With Janis Joplin,” “Every Brilliant Thing,” “Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show.” The theater released a statement on March 7: “The security and safety of our ZACH Theatre patrons and employees is our highest priority. Currently, no scheduled performances, camps, or classes have been cancelled, but we are taking the lead of national, state, and local public health authorities and implementing recommended proactive strategies in all of our theaters, classrooms, and offices. We have updated our facility cleaning procedures and schedules and will also be offering more hand sanitation stations in all of our spaces. We will remain attentive and are prepared to make further decisions based on current needs and changing conditions.”
• Update, March 12: The Frank Erwin Center has postponed its events over coronavirus concerns.
Earlier: Upcoming shows (like Post Malone and Chris Stapleton) are still on at the Frank Erwin Center. The venue released a statement March 9: “At this time all planned events at the Frank Erwin Center will continue as scheduled. As a department of the University of Texas, we are following all recommendations and parameters set forth by the university. The health, safety and well-being of the university community is paramount. The university is continuing to monitor the rapidly changing situation in order to protect the health and safety of students, employees and visitors. A dedicated team of university officials and medical experts are continuously monitoring and following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), Austin Public Health (APH) and other official sources.”
• MotoGP at Circuit of the Americas, which was scheduled for April 3-5, has been rescheduled for Nov. 13-15, according to the MotoGP Twitter account.
Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the #AmericasGP has been postponedMarch 10, 2020
• Pecan Street Festival, May 2-3, is still planning to go forward. Organizers released a statement on March 10: “There is no indication our event will be cancelled due to coronavirus concerns: The City of Austin has set a end-date of May 1 for the ‘local state of disaster. We are working with the city and health and sanitation experts developing several mitigation strategies.”
• Update, March 13:Live Nation has announced it is postponing shows at large venues. Rufus Du Sol at Germania Insurance Amphitheater is a Live Nation show, so it could be affected. The amphitheater website does not indicate a change of plans, however.
Earlier: A representative for Circuit of the Americas said March 10 that the venue has not made any announcements about changes to Germania Insurance Amphitheater shows, including Rufus Du Sol on March 14.
• The second annual Wonder Women of Wine Conference, running March 28 and 29, is scheduled to go on as planned, with a focus on bringing about gender equality in the wine industry and a tasting of wines made by women or from women-owned wineries.
• Service Dogs Inc. said on March 11 that the Mighty Texas Dog Walk (March 28) is still happening.
• Texas Monthly’s "Texas Music: The Untold Stories," an official SXSW event, was canceled with the city’s disaster declaration. Texas Monthly plans instead to mount an online version on March 17 at texasmonthly.com/sxtm.
• This year’s Austin Dragon Boat Festival is off, the fest posted to Facebook on March 11: We're sorry to announce that we've come to the decision of cancelling the 2020 Austin Dragon Boat Festival. This was not an easy decision to make, but with all the uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 situation, we feel this was the right call. Let us know if you have any questions. Hope to see yall next year!“
• Austin’s Urban Music Festival, which was scheduled to celebrate its 15th anniversary at Vic Mathias Shores later this month, has been postponed.
“Due to the unforeseen events transpiring in the City of Austin and around the globe, Austin Urban Music Festival (March 27-28, 2020) has been postponed until a later date,” festival organizers wrote in a Facebook post to the fest’s official account on Wednesday morning.
The fest went on to note that all ticket sales are final, but previously purchased tickets will be honored for the rescheduled dates, which have not been announced.
• On March 11, Austin Reggae Fest head Pat Costigan said he was “in the process of formulating a plan to present to the city regarding safeguards against the virus.” The fest is set for April 17-19.
• On March 11, Austin Symphony Orchestra announced that scheduled shows are happening as planned for now (the next show on their calendar is April 3-4). Refunds are not being offered, but single ticket exchange fees will be waived through May 20. “We also highly encourage those who feel unwell or who may be at increased risk to stay home, and we are happy to make adjustments to any existing tickets,” according to a statement from the symphony. Email the box office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512-476-6064 ext. 3 if you need to exchange tickets.
According to the symphony, ticket handlers will wear gloves, and hand sanitizer and cough drops will be available at the Long Center. “In addition, we are working with the musicians on live streaming ASO events for ticket holders during this time, so they may watch from home,” the symphony announced. If shows are canceled, ticketholders will be notified at least two to three hours in advance. The symphony’s response, including updates, to the ongoing concerns about COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, can be read here.
• As of March 12, the Blanton Museum of Art on the UT campus has canceled all programming through April 19, including performances, public tours, and talks, “in consideration of our community and according to guidelines related to social distancing that The University of Texas at Austin and the City of Austin Government are following in response to the COVID-19 outbreak,” posts shared to the museum’s social media channels on Thursday afternoon said. The canceled events include the museum’s Blanton Block Party which was scheduled for March 28. The museum will remain open during regular hours with hand sanitizer stations added to high-touch areas like the visitor services desk and museum shop check out.
• South by San Jose, a popular side party that takes place during SXSW at Hotel San Jose, has been canceled for this year, organizers announced March 12.
• Update, March 13: The Contemporary Austin has joined the Blanton Museum of Art, Ransom Center and most other large Austin museums by closing down its two locations, both the downtown venue at the Jones Center and the Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria. Friday afternoon, the Contemporary Austin announced that, beginning March 14, it would shutter both sites for two weeks. Also, spring break classes booked for March 16-20 at the Art School are canceled. The public should direct questions about the closures to email@example.com. Send Art School questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earlier: The Contemporary Austin hosts a free family event every second Saturday of the month, but not this month. On March 9, the museum decided to cancel its Art Free for All at Laguna Gloria.
• The ABC Kite Fest was canceled on March 13, according to a news release. It had been scheduled for March 29.
• Austin performances of Cirque du Soleil’s “Alegria,” set for April 22-May 25, have been canceled, according to a March 13 news release.
• The Thinkery children’s museum will be closed through at least March 22.“This closure is in response to the growing concern related to the COVID-19/Coronavirus crisis,” according to a news release. This means that all programming, events and spring break camps will be closed.
• A March 22 concert by Buddy Guy and Christone “Kingfish” Ingram at ACL Live has been postponed to a to-be-determined date.
• HonkTX, the community street band festival that was scheduled to celebrate its 10th anniversary April 3-5, has been postponed. “The HONK!TX festival committee and board members met Thursday evening and, in the spirit of social responsibility, have decided to postpone HONK!TX 2020 due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic,” organizers said in a statement.
• BookPeople has canceled its in-store events until April 1, as of March 13.
• Zach Theatre has canceled its shows through March 31, as of March 13.
• The Statesman Capitol 10,000, scheduled for April 5, has been canceled. “As quickly as possible, we’ll email registered participants information on a Cap10K virtual race, picking up the 2020 race shirt, bib and finisher’s medal, and the status of the 2020 registration fee,” race organizers said March 14.