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SXSW ’20: Hillary Clinton, Pharrell join speaker roster while Facebook, Twitter cancel due to travel concerns

Organizers of South by Southwest (SXSW), set to take place in Austin, Texas from March 13-22, are announcing several high profile speakers for the upcoming edition, even as the event ...
March 3, 2020

Organizers of South by Southwest (SXSW), set to take place in Austin, Texas from March 13-22, are announcing several high profile speakers for the upcoming edition, even as the event faces cancellations from various major companies originally slated to take part in myriad capacities.

Recent additions to the speaker line-up have included Hillary Rodham Clinton (pictured, from the Hulu doc Hillary) in conversation with MSNBC’s Joy Reid, journalist Gretchen Carlson, modern music icon Pharrell and Wondery CEO and former Fox executive Hernan Lopez with actor/producer/director Gillian Jacobs.

The announcements come in tandem with news of various cancellations from top tech and entertainment companies. On Sunday (March 1) Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey pulled out of a planned interview appearance, and the company is also not running its SXSW House this year. Facebook also confirmed it was not participating at the event due to concerns over travel, and premium music video provider Vevo also cancelled its annual event at the fest.

Tech company Intel has also confirmed that it will not be taking part in “on-site activities” at this year’s edition.

SXSW’s information page, updated on Monday (March 2), read in part: “At this time, no health departments in the state have requested the cancellation of any gatherings as the current risk of person-to-person spread in their jurisdictions remains low. Historically, March is not a peak international travel month in Austin, but we will continue to monitor. Information and practices are changing during this rapidly evolving situation and we will continue to follow national guidelines. This being said, there are no imminent plans to postpone any current events.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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