One of America’s most famous music festivals, South by Southwest, has been cancelled due to coronavirus fears.

Organisers of the annual event in Austin, Texas, decided to call it off for the first time in its 34-year history.

The cancellation was ordered by Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who declared a local disaster.

In a statement, SXSW said it was “devastated” by the news, but respected the decision.

Event organisers said: “The show must go on is in our DNA, and this is the first time in 34 years that the March event will not take place.

“We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation.”

Friday’s announcement came after some of the event’s biggest exhibitors – including Apple, Amazon, Twitter and Facebook – pulled out.

Netflix, social media platform TikTok, and chip maker Intel, had also withdrawn.

Last year the event drew 73,716 people with other 19,000 participants coming from outside the US.

The economic impact on the city – the Texas capital – is expected to be huge.

In 2018, visitors spent $350m (£270m) during the festival, according to a study commissioned by event organisers.

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