Miami's annual electronic dance music festival Ultra, which brings more than 160,000 revelers to the beachfront city, has been canceled over the coronavirus crisis. "We completely understand how extremely frustrating this is because so many of you are looking forward to coming to Ultra, having already made travel arrangements," the festival said in a statement. "This is, however, an unprecedented issue which is not being taken lightly, and we must continue to defer to the authorities for guidance."
The March 20 to 22 event was to feature sets from major DJs including Gesaffelstein and Sofi Tukker. Ultra has also canceled its edition of the festival in Abu Dhabi, which was scheduled for March 5-6. There have been more than 100,000 confirmed coronavirus infections across 92 territories, according to AFP's latest toll, and almost 3,500 deaths. Florida has recorded nine cases.
The pressure to cancel events poses a challenge for Miami, which relies on tourism especially in March and April, when thousands of young people fly south for spring break. The epidemic has seen world markets tumble but few major US music events have been canceled. In late January the Boston Symphony Orchestra announced it would cancel a four-city Asia tour from February 6-16.
New York's Metropolitan Opera issued a 14-day quarantine for performers, artists and other e ployees returning from China, Iran, South Korea, Japan, Italy and Hong Kong, but all programming was to go on as planned. Coachella, set to kick off the weekend of April 10 in the California desert, did not respond to a request for confirmation on whether the festival will go ahead.
South by Southwest, the music, tech and film festival based in Austin, Texas, is on for March 13-22, although Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter have reportedly pulled out. Warner Music Group also said they would ditch the event, according to Rolling Stone, while Universal Music and Sony Music are reportedly urging employees to stay home. Organizers also postponed the Korea Times Music Festival, scheduled for April 25 at Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl. - AFP