March 16, 2020

XOXO 2020 Is Canceled

We're sorry to announce that we’ve decided to cancel XOXO 2020.

But September is still six months away! Why not wait a little longer before deciding? Well, for several reasons:

  1. To produce the revenue we need to run the festival, we need to get tickets on sale right away. In this environment, it feels irresponsible to sell a pass to someone that we can’t safely refund. (And realistically, most people probably wouldn’t buy a pass right now anyway.)
  2. It's already proving difficult to convince companies and organizations to sponsor the festival in the midst of a growing pandemic. Most of the businesses we partner with are canceling events and are requiring employees to work from home.
  3. We simply don’t know when COVID-19 will peak and subside, and it’s very plausible that running the festival would still be a public health risk in September.

With this much uncertainty and risk involved, we feel the only responsible thing for us to do is cancel.

Unlike big events like GDC, SXSW, TED, Coachella, and E3—all of which were canceled or postponed in the last few weeks—XOXO is an independent event produced by a small team of people. We don’t have the resources of a large company to withstand a late-stage cancellation.

XOXO is the only event we produce every year, and if it’s canceled by circumstances out of our control, it would create insurmountable financial liabilities that would almost certainly bankrupt us. We would be unable to offer refunds, pay back sponsors, or fulfill our obligations to speakers, performers, venues, and vendors. It would be the end of XOXO.

Many events are announcing that they're switching to online-only, but we don't feel that's an option for us. If you've been before, you'll know that what makes our festival special has so much to do with leaving the internet behind for a few days and coming together in person. It just wouldn't be XOXO.

Unfortunately, this also means that we're both unemployed for the foreseeable future. If you're interested in following our work and supporting us personally, you can follow Andy Baio on Twitter, or Andy McMillan on Twitter or Patreon.

We know that XOXO is a bright light for many of you, and this is hugely disappointing. Believe us when we say this: we’ll miss it more than anyone, and we’ll miss seeing all of you in September. In the meantime, we’ll see you all in the XOXO Slack, and we’re available by email if you want to reach us directly.

We hope to bring back the festival next year, and plan on continuing our charitable fundraising efforts with an online event this September, when XOXO 2020 would have taken place. To stay updated, we encourage you to sign up for our mailing list and follow @xoxo on Twitter if you’re not already.

Stay safe, don’t lose hope, and don’t forget to wash your hands. We’ll see you again soon.

— Andy & Andy