YouTube on Stage, a live event showcasing artists on the streaming platform, has been canceled several hours before it was scheduled to take place Wednesday night in London, amid signs that growing fears over the spread of the coronavirus in the U.K. will take a toll on large public gatherings.
“Due to changing circumstances, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel YouTube on Stage this evening,” a company spokesperson said by email. “We didn’t take this decision lightly and look forward to future opportunities to celebrate creative talent in the U.K.”
The event was being billed as an intimate evening of performances, speakers, and insight into the most popular trends among U.K. audiences on YouTube. Past shows have featured comedian Trevor Noah, inventor Colin Furze, as well as performances from The Royal Ballet and BRIT Award winners Paloma Faith and James Bay.
Until now, few major film and TV industry events have been called off in the U.K., despite the growing number of cancellations caused by the coronavirus worldwide, including SXSW in the U.S.
France’s Series Mania, one of Europe’s biggest TV festivals, was the latest casualty on Wednesday, announcing it was canceling this year’s edition—which was scheduled to take place March 20-28—following new French government health restrictions banning gatherings of over 1,000 people.
Six people have so far died from the coronavirus in the U.K., which is currently battling 382 positive cases. On Tuesday, the Royal Television Society announced it would live stream its annual awards, which were set to take place March 17 at the Grosvenor Hotel in London, amid escalating concerns around the virus’s spread.
U.K. policymakers, meanwhile, are scrambling to prevent widespread economic fallout from the pandemic. On Wednesday morning the Bank of England cut interest rates in an emergency move to shore up the U.K. economy, amid concerns that the “economic shock” of the coronavirus could devastate many families and businesses.