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SXSW cuts ties with US Military following boycott from over 80 artists

The festival has confirmed the changes to its sponsorship model beginning in 2025, following an artist boycott due to the US military ties with Israel.

  • 2 July 2024
SXSW cuts ties with US Military following boycott from over 80 artists

SXSW will not be sponsored by the US Army and defence contractor RTX Corporation for its forthcoming events in 2025, the festival has confirmed.

In a statement on its website, SXSW (AKA South By South West) said that “after careful consideration," it would be "revising its sponsorship model."

"As a result, the US Army, and companies who engage in weapons manufacturing, will not be sponsors of SXSW 2025," it confirmed.

Read this next: Kneecap pull out of SXSW due to festival's US Army ties

The announcement follows the withdrawal of over 80 artists who had been scheduled to participate in this year’s festival due to its sponsorship from the US Army and weapons manufacturers, said to have ties to the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) amid its ongoing ground invasion of Gaza — which the UN has said it "reasonable grounds" to believe are committing genocide against Palestinians.

The boycott was started by Chicago-based songwriter Squirrel Flower (real name Ella Williams), who said in a statement on Instagram: “I have decided to pull out of my official SXSW showcase in protest of SXSW’s ties to the defence industry and in support of the Palestinian people."

"I don’t believe that a music festival should include profiteers of war – I believe that art is a tool to create a better world and has no place alongside warmongers," the statement continues.

Read this next: Over 120 artists pull out of The Great Escape over Barclays sponsorship

Following this statement, over 80 other artists went on to join the boycott, including Irish rap group Kneecap, Noor Khan from indie group Mamalarky, singer-songwriter Eliza McLamb, Shalom and Lambrini Girls.

The Texas-based festival had the US Army listed as a "super sponsor," as well as Collins Aerospace (a subsidiary of weapons manufacturer RTX Corporation).

SXSW is a multi-faceted creative event, spotlighting film, interactive media, music, emerging technology, marketing, and other forms of cross-functional art, drawing around 300,000 guests yearly to its Austin Texas home making it one of the world’s largest festivals.

Jamaal Johnson is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow him on Instagram.

This article originally featured on Mixmag Global.

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