[3/3/17] Is South by Southwest, the annual music and film festival running later this month in Austin, threatening its international performers with deportation? Depends on who you ask.
Thursday, Felix Walworth of the New York band Told Slant shared a page of the SXSW performer contract and his interpretation that international artists who perform unofficial, unaffiliated concerts during the week of the festival could be turned into the U.S. government.
The contract states that SXSW will “notify the appropriate U.S. immigration authorities” of artists who “adversely affect the viability of their official SXSW showcase.”
Official showcases, hotels and credentials for said artists will also be canceled.
Walworth posted a screenshot on his Twitter account followed by a lengthy rant.
“I’m not interested in aligning myself with an institution that interacts with immigration authorities as a means of controlling where art is shared and performed, and who makes money off of it,” Walworth wrote. “This festival uses an imperialist model and prioritizes centralizing and packaging culture over communities and people’s safety. It’s no secret that SXSW has played a huge role in the process (of) Austin’s rapid gentrification. The whole festival exists to the detriment of working class people and people of color in Austin.”
Walworth urges other artists to cancel their official showcases and find an alternative.
The clause isn’t new, according to Stereogum, but it’s much more of a threat in the wake of President Donald Trump’s crackdown on immigration.