SXSW Denies That It’s Helping to Deport Artists

AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 19:  Guitarist/vocalist Britt Daniel of Spoon performs during the 2015 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Auditorium Shores on March 19, 2015 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for SXSW)


Austin music festival SXSW (South By Southwest) found itself under fire yesterday (March 2nd) when a Brooklyn-based band called Told Slant canceled their performance, citing a SXSW policy about notifying immigration authorities if there's wrongdoing by an act. Told Slant had noticed the language in the performer contract, which said that immigration authorities would be notified about international artists if they, quote, "have acted in ways that adversely affect the viability of their official SXSW showcase." But SXSW denied they're trying to get performers kicked out of the country. CEO and co-founder Roland Swenson said in a statement, "We hope never to be put in the position to act on this. Indeed, we spend a great deal of time communicating with international artists concerning numerous issues, including how to avoid issues at U.S. ports of entry. Moreover, there is language in the Performance Agreement which is included to inform foreign artists that the U.S. immigration authorities have mechanisms to create trouble for artists who ignore U.S. immigration laws. For example, those acts coming to SXSW to perform without a work visa are limited, by U.S. immigration law, to performing their showcase event only. If an artist wishes to perform elsewhere, they will require a work visa." The statement also noted that SXSW has been, quote, "vocal in its opposition to President Trump's Travel Ban."

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