Bands Quit Texas South By Southwest Festival Due To U.S. Army Sponsorship

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Quite a few bands that were scheduled to perform at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival have reportedly decided to remove themselves from the lineup. Multiple reports confirm that the reason for the unexpected exits is the “super sponsorship” of the U.S. Army for the event and the country’s ongoing support of Israel’s war on Hamas.

Coalition Called For Protest In February, Promoted SXSW Boycott

The Austin for Palestine Coalition made headlines last month when the organization called for a boycott and protest related to SXSW. The protest was based on the event’s ties to the U.S. military and, more specifically, the weapons manufacturing companies.

Source: Pixabay/Rahul Pandit

These groups have provided weapons to the Israeli military to assist them in the war on Hamas. As a result, the coalition felt the need to launch the protest and boycott against the popular annual event due to a select group of sponsors.

Activist Group Identified Several Companies That SXSW Must ‘Disinvite’

The activist group shared a message on Instagram that made it clear exactly who they were targeting with the SXSW protest and boycott. They requested that SXSW “disinvite” each of the groups and referenced the reasons for the decision.

Source: Pixabay/Niek Verlaan

For instance, the group identified Raytheon (RTX) and its subsidiary Collins Aerospace. It also identified BAE Systems, stating that they each had “direct ties to the arming of Israel.”

Activist Group Claims Companies Are ‘Supporting Their Violent Oppression’ Of Palestinians

The activist group further explained that Raytheon, Collins Aerospace, and BAE Systems are “supporting their violent oppression of the Palestinian people.” The Instagram post stated that “Raytheon manufactures missiles, bombs, and other weapon systems for the Israeli military to use against Palestinians.”

Source: Wikimedia/CoolCaesar

On the official Raytheon website, the company states that their “value…drive our actions, behaviors and performance with a vision for a safer, more connected world.” The site also lists such qualities as trust, respect, collaboration, innovation, and accountability as the company’s core values.

Activist Group Also Highlights CIA, NSA, And Other DoD Agencies

The activist group targeted other organizations and agencies as well – including several Department of Defense agencies. For instance, the webpage used by the activist group specifically mentioned such as agencies as the NRO, NSA, and CIA.

Source: Wikimedia/Carol M. Highsmith

According to the activist group, “these organizations contribute to violence around the world, undermining the festival’s reputation as a celebration of creativity and innovation.” It also listed the names of the panelists and bands that removed themselves from the lineup in support of the boycott.

SXSW ‘Must Change Course’ To ‘Retain Its Credibility,’ Group Claims

The activist group also stated that the SXSW must “change course” if it wants to “retain its credibility.” The group expanded on that thought by stating that changing course would help it disavow “the normalization of militarization within the tech and entertainment industries.”

Source: Pixabay/ThePixelman

The coalition group established a website titled “No Warmongers at SXSW 2024” to publish its statements and other notices related to the protest and boycott.

Texas Governor Tells Bands That Exited SXSW ‘Don’t Come Back’

Governor Greg Abbott responded to the protests and the SXSW bands that decided to remove themselves from the lineup with a controversial post on X/Twitter. Abbott addressed the bands by writing, “Bye. Don’t come back.”

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

He added that “Austin remains the HQ for the Army Futures Command” and “San Antonio is Military City USA.” Abbott further explained that “we are proud of the U.S. military in Texas.” He boldly concluded by saying, “If you don’t like it, don’t come here.”

‘SXSW Does Not Agree With Governor Abbott’, Issues Statement

SXSW clearly did not appreciate Governor Abbott adding himself and his strong opinions to the overall conversation. They reposted Abbott’s message with a post of their own that simply said, “SXSW does not agree with Governor Abbott.”

Source: Wikimedia/Paul Hudson

The organization added that “we are an organization that welcomes diverse viewpoints.” It continued by saying that they “fully respect the decision these artists made to exercise their right to free speech.”

SXSW Says Solving ‘Greater Humanitarian Issues’ Is Now ‘More Crucial Than Ever’

The SXSW festival group also explained in the statement that “we are witnessing unspeakable tragedies, the rise of repressive regimes, and the increasing spread of violent conflict” on a global scale. It continued by stating “it’s more crucial than ever that we come together to solve these greater humanitarian issues.”

Source: Pixabay

The South by Southwest (SXSW) festival was inaugurated in 1987. According to the group behind the festival, “music is the soul of SXSW.” Many SXSW fans and critics alike may agree that has been the case for over 36 years.

Squirrel Flower Pulled Out Of SXSW Showcase, Shared Message On Twitter

Ella Williams, a performer that uses the stage name “Squirrel Flower” posted her protest message on Twitter earlier this month. She stated that she decided to pull out of the SXSW showcase “in protest of SXSW’s ties to the defense industry and in support of the Palestinian people.”

Source: Wikimedia/Levi Manchak

The 27-year-old musician released her first EP, “Early Winter Songs from Middle America,” in 2015. As of now, she has released 3 EPs and 4 studio albums.

Hip-Hop Trio Kneecap Shared Protest Message On Instagram

Northern Irish hip-hop trio Kneecap posted their protest message regarding SXSW on Instagram Sunday. The trio mentioned that they could not attend the event since it platformed “the very companies selling the weapons that have murdered 31,000 Palestinians, over 21,000 of them women and children.”

Source: Pixabay/Jorge Jimenez

The hip hop trio is originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland. It consists of the three founding members – Mo Chara, Moglai Bap, and DJ Provai. They supported Palestine in 2020 when they flew Palestinian flags at their concerts and pledged that they would boycott Israel.

Activist Group Says, ‘The Boycott Of SXSW Grows Every Day’

The activist group stated that the “boycott of SXSW grows every day.” It further expressed that there should be “no more war profiteers and warmongers in this city” with the added phrases of “free Palestine” and “ceasefire now.”

Source: Pixabay/Hosny Salah

Over 60 bands reportedly dropped out of their scheduled performances due to the protest.

SXSW Countered Argument With Statements On Defense Industry, Army

The SXSW was able to counter the arguments regarding the defense industry and U.S. Army with a statement of its own. The festival statement mentioned that the “defense industry has historically been a proving ground for many of the systems we rely on today.”

Source: Pixabay

It further expressed that “the Army’s sponsorship is part of our commitment to bring forward ideas that shape our world.”

SXSW Also Countered Argument With Statement About Collins Aerospace

Regarding Collins Aerospace, the SXSW stated that they participated as a sponsor this year for two separate Pitch categories. According to the festival statement, the sponsorship gives “entrepreneurs visibility and funding for potentially game-changing work.”

Source: Wikimedia/Levanters

According to the website for Collins Aerospace, the company prides itself on “working side-by-side with customers to unleash the exciting possibilities” seen before them. They are also “crafting intelligent solutions to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving global market.”

SXSW States It Will ‘Continue To Support Human Rights For All’

The statement also mentioned that “we have and will continue to support human rights for all.” It acknowledged as well that the “situation in the Middle East is tragic.”

Source: Pixabay/Markus Winkler

It added that it “illuminates the heightened importance of standing together against injustice.” The boycott was reportedly endorsed by the United Musicians and Allied Workers organization.

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Sally Reed

Written by Sally Reed

Sally, a dynamic and viral writer, has taken the literary world by storm with her exceptional storytelling prowess. With an uncanny ability to tap into the collective consciousness of her readers, she crafts narratives that resonate deeply and linger long after the last word is read.

Born with a creative spirit, Sally honed her writing skills from a young age, cultivating a unique voice that blends emotion, wit, and social insight. Her work spans a wide spectrum, from poignant short stories that tug at the heartstrings to thought-provoking essays that challenge conventional thinking.

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