SXSW: We’re Not Trying to Deport Artists

After the publication Stereogum reported that the Brooklyn act Told Slant canceled its performance at Austin’s SXSW due to a contract policy that would notify U.S. immigration authorities if officials determined “[participating] acts or their representatives have acted in ways that adversely affect the viability of their official SXSW showcase,” the music festival responded with a statement to The Daily Beast expressing disappointment that the act had called off their show.

“SXSW has been vocal in its opposition to President Trump’s travel ban and is working hard to build a coalition of attorneys to assist artists with issues at U.S. ports of entry during the event,” Roland Swenson, SXSW CEO and co-founder, wrote in the statement. “We have artists from 62 countries from around the world performing and have always supported our international music community. We have never reported international showcasing artists to immigration authorities.”

The statement continued: “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.”

Felix Walworth of Told Slant, who tweeted disapproval of the contract stipulation, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.