Politics and the Trump administration’s immigration policies have taken center stage at one of the music industry’s biggest events.
One band has pulled out of a South by Southwest (SXSW) showcase, claiming that the annual film, media, and music festival’s performer contract says international artists may be reported to immigration officials.
Felix Walworth, a member of New York-based band Told Slant, posted a photo of what he says is the SXSW performer contract that warns that international artists who perform unofficial concerts during the week of the festival could be handed over to U.S. government immigration officials and deported.
SXSW will “notify the appropriate U.S. immigration authorities” of artists who “adversely affect the viability of their official SXSW showcase,” the contract states:
After looking through this contract sent to me by sxsw I have decided to cancel Told Slant's performance at the festival pic.twitter.com/rI2Xv0duJl
— Told Slant (@Felixixix666) March 2, 2017
SXSW’s managing director, Roland Swenson, said the clause has been part of the SXSW contract since 2013 and is only enforced “if somebody did something really horrific, like disobey rules about pyrotechnics, starting a brawl, or if they killed somebody.”
In a statement published by A. V. Club, Swenson said, “We understand that given the current political climate surrounding immigration, the language that was published seems strong. Violating U.S. immigration law has always carried potentially severe consequences, and we would be remiss not to warn our participating acts of the likely repercussions.”
But more artists signed an open letter demanding SXSW organizers strip the immigration language from the performer contract and make it clear that SXSW is “a welcoming space for all artists, including immigrants and international performers.”
SXSW organizers now say they will review and amend the immigration clause in time for the 2018 festival, according to a statement published in Stereogum.
However, more bands and artists have slammed the SXSW organizer’s new proposal, calling it “xenophobic” and “utterly misleading” in a statement published by Rolling Stone.
This is a developing story. The SXSW showcase is currently scheduled for March 17 at the Palm Door in Austin, Texas.
Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @JeromeEHudson.