SXSW Threatens Deportation On International Artists, Officially Becoming The Lamest Festival In America

One of the best things about SXSW over the years is that you don’t have to officially be a part of the festival to see great music during the festival. Austin as a whole turns into a hub of impromptu venues for musicians both visiting and officially performing. If you’ve never been to SXSW, here’s a quick factoid: there’s no way in hell you’re seeing everything the fest has to offer music-wise. So many of the participating musicians as well as unofficial ones traveling to Austin get together and play unofficial shows outside of the fest for cheaper, so those who didn’t get to see them have a second chance.

For those of us who have gone in the past, it’s pretty cool to walk into a bike repair shop and see a high-profile band who played for 1,500 the night before now jamming out to a packed building of 200. And up until now, that system has been frowned upon with some crackdowns happening, but very few consequences have been levied over the years. Cut to today when this tweet from Todd Slant started making the rounds.

That’s right. SXSW are threatening any contracted musician who is visiting from outside of the U.S. with calling the authorities on them and having them deported if they play a show that isn’t a part of their lineup. Echoing the sentiments of hatred from Trump’s travel ban, organizers are looking to squash these shows by getting the authorities involved. SXSW has just become your angry neighbor who calls the cops on you because you’re playing a True Widow album louder than they are. Slant put out the call to have artists cancel their performances at the festival, with others joining the outrage online over the contract. Since the original post, Slant claims the festival director contacted him and accused him of cutting and pasting pieces of the contract together, to which Slant publicly posted a video showing the contract’s wording on his phone.

It’ll be interesting to see if more artists cancel or if SXSW apologizes and pulls this from their contracts. Bottom line: You don’t threaten musicians with an action that could permanently disrupt their lives just because they want to play for as many people as possible. Whatever the case may be, SXSW just became the lamest music festival in the country. There are a great many who would argue that already happened as ticket prices skyrocketed, Austin became more gentrified, the festival caters more to what advertisers want (which is why you can’t go 50 feet without having an ad shoved in your face for an energy drink). This is just icing on the cake and proof that the U.S. needs a different festival somewhere else to compete against it during the same week, or a change in management at SXSW as they’ve become too corporate and too isolated in their thinking to be considered a must-attend event.

About Gavin Sheehan

Gavin has been a lifelong geek who can chat with you about comics, television, video games, and even pro wrestling. He can also teach you how to play Star Trek chess, be your Mercy on Overwatch, recommend random cool music, and goes rogue in D&D. He also enjoys standup comedy, Let's Play videos and trying new games, along with hundreds of other geeky things that can't be covered in a single paragraph. Follow @TheGavinSheehan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vero, for random pictures and musings.

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