SXSW “Does Not Agree” With Texas Governor Telling Boycotting Artists “Don’t Come Back”

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After Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told artists boycotting SXSW over its U.S. Army sponsorship, “don’t come back,” the Austin-based festival is saying that it does not agree with that sentiment. “We are an organization that welcomes diverse viewpoints,” the fest said in an Instagram post Tuesday.

In the lead-up to SXSW, multiple musical acts that were scheduled to perform pulled out, citing the U.S. Army’s “super” sponsorship of the festival, as well as American support of Israel’s war in Gaza. (Other “super” sponsors, which are granted the highest level of visibility at the fest, include Volkswagen, Porsche and Delta.) In all, 60 artists are said to be skipping the fest.

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Abbott wrote on X on Tuesday: “Bands pull out of SXSW over U.S. Army sponsorship. Bye. Don’t come back. Austin remains the HQ for the Army Futures Command. San Antonio is Military City USA. We are proud of the U.S. military in Texas. If you don’t like it, don’t come here.”

“SXSW does not agree with Governor Abbott,” read a statement on the festival’s Instagram in a post that included a screenshot of Abbott’s X post. “We are an organization that welcomes diverse viewpoints. Music is the soul of SXSW, and it has long been our legacy. We fully respect the decision these artists made to exercise their right to free speech.”

The SXSW statement went on to say: “The Army’s sponsorship is a part of our commitment to bring forward ideas that help shape our world.”

The boycotting artists include the Irish rap group Kneecap, which recently was at the Sundance Film Festival starring in a film about their lives that was later picked up by Sony Pictures Classics. Other boycotting performers include Lambrini Girls, Squirrel Flower and Sprints.

“We cannot in good conscience attend an arts festival that has the U.S. Army as a ‘super sponsor’ and is platforming RTX (formerly Raytheon), Collins Aerospace and BAE Systems, the very companies selling the weapons that have murdered 31,000 Palestinians, over 21,000 of them women and children,” Kneecap says in a post on X.

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