Just over a week ago it was shared with the Twitterverse that South by Southwest had a clause in their current contract where if an international artist or group performed at a non-SXSW show during the festival this year, that they would be deported. Obviously, this caused backlash from fans, artists, patrons and the internet.
Since that surfacing of information, it has come to light that SXSW has promised to change the wording that is used in the 2018 contract documentation. The statement they released says that the clause, which would have SCSW notify immigration authorities if artists performed out of their SXSW schedule, will be removed from contracts made with artists.
The original documentation was written after the current president, President Trump, signed a temporary travel ban into action. The more recent “reformed” travel ban has brought out more opposition from the public, and SXSW was part of the opposition to a travel ban.
Authorities will still be alerted if there are any “safety issues” but they claim SXSW in not in the position of alerting anyone over local authorities.
For those interested, the full statement released by South by Southwest is pasted below and is also linked HERE.
March 7, 2017
With the announcement of President Trump’s latest Travel Ban, SXSW would like to reaffirm its public opposition to these executive orders and provide ongoing support to the artists traveling from foreign countries to our event.
To reinforce that stance, we would like to address the concerns regarding the language in our artist invitation letter and performance agreement for the SXSW Music Festival.
SXSW will do the following:
- We will change the language in our artist invitation letter and performance agreement for 2018 and beyond.
- We will remove the option of notifying immigration authorities in situations where a foreign artist might “adversely affect the viability of Artist’s official showcase.”
- *Safety is a primary concern for SXSW, and we report any safety issues to local authorities. It is not SXSW’s duty or authority to escalate a matter beyond local authorities.
In this political climate, especially as it relates to immigration, we recognize the heightened importance of standing together against injustice.
While SXSW works to be in compliance with U.S. immigration law, it is important to know that:
- SXSW has not, does not, and will not, disclose an artist’s immigration status, except when required by law.
- SXSW does not have the power to deport anyone.
- There are no “deportation clauses” in our current performance agreements. There will be no “deportation clauses” in our future participant agreements.
- SXSW does not “collude with” any immigration agencies including ICE, CBP or USCIS to deport anyone.
- Each year SXSW coordinates with hundreds of international acts coming to SXSW to try and mitigate issues at U.S. ports of entry. This year we are working to build a coalition of attorneys to assist any who face problems upon arrival in the States.
- In the 31 years of SXSW’s existence, we have never reported any artist or participant to any immigration agency.
We would like to again apologize for the language in our agreements. We care deeply about the community we serve, and our event is a welcome and safe space for all people.