Today's Evil Beet Gossip

Bands dropping out of SXSW over Gaza conflict

Artists in continuing greater numbers are dropping out of the SXSW festival in Austin Texas. The reason? US Military is one of the festival’s biggest event sponsors and that’s fucked up.

At first it was just a singer songwriter who works under the name “Squirrel Flower” (real name Ella Williams) who dropped out stating the US’s support of Israels attack on Palestine is something they couldn’t rectify supporting and if the US militaries was a supporter of her show she would be a sell out.

“A music festival should not include war profiteers. I refuse to be complicit in this and withdraw my art and labor in protest,” Williams said in an Instagram post.

Since then several other bands and speakers have dropped out.

Probably none you know, but honestly, that makes a larger statement to me. They need this gig more than the big names that wont back out.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott responded to the protest in a social media post Tuesday, saying, “Bye. Don’t come back.”

“We are proud of the U.S. military in Texas. If you don’t like it, don’t come here,” Abbott said on X.

SXSW “does not agree” with the governor’s attitude toward the boycott,SXSW organizers said in a series of posts on the festival’s X account.

“We fully respect the decision these artists made to exercise their right to free speech,” one of the festival’s posts reads. SXSW organizers went on to defend their decision to accept the sponsors.

“The defense industry has historically been a proving ground for many of the systems we rely on today. These institutions are often leaders in emerging technologies, and we believe it’s better to understand how their approach will impact our lives. The Army’s sponsorship is part of our commitment to bring forward ideas that shape our world,”the string of SXSW posts reads.

SXSW drew more than 340,000 attendees last year, organizers have said, and generally hosts a sprawling lineup of conferences, panels, music showcases, film screenings and exhibitions. Its events this year have included panels with actress Selena GomezMeghan, Duchess of Sussex; and investor Mark Cuban.

The festival continues to “support human rights for all,” SXSW’s posts read.

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