SXSW responds to ‘bands being threatened with deportation’ controversy

Festival organisers insist they 'strongly' oppose Trump's travel ban.

SXSW bosses have reassured music fans that they “strongly” oppose Donald Trump’s travel ban after a punk band pulled out over clauses in their contract which appear to threaten acts with deportation.

Punk band Told Slant posted sections of their SXSW contract on Twitter, including a clause which reads: “Accepting and performing unofficial events may result in immediate deportation.”

The contract also states that if acts “have acted in ways that adversely affect the viability of their official SXSW showcase”, organisers can “cancel” their hotel rooms and “notify the appropriate US immigration authorities”.

“After looking through this contract sent to me by sxsw I have decided to cancel Told Slant’s performance at the festival,” band member Felix Walworth wrote.


Explaining the controversial sections of the contract, SXSW’s managing director Roland Swenson told Austin 360: “In the post-Trump era, it looks different than how it was intended, and how it was received in the past. But we’ve come out strongly against the travel ban, and we’ve really been going the extra mile to make sure these bands don’t get screwed over when they enter the country.”

He also insisted that in practice, festival organisers will only contact US immigration authorities “if somebody did something really horrific, like disobey rules about pyrotechnics, starting a brawl, or if they killed somebody”.

Swenson claimed, too, that these clauses have been in the contract for years. He also said they have never actually been acted upon.

SXSW will take place in Austin, Texas from March 13-19 this year. The keynote speakers for SXSW 2017 are Nile Rodgers and Zane Lowe, while over 500 acts were added to the bill in January.

See more: The Stars Of SXSW 2016 In Beautiful Backstage Portraits