SXSW Cuts US Army Sponsorship for 2025 Festival

More than 80 artists withdrew from this year's edition over the festival's ties to the defence industry

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Jun 26, 2024

After numerous musicians dropped out of scheduled SXSW showcases at this year's edition of the long-running Austin, TX-based festival, the organization has dropped the US Army as a sponsor for the 2025 festival.

"After careful consideration, we are revising our sponsorship model," SXSW announced in a statement posted to its website this week. "As a result, the US Army, and companies who engage in weapons manufacturing, will not be sponsors of SXSW 2025."

The 2024 SXSW had sponsorship ties with both the US Army and Collins Aerospace, a subsidiary of weapons manufacturer RTX Corporation (formerly known as Raytheon). In light of Israel's invasion of Gaza, Squirrel Flower was the first to pull out of her official festival showcases.

Eliza McLamb, Luge, cumgirl8, They Are Gutting a Body of Water, Horse Jumper of Love, Rachel Chinouriri, Gel, Kneecap, This Is Lorelai, Omni and more followed suit, for a total of over 80 acts [via the Texas Tribune] withdrawing from their performance slots.

While the organization expressed respect for the musicians' decisions, it explained at the time, "The defence 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 2025 edition of SXSW will take place March 7 to 5 in Austin, TX. The organization also recently announced plans to launch a London, UK-based iteration next June. Last year, SXSW increased pay for performers but otherwise failed to meet the demands of the 120-plus musicians who signed an open letter calling for fair pay.

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