July 23, 2024

South by Southwest, held annually in Austin, TX, announced Wednesday (6/26) that it has cut ties with the U.S. Army and other weapons manufacturers.

“After careful consideration, we are revising our sponsorship model,” SXSW said in a statement. “As a result, the US Army, and companies who engage in weapons manufacturing, will not be sponsors of SXSW 2025.” 

That roughly 80 artists dropped off the bill for the ’24 edition, held last March, objecting to the relationship between SXSW and the Army/weapons manufacturers, motivated SXSW to cease the partnership ahead of next year’s fest – March 7th -15th.

One of the many artists protesting the Army sponsorship was Squirrel Flower’s Ella Williams. “I am pulling out specifically because of the fact that SXSW is platforming defense contractors including Raytheon subsidiaries as well as the US Army, a main sponsor of the festival,” she wrote at the time on Instagram.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott jumped in defending the sponsorships and had a three word retort for the protesting acts… “Don’t come back.”

SXSW initially defended the sponsorships before abandoning them.

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