SXSW Cuts Ties With U.S. Army and Weapons Makers

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SXSW says it will no longer receive sponsorship from the U.S. army and weapons makers after a boycott gained steam at this year’s festival. SXSW wrote on its website, “After careful consideration, we are revising our sponsorship model. As a result, the US Army, and companies who engage in weapons manufacturing, will not be sponsors of SXSW 2025.”

The now-successful boycott began this March, when several artists pulled out of the festival. Squirrel Flower wrote on social media that the move came “in protest of SXSW’s ties to the defense industry and in support of the Palestinian people,” noting that at least one defence contractor appearing at the festival was arming the Israeli Defense Forces. Mamalarky, Shalom, and the Irish rap trio Kneecap followed suit with similar statements. When Greg Abbott, the Texas governor, chastised the protestors, SXSW distanced itself from his comments and said it respected the artists’ decisions.

Successful boycotts followed in the United Kingdom, where more than 100 artists dropped out of the Great Escape festival—a British SXSW equivalent—citing its sponsorship by Barclays bank. Started by Bristol band the Menstrual Cramps, the boycott drew in Idles and Brian Eno, among others, due to Barclays’ investments in arms companies. Boycotts of Latitude and Download festivals followed, before Barclays suspended its sponsorship of all Live Nation festivals in the UK.

The bank wrote in a statement this month, “The protesters’ agenda is to have Barclays debank defence companies which is a sector we remain committed to as an essential part of keeping this country and our allies safe.” Protest group Bands Boycott Barclays responded, “Hundreds of artists have taken action this summer to make it clear that this is morally reprehensible, and we are glad we have been heard.”