SXSW festival to remove immigration warnings in performer contracts


South by Southwest (SXSW) festival is to remove warnings from performance contracts about US immigration rules.

The current wording says the festival could notify immigration officials over serious contract violations – for example if artists started a brawl.

But the changes won’t be introduced until 2018, long after this year’s event which begins on 10 March.

The move comes after artists and one label threatened to pull out of the festival.

Don Giovanni records threatened to pull its entire SXSW showcase from the festival in Austin, Texas, saying: “I cannot be proud to present a showcase at SXSW this year with the current language that the artists playing are being asked to agree to.”

The festival issued a statement recognising the need to clarify its stance in light of President Trump’s 90-day ban on people from six mainly Muslim nations, including Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

“In this political climate, especially as it relates to immigration, we recognize the heightened importance of standing together against injustice,” organisers said in a statement.

“We have never reported any artist or participant to any immigration agency.”

SXSW

The statement continued: “Each year SXSW coordinates with hundreds of international acts coming to SXSW to try and mitigate issues at US ports of entry.

“This year we are working to build a coalition of attorneys to assist any who face problems upon arrival in the States.

“In the 31 years of SXSW’s existence, we have never reported any artist or participant to any immigration agency.”

For 10 days each year, the city of Austin in Texas is transformed into a hive of noise, gadgets and discussion for the festival on media, tech and music.

SXSW

Bars on sixth street in the downtown area are packed out with thousands of bands and artists.

As well as the music, much-hyped films are premiered and new tech is showcased.

It attracts huge names – last year President Obama gave a speech on technology.

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