Kneecap pull out of SXSW due to festival’s US Army ties

today11/03/2024 2

share close

Kneecap have announced they will be withdrawing from South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) in solidarity with the people of Palestine.

Currently underway in Austin, Texas, SXSW is facing calls to boycott amid revelations of it being sponsored by the US Army, as well as several weapons manufacturers.

Set to run until March 16, a number of acts from the worlds of music, film and comedy have slammed the festival for its complicity in the ongoing violence faced by Palestinian people in Gaza.

Kneecap wrote to Twitter yesterday (March 10) that they have cancelled their three shows in solidarity with Palestine and to highlight “the deep unacceptable links the festival has to weapons companies”.

Citing the festival’s ‘Super Sponsor’ The US Army and other event associates, Collins Aerospace and BAE Systems the group wrote “These organisations are literally profiting from and facilitating war crimes”.

Read this next: “This isn’t about sides”: Palestinian artists call for music world to support ‘basic human rights’

According to a report by The Guardian, the boycott was initially led by Chicago-based artist Ella Williams known as Squirrel Flower, who first highlighted the event’s connection with the military, describing sponsors as “Genocide profiteers”.

In a statement shared to social media, March 4, the indie songwriter wrote: “SXSW is platforming defence contractors”.

Shortly after, emo band Proper, indie group Mamalarky, Eliza McLamb, Shalom and Lambrini Girlsw withdrew from their shows citing similar reasons.

Companies that choose the Super Sponsor tier of sponsorship, such as The U.S. Army, are said to receive the “highest visibility possible, the deepest integration opportunities” and exposure by “aligning with SXSW as a promotional partner”.

Though not a sponsor, subsidiary of RTX (formerly Raytheon), Collins Aerospace, is an ‘official participant’ of the event and is to co-host an event about “Defence Innovation” according to the Austin Chronicle.

Read this next: Culture as Resistance: 6 Palestinian DJs you need to know

Last year, Vice reported that RTX is responsible for developing and supplying Israel’s aerial defence system, the Iron Dome.

According to the report, the CEOS of the company referenced the Israel-Palestine conflict “as a potential point of profit on earnings”.

Politically charged music group, Kneecap, continue to be vocal about their pro-Palestinian stance, regularly sharing their views on social media and recently wore pro-Palestinian badges to the Late Late Show.

Mixmag has contacted representatives of SXSW for comment.

Belle Richardson is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

Rate it