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SXSW Details Their International Artist Agreement

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    South by Southwest’s managing director Roland Swenson has issued a statement in response to some of the stories circulating yesterday about the festival’s artist agreement with international acts. The official statement can be read below.

    SXSW has been vocal in its opposition to President Trump’s Travel Ban and is working hard to build a coalition of attorneys to assist artists with issues at U.S. ports of entry during the event. We have artists from 62 countries from around the world performing and have always supported our international music community. We have never reported international showcasing artists to immigration authorities.

    We were sorry to learn that one of our invited performers chose to cancel his performance at this year’s SXSW Music Festival due to a misunderstanding of our policies regarding international artists.

    We understand that given the current political climate surrounding immigration, the language that was published seems strong. Violating U.S. immigration law has always carried potentially severe consequences, and we would be remiss not to warn our participating acts of the likely repercussions.

    Language governing SXSW’s ability to protect a showcase has been in the artist Performance Agreement for many years. It is, and always was intended to be, a safeguard to provide SXSW with a means to respond to an act that does something truly egregious, such as disobeying our rules about pyrotechnics on stage, starting a brawl in a club, or causing serious safety issues.

    The SXSW Performance Agreement states:

    If SXSW determines, in its sole discretion, that Artist or its representatives have acted in ways that adversely affect the viability of Artist’s official SXSW showcase, the following actions are available to SXSW: Artist will be removed from their official SXSW showcase and, at SXSW’s sole option, replaced.Any hotels booked via SXSW Housing will be canceled. Artist’s credentials will be canceled. SXSW will notify the appropriate U.S. immigration authorities of the above actions.

    We hope never to be put in the position to act on this. Indeed, we spend a great deal of time communicating with international artists concerning numerous issues, including how to avoid issues at U.S. ports of entry.

    Moreover, there is language in the Performance Agreement which is included to inform foreign artists that the U.S. immigration authorities have mechanisms to create trouble for artists who ignore U.S. immigration laws. For example, those acts coming to SXSW to perform without a work visa are limited, by U.S. immigration law, to performing their showcase event only. If an artist wishes to perform elsewhere, they will require a work visa.

    As such, both to protect SXSW and the interests of all the participating artists, we long ago added this language to our Performance Agreement:1.4. Foreign Artists entering the country through the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), B visa or any non-work visa may not perform at any public or unofficial shows, DAY OR NIGHT, in Austin from March 10-19, 2017. Accepting and performing at unofficial events (including unofficial events aside from SXSW Music dates during their visit to the United States) may result in immediate deportation, revoked passport and denied entry by US Customs Border Patrol at US ports of entry. For more information, please visit these pages:1.4.1.(B Visa / ESTA) Visas) general visa FAQ:

  2. cwhit

    still emperor emo Prestigious

    immediately disregarding this because they misgendered felix right off the bat
  3. KyleK

    Let's get these people moving faster! Supporter

    So for the sake of discussion, had they used "their" instead, what would you have thought about the press release?
  4. That was the rare case where "their" actually would have fit very well in the flow of the sentence with no grammatical awkwardness too! Heh. I'm all for calling ppl by their preferred pronouns obv but being a grammar/syntax nerd sometimes I scratch my head at the awkward phrasing that happens.
  5. cwhit

    still emperor emo Prestigious

    they didn't even cover the major issue here, where they used the threat of an artist with an official showcase doing an unofficial showcase could be reported to ICE, which is totally fucked
  6. cwhit

    still emperor emo Prestigious

    english is already nonsensical enough as is, why not go a little further to actually use someone's preferred pronouns?
    not calling you out, don't worry, just i hate that grammar argument
  7. You can do both ten times out of ten, it just means taking an extra minute to think about phrasing and requires proficient mastery of the English language, which sadly is not the most common among people who string words together on the interwebs. (Get off my lawn!) And of course it requires being CONSCIOUS of the fact that oh for example just because someone is named Felix doesn't mean "he" automatically
    devenstonow and cwhit like this.
  8. KyleK

    Let's get these people moving faster! Supporter

    That's fair, although it could have easily been changed to 'his' by a copy editor who had no reason to know Felix has a preferred pronoun. Now I'm not saying that's what happened in this instance, and a festival organizer with an issue like this involving a specific artist should probably be careful/familiar enough with the preferences surrounding Told Slant. But broadly speaking, I could imagine it's the type of mistake that could be made with no ill-intent, or not even out of ignorance.
  9. devenstonow


    i don't know much about immigration law, but this makes sense (and realistically is probably just boilerplate legal liability stuff) if the case is that the "perform without a visa" is sponsored/directly ties the SXSW organizers to the artist. because if so then the festival organizers would be held to some liability.

    The statement implies that this has always been in the artist agreement. anyone know if that's actually the case ?
  10. elemenohpe

    Irregular Prestigious

    Yeah, it's always been there. SXSW is just protecting their own interests and if a band is violating the festival agreement and that in turn violates their visa stipulations, I think it's perfectly reasonable to report it... sure it's not nice but it's spelled out in black and white.

    Power to Felix for weighing the risk, making a decision and alerting others about it. It may have been blown out of proportion but I can totally understand the concern over the agreement.
    devenstonow likes this.
  11. KyleK

    Let's get these people moving faster! Supporter

    Your last point seems pretty relevant, because I imagine it is the sort of standard legal language that would have always been in the contracts because of work visas, but now with today's political climate and the government ridiculously cracking down, suddenly it becomes a lot more menacing and has strong implications, which never would have been at risk before.

    To cwhit's earlier post though, I agree, they could have been a lot clearer speaking out against that.
  12. cwhit

    still emperor emo Prestigious

    the contract said "if SXSW, determines, in its sole discretion, the showcasing acts or their representatives have acted in ways that adversely affect the viability of their OFFICIAL SXSW showcase"

    that's so loose and allows SXSW to fight against unofficial showcases

    plus it's disgusting that they are even using that as a threat in the first place especially as an event that wants people to think that they care about the arts
    Fucking Dustin likes this.
  13. Fucking Dustin

    Please click "like" Supporter

    Exactly. The whole platform of SXSW was always "Come get exposure for new fans/industry members and be a part of something great." This entirely contradicts that.

    And I do think that if it wasn't such loose phrasing, if they used it in a way that actually referenced their specifications in their response "does something truly egregious, such as disobeying our rules about pyrotechnics on stage, starting a brawl in a club, or causing serious safety issues", it would at least make it a BIT less heinous.
    cwhit likes this.
  14. cwhit

    still emperor emo Prestigious

    the problem is that the contract insinuates that SXSW has power that if they feel things are not to their liking, they will deport your ass

    not to mention a lot of these bands are doing full tours as well