SXSW Drops Army, Weapons Manufacturer Sponsorships For 2025

2024 SXSW Conference And Festival Day 9
A general view of the atmosphere during the World Premiere of “The Idea of You” during 2024 SXSW Conference And Festival at The Paramount Theatre on March 16, 2024 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)

Influential Austin festival South by Southwest is ending its relationship with the United States Army and weapons manufacturers.

“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 festival wrote on its website.

The 2024 edition of the long-running music, film and comedy festival was marked by protests and boycotts.

A running list maintained by Squirrel Flower, who was the first artist to drop in protest, showed more than three dozen artists pulled out in response to the Army’s sponsorship, along with the sponsorship of Collins Aerospace, a subsidiary of defense contractor Raytheon. The artists say the ties of SXSW to the Army and the defense industry were especially troubling in light of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The United States is the largest international supporter of the Israeli military, providing monetary, material and training support. Weapons and other materiel are supplied by Raytheon and other American manufacturers

 “I have decided to pull out of my official SXSW showcases in protest of SXSW’s ties to the defense industry and in support of the Palestinian people,” Squirrel Flower wrote on Instagram March 4. “There are many ways SXSW is harmful to working musicians, but 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.”

After more than 100 acts pulled out of Live Nation’s Great Escape due to the sponsorship of Barclays bank and its relationship with arms manufacturers, the bank reportedly ceased sponsoring LN’s UK festivals.