Texas’ Governor Proudly Told Artists Boycotting SXSW Over Military Issues To Not ‘Come Back,’ But The Festival Disagrees

SXSW has found itself in a bit of a controversy this year, as some artists have pulled out of the festival due to some of this year’s sponsors, including the US Army. Texas governor Greg Abbott relished in this news, though, tweeting yesterday (March 12), “Bands pull out of SXSW over U.S. Army sponsorship. Bye. Don’t come back. Austin remains the HQ for the Army Futures Command. San Antonio is Military City USA. We are proud of the U.S. military in Texas. If you don’t like it, don’t come here.”

SXSW then issued a statement on social media, making it clear they do “not agree with Governor Abbott,” though. The statement explains their decision to have the Army as a sponsor, and it reads in full:

“SXSW does not agree with Governor Abbott.

We are an organization that welcomes diverse viewpoints. Music is the soul of SXSW, and it has long been our legacy. We fully respect the decision these artists made to exercise their right to free speech.

Across the globe, we are witnessing unspeakable tragedies, the rise of repressive regimes, and the increasing spread of violent conflict. It’s more crucial than ever that we come together to solve these greater humanitarian issues.

The defense industry has historically been a proving ground for many of the systems we rely on today. These institutions are often leaders in emerging technologies, and we believe it’s better to understand how their approach will impact our lives.

The Army’s sponsorship is part of our commitment to bring forward ideas that shape our world. In regard to Collins Aerospace, they participated this year as a sponsor of two SXSW Pitch categories, giving entrepreneurs visibility and funding for potentially game-changing work.

We have and will continue to support human rights for all. The situation in the Middle East is tragic, and it illuminates the heightened importance of standing together against injustice.”

Find SXSW’s tweets below.