SXSW officially removed the deportation clause from its performer contracts after much controversy. They announced the decision on Monday, March 12.
According to multiple sources, the SXSW contracts will no longer attempt to deport non-American artists who violate the agreement. Last year, SXSW received much criticism for including the controversial deportation clause.
"An Artist seeking to enter the United States to perform at SXSW is solely responsible for obtaining any applicable visa(s) and complying with all pertinent immigration rules. To secure Artist's spot in SXSW Music, Artist agrees to notify SXSW about how Artist intends to enter U.S. (what type of visa or if using the Visa Waiver Program) by February 5, 2018," read the revised contract.
Artists Sign An Open Letter Against SXSW
Last year's controversy began after the indie-pop band Told Slant canceled their performance at the SXSW due to the festival's immigration policy. Artists and bands also signed an open letter urging the festival organizers to remove its deportation clause.
A rep for the festival responded to the open latter and said that they had not reported international artists to immigration authorities. The festival's spokesperson also said that they do not support President Donald Trump's travel ban.
"We understand that given the current political climate surrounding immigration, the language that was published seems strong," said the rep.
SXSW 2018 Schedule
This year's SXSW kicked off on March 9 and will wrap up on March 17. On Tuesday, BBC Music will host a slew of guests that will perform at the festival. Some of the artists are Bugzy Malone, Himalayas, Jerry Williams, Pale Waves, and Touts.
On March 14, BBC Radio 2 in association with PPL and PRS for Music will host Frank Turner, Gaz Coombes, Jade Bird, Nina Nesbitt, Rhys Lewis, and Sam Fender.
A day later, BBC Radio 6 and AIM will host Girl Ray, Goat Girl, IDLES, LIFE, Shopping, and more.
Lyor Cohen's Speech
This year's SXSW is not only about performances. Some keynote speakers are also expected to take the SXSW stage. On March 14, Lyor Cohen, the global head of music for YouTube, will deliver a keynote address.
Hugh Forrest, the chief programming officer of SXSW, expressed his excitement over Cohen's participation at the festival.
"Over his 30 year career Lyor Cohen has been behind the most prolific musical acts and at the helm of the biggest labels. Cohen and the additional Featured Speakers announced today continue to define SXSW as the premiere destination for creative people," said Forrest.