As the immigration issue rages across the U.S. even the world’s biggest music showcase isn’t immune.
The 31st Annual SXSW festival is taking place in Austin, Texas. Ryan Gosling, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron have all made appearances for the film portion of SXSW 2017. However, the celebrity name that has had the largest effect on the festival is Donald Trump.
For many natives and international bands traveling to the States, the American dream has become a nightmare overnight. In particular, it's the president's immigration policy that is causing havoc with a host of acts trying to get to Austin to perform.
Immigration has always been a hot button topic in Texas due to the lone state’s 1,200-mile-long shared border with Mexico. Then add to the mix the Presidential promise of a humongous wall to stop immigrants entering the States illegally, and you can begin to understand why, more than any other president previous, Mr. Trump is having such an effect on SXSW 2017.
The Italian three-piece Soviet Soviet - the irony of the Putin-esque group name wasn't lost on anyone - were deported on March 8 for 'illegal immigration'. Chilean group Trementina had their gigs axed because they apparently had the wrong visas. And British jazz acts, Yussef Kamaal and United Vibrations cancelled their SXSW shows after certain band members were denied entry to the USA. In a statement released by United Vibrations they commented that: "We were looking forward to connecting with our brothers and sisters stateside to share our music. Why weren’t we let in? Our Names? The music? The colour of our skin?”
The festival itself has also faced a backlash from artists over certain sections of their contract. Brooklyn based indie-pop band Told Slant announced he was cancelling his appearance due to the wording of the immigration section of the SXSW contract. It states that U.S. immigration agents may be alerted if international artists violate their performance agreement by playing unofficial SXSW concerts. The festival was quick to point out that no one has been reported to federal agents in their 30-year history and that they will revise that section of the musician’s contract for 2018.
Like it or not, the tangerine leader of the free world’s policies are casting a fateful shadow over the Texas festival, but the show goes on.
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