Squirrel Flower Pulls Out Of SXSW: “A Music Festival Should Not Include War Profiteers”

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Squirrel Flower has pulled out of this year’s SXSW festival “in protest of SXSW’s ties to the defense industry and in support of the Palestinian people,” the project’s leader Ella Williams wrote in a statement posted on social media. Squirrel Flower was scheduled to perform at official showcases on March 12 and 14; they will still perform at unofficial showcases that will take place in Austin with no ties to SXSW.

“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,” Williams continued.

The US Army is a recurring exhibitor at the event, and Collins Aerospace — a subsidiary of RTX Corporation, formerly Raytheon — is a participant this year as well.

Squirrel Flower’s statement continued:

The IDF has now killed at least 1 in every 75 inhabitants of Gaza, including 12,300 children. The International Court of Justice has ruled that this plausibly amounts to genocide.

Genocide profiteers like Raytheon supply weapons to the IDF, paid for by our taxes. A music festival should not include war profiteers. I refuse to be complicit in this and withdraw my art and labor in protest.

I will still be playing unofficial showcases, and I encourage them all to take a vocal stand against SXSW. I encourage my fellow musicians to do the same.

Last week, the local organization Austin For Palestine Coalition launched an initiative calling on SXSW to remove RTX, Collins Aerospace, and the British defense contractor BAE Systems from the festival and to “reevaluate the inclusion of agencies in the Department of Defense in events and discussions hosted by the festival.”