What began with an initial boycott and cancellation of SXSW Festival shows this past weekend by Kneecap in the wake of their US TV debut has now resulted in every Irish band who had received funding to play SXSW, cancel in protest. In an unprecedented move, all 10 bands were listed as official Republic Of Ireland showcase artists at this year’s SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas have cancelled their official showcase shows after the festival’s links with the US Army and defence companies emerged. As reported yesterday, the artists responded to the news that the US Army was listed as a festival “Featured Partner”, along with and defence companies RTX (formally Raytheon), Collins Aerospace, and BAE Systems. The wave of cancellations from the showcase comes after local group Austin 4 Palestine called on SXSW to “disinvite Raytheon, Collins Aerospace, and 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.” According to the group, RTX manufactures missiles and bombs for the Israeli military, Collins Aerospace provides components for IDF aircraft, while BAE Systems has supplied weapons used in the occupation of Palestinian territories. Many of the statements from the Irish bands who cancelled, made clear their solidarity for the Palestinian people, who are being subjected to an ongoing genocide, aided by the weapons created by these companies, creating a friction and gaping moral hole between the art/artists and the festival they were set to play. Kneecap were the first act to cancel their official showcases, followed by Sprints, Soda Blonde, Gavin James, Robert Grace, Mick Flannery, and Chalk yesterday. Gurriers, Cardinals and NewDad announced their cancellation this afternoon. Northern Irish-funded artists Enola Gay and Conchur White also followed suit. The Northern Irish artists at SXSW were booked through the UK funding channels and were due to play different UK-lead events separate to the Music From Ireland showcases mentioned. No bands will now play the Music From Ireland showcases. “In lieu of showcases, the artists will make a joint statement at the Velveeta Room at 8pm on Thursday 14th and again at the Flamingo Canteena on Friday 15th at 1pm.” At time of writing, three acts from the UK/NI strand – Therapy?, Ash and Reevah are playing the festival. March 12, 2024 Music From Ireland response Music From Ireland response
Music From Ireland , the facilitating showcase organisers run by First Music Contact, said earlier today that they would be meeting on the ground in Austin with the remaining artists and would support whatever decision they make on how to proceed. “One of Culture Ireland’s (funders of Music From Ireland) and Music from Ireland’s core values is that of artistic freedom of expression and we do not mediate or advise artists in relation to choices they make on any matter whether political, artistic or otherwise.” If an artist chooses not to participate in SXSW this will not have a bearing on future showcasing opportunities for those artists. Music from Ireland and Culture Ireland actively supports artists’ right to freedom of expression, which is fundamental to their role as agents of change in society. “We are facilitating a meeting today (Tuesday) with artists who have travelled to Austin so they may make a decision on how they want to proceed. We will support whatever decision they make and update our plans accordingly.” Music From Ireland updated their statement today, March 12th at 5:41pm, saying: Minister Catherine Martin responded Minster Catherine Martin (Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media) is also in Austin and responded to the drop-outs with a statement. “The Minister spoke this morning to many of the musicians who have withdrawn from the SXSW Festival. She outlined that she has the utmost respect for their freedom of expression as artists and reassured them that she will use every opportunity available to her to make clear her revulsion at the devastation that has been unleashed on Gaza. This includes the St Patrick’s Day consular reception in Austin tonight where she will outline to attendees the Irish Government’s calls for an immediate ceasefire, the unconditional release of all hostages and a massive and sustained increase in humanitarian aid, food and medicine to the people of Gaza.” The list of Irish acts to cancel are: The Northern Irish funded acts below also cancelled: Related Related
Niall Byrne is the founder of the most-influential Irish music site Nialler9, where he has been writing about music since 2005 . He is the cohost of the Nialler9 Podcast and has written for the Irish Times, Irish Independent, Cara Magazine, Sunday Times, Totally Dublin, Red Bull and more. Niall is a DJ, founder of Lumo Club, event curator and producer of gigs, parties & events.

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