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Kneecap and Sprints join list of artists boycotting SXSW 2024

Kneecap and Sprints are the latest artists to announce their withdrawal from this year’s South By Southwest Festival in solidarity with Palestine.

  • READ MORE: SXSW 2023: the most exciting artists we caught at the Austin festival

The Irish artists join the likes of Lambrini Girls, Scowl, Gel, Okay Shalom and Squirrelflower in pulling out of performing at the festival due to the event’s association with the US army and weapons companies amid the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The annual music, culture and arts showcase takes place in Austin, Texas from March 12-14.

Belfast hip-hop trio Kneecap shared in a statement yesterday (March 10) that their decision to not perform was made “in solidarity with the people of Palestine”.

They also highlighted the “unacceptable deep links” the festival had to the US army – which is a “super sponsor” of the event – and defence contractor RTX Corporation, which has supplied weapons to Israel.

The group added that the US military and other platformed weapons companies who are “at this very moment are enabling a genocide and famine against a trapped population”.

The band continued that their decision would have a “significant financial impact” on them, but that it wasn’t “an iota of hardship when compared with the unimaginable suffering being inflicted every minute of every day on the people of Gaza”.

Kneecap also cited the platforming of collins Aerospace and BAE Systems as a reason for their boycott, adding that collectively with RTX, the companies were selling the weapons that have “murdered 31,000 Palestinians, over 21,000 of them women and children”.

Sprints made their own statement this morning (March 11) in which they announced their withdrawal, writing: “In solidarity with the Palestinian people and as a stand against the US Army sponsorship and Defence contractor involvement in this year’s festival, we will no longer be performing at SXSW or taking part in any official SXSW showcases or shows.

“The withdrawals follow Lambrini Girls’ own statement, who said they “can’t affiliate ourselves whatsoever” with the event.

“For transparency, the reason it’s taken us a few days to pull out the festival is because we received funding from PRS Foundation to play,” they wrote.

“We were trying to find a way to out of the situation whilst keeping our moral integrity in tact and not having to repay thousands of pounds at the same time.”

“That really just isn’t possible. Money has to be repaid and we can’t affiliate ourselves whatsoever with SXSW. Without our solidarity becoming totally inauthentic.”

“We were considering going to the festival and protesting on stage, but there isn’t a way to do that doesn’t feel performative or inherently exploitative.”

Scowl and Gel pulled out before that, with the former writing: “We refuse to be complicit in the face of genocide in Palestine. We refuse to participate in the war machine.”

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