Mr. Roland Swenson,

In your response to the deportation clause on your agreement contract you stated that it is not as harsh as it appears. Sir, any threat by deportation IS harsh and therefore, your actions and rules are as harsh as they appear.

If you are truly concerned with immigration and the Muslim ban, then you should simply never threaten anyone by calling immigration.

You host a festival in a community full of undocumented people. In your statement, you didn’t you mention Trump’s ICE raids, and seems that you mention the Muslim ban only because, such ban could keep artists participating at SXSW from coming to the festival. I applaud you for opening a space for this, but you revert your efforts when you have such a racist and draconian clause threating to deport artists. It’s not only about artists visiting from other countries, but also about the plight of those who are undocumented who are either participating in your festival or attending it.

Furthermore, you are in the middle of Texas, sir, a state ravaged by ICE raids and separation of families. You either do not understand immigration issues or fail to see your lack of sensitivity to it. It is irresponsible to use Austin as a playground without understanding the revolving history of family separation in the Mexican community, particularly in the Southwest.

If your festival is inviting, the language around deportation, is not.
If your festival is inclusive, threatening deportation is the opposite.
Music is bound only by the freedom of expression and the ability to transcend politics that includes transcending borders. You do the opposite when you attach divisive language around your festival…and worse, when you threaten people (as they are human before artists) with deportation.

I think its absolute bullshit that you would use deportation as a way to keep artists “in-line” with your policy. It seems to me that your performance agreement 1.4 is more of a scare tactic to keep artists from performing unofficial showcases than advisory about immigration policy. A line like, “don’t do anything stupid because you may get arrested,” may seem more appropriate for artists at SXSW. I have been an “official” showcase artist a couple of years back and know that my suggestion is more in line with the reality at SXSW. Your clause is not in the interest of the artists.

As you will soon see and feel, many artists will speak against your approach regarding this and your attempt to explain your logic behind your clause. Get rid of it and truly immerse yourself in knowing that music and art in general, has the capacity to bring people together and breaking down borders.

Any comments or concerns, reach me directly at

Artist following the words of Nina Simone,


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