Squirrel Flower Takes a Stand: Withdraws from SXSW in Protest

Withdrawing from SXSW in Solidarity with Palestine

In a bold move echoing the spirit of advocacy and solidarity, Squirrel Flower’s leader, Ella Williams, has announced the project’s withdrawal from this year’s SXSW festival. Citing the festival’s ties to the defense industry and expressing staunch support for the Palestinian people, Williams emphasized her commitment to principles of justice and accountability in a statement shared on social media.

Scheduled to perform at official showcases on March 12 and 14, Squirrel Flower has opted to forgo participation in light of SXSW’s platforming of defense contractors, including subsidiaries of Raytheon and the US Army, a major festival sponsor.

Williams articulated her stance, highlighting the devastating toll of violence in Gaza and condemning the complicity of companies like Raytheon in supplying weapons to the IDF. Her decision to withdraw from SXSW stands as a resolute rejection of the festival’s association with war profiteering and a call to action for fellow musicians to join in solidarity.

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Despite the withdrawal from official showcases, Squirrel Flower remains committed to raising awareness and fostering dialogue. Williams affirmed plans to perform at unofficial showcases while encouraging them to take a vocal stand against SXSW’s practices.

The initiative by the Austin For Palestine Coalition to urge SXSW to reassess its affiliations with defense contractors reflects growing grassroots efforts to hold institutions accountable for ethical considerations in their partnerships and programming decisions.

As the music community grapples with issues of conscience and responsibility, Squirrel Flower’s principled stance serves as a poignant reminder of the power of art to amplify voices for justice and change. Let us heed the call to action, standing in solidarity with those who refuse to remain silent in the face of injustice.

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