SCOTTISH music promoters have said they "struggle to see how we could return" to a US music festival due to its connections to the ongoing assault of Palestinians in Gaza.

It comes after controversy surrounded the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, an annual gathering of cultural festivals in Austin, Texas and one of the largest of its kind in the world. It is known for giving new artists the opportunity to impress influential figures within the industry.

However, this year’s event was marred after dozens of artists cancelled their appearances due to the festival’s connections to the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).

The US Army – which provides billions in military aid to Israel – is one of the festival’s so-called “super sponsors” and SXSW also has a partnership with private defence contractor RTX, formerly known as Raytheon, which is known supplier of weapons to the Israeli military.

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The boycott started earlier this month and resulted in more than 60 artists cancelling their appearance.

They included every band scheduled to play in the Music From Ireland showcase, with hip hop band Kneecap calling the decision a “no brainer”.

However, the showcase of Scottish bands organised by Wide Events – who run the Wide Days music festival as well as offering a talent development programme – went ahead as planned despite some calling for the bands to join the boycott.

Creative Scotland provided funding to Wide Events and the PRS Foundation’s International Showcase Fund, which helps emerging artists perform at some of the world’s biggest music festivals and events.

The National: Scottish band Neon Waltz pulled out of their scheduled SXSW performancesScottish band Neon Waltz pulled out of their scheduled SXSW performances (Image: Wide Days)

But podcaster Mark McGhee said artists set to perform at the festival had been placed in a difficult position as, while some funding was provided, many bands will have paid for their own flights and accommodation.

“There’s no doubt that the blame lies with the SXSW festival,” he said.

“Because now they’ve put artists in such a difficult position. They’ve put agencies like Creative Scotland and Wide Days in a very difficult position.

“I don’t think every single artist should have to [boycott]. I think that should lie with their own morals and how much empathy they have for other human beings on the other side of the world.

“But if they decided that they wanted to cancel, I think Creative Scotland and Wide Days should offer them another festival slot.”

One Scottish band, Neon Waltz, pulled out after playing their first show at SXSW on Monday, March 11.

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In a statement, the band said they could not be “complicit in the horror being inflicted upon the Palestinian people”, adding that they regretted playing even a single show at the festival.

According to Wide Days, other bands in the showcase either made statements during their performances or pulled out entirely.

VLURE – a five-piece band from Glasgow – told The National they also chose not to perform at SXSW.

A spokesperson said: “VLURE did not perform at SXSW. VLURE removed themselves from all SXSW events on Tuesday, March 12.

“Their positions remains in solidarity with the innocent people of Gaza."

Over the years Wide Days has helped promote various Scottish artists at SXSW, including Joesef (below), Hamish Hawk, and Brooke Combe.

The National: Acts such as Joesef have previously performed at the Scotland showcase at SXSWActs such as Joesef have previously performed at the Scotland showcase at SXSW

However, a spokesperson for the company said SXSW’s connections to the US Army and arms companies would make it difficult to return if nothing changes.

“Our role at SXSW is to support Scottish artists and our priority was to ensure that they felt they had our backing to respond in a way which they felt most appropriate,” they said.

“Each act took a different approach, but all chose to speak out publicly or make a statement.

“Since returning, we have continued contact with the artists and other UK music organisations.

“We will be reconsidering our future involvement with SXSW, but struggle to see how we could return if the event’s sponsorship position remains unchanged.”

A spokesperson for Creative Scotland said: “Creative Scotland doesn’t have a direct funding relationship with SXSW Festival.

“We support artists to attend and showcase their work via funding to PRS Foundation’s International Showcase Fund and to Wide Events.

“It is for artists to do what is right for them and we support them in making these decisions”.