SXSW has issued an official response to today's news that Brooklyn-based band Told Slant had canceled their appearance at this year's music festival after noticing that their contract stated the festival could notify US immigration authorities if SXSW determined that “[participating] acts or their representatives have acted in ways that adversely affect the viability of their official SXSW showcase." This could include acts playing non-sanctioned SXSW shows, something that happens every year at the festival.
SXSW CEO and co-founder Roland Swenson said in a statement (full text below), however, that the festival has never in its history "reported international showcasing artists to immigration authorities" — and that the rule's intention was to be a safeguard to "provide SXSW with a means to respond to an act that does something truly egregious, such as disobeying our rules about pyrotechnics on stage, starting a brawl in a club, or causing serious safety issues."
Playing an unofficial showcase is something SXSW has stipulated against in its contract for 20 years but has never reported to immigrations authorities. "Those acts coming to SXSW to perform without a work visa are limited by U.S. immigration law to performing their showcase event only," Swenson cited from the SXSW Performance Agreement. "If an artist wishes to perform elsewhere, they will require a work visa."