SXSW has dropped the U.S. Army and defense contractor RTX Corporation as sponsors for the 2025 festival, set to return to Austin, TX March 7th–15th. This decision comes after the 2024 edition of the multidisciplinary festival was marred by cancelations and protests by artists following Israel’s U.S.-backed invasion of Gaza.

“After careful consideration, we are revising our sponsorship model,” SXSW wrote in a brief statement on its support page. “As a result, the US Army, and companies who engage in weapons manufacturing, will not be sponsors of SXSW 2025.”

The festival drew controversy and the ire of artists this year when it was revealed that the U.S. Army and Collins Aerospace, a subsidiary of weapons manufacturer RTX Corporation, were financial supporters of the festival. In protest over 80 artists withdrew from the SXSW lineup, leaving sizable gaps in programming. The event defended its decision, stating, “The defense industry has historically been a proving ground for many of the systems we rely on today. These institutions are often leaders in emerging technologies, and we believe it’s better to understand how their approach will impact our lives.”

“The Army’s sponsorship is part of our commitment to bring forward ideas that shape our world,” the festival wrote on social media. “In regard to Collins Aerospace, they participated this year as a sponsor of two SXSW Pitch categories, giving entrepreneurs visibility and funding for potentially game-changing work.”

Meanwhile, Texas Governor Greg Abbott told those artists who canceled, “Bye. Don’t come back. … We are proud of the U.S. military in Texas. If you don’t like it, don’t come here.” The festival attempted to distance itself from the conservative governor by posting, “SXSW does not agree with Governor Abbott,” though still proceeded with the Army-backed event.