Attempting to burn my SXSW bridge for a 3rd time…

From: Evan Roth
Date: 12/1/2013

Greetings ********,
I find it disturbing that it is SXSW's policy not to pay fees or cover costs to artists and speakers. To say that this is "due to the scope of our event" seems counter intuitive to me. Perhaps they are confused, it is usually SMALL events that offer little or no money. Large events, especially ones sponsored heavily from the largest peddlers of beer, caffeine and cars ( are the ones that should be paying at least a minimum wage to the talent that make up the event.

I hope in the future as artists lay homeless in the streets eating somebody else's leftover Chinese food, they can close their eyes, turn their face towards the sun and remember fondly that time they were featured on the SXSW mobile app.

I know this is not your policy, but if you could please pass the message up the chain of command that this "compensation" is insulting and the Internet is publicly ridiculing them.

For reference, here are my past SXSW rejection letters (of which this one will join shortly):

I think Hitler, however, says it better:

Thanks again. I know your personal invitation comes from an honest place (and I appreciate that), but I can't support a system that shows such little respect to creative people.

All the best,

From: SXSW
To: Evan Roth
Date: 11/7/2013

Hi Evan,

Thanks for getting back to me. This year SXSW takes place March 7th-16th in Austin, TX. The stage where we have a speaking slot available runs Sunday March 9th – Tuesday March 12th, and currently we have slots on each day still.

Last season SXSW had 65,000+ registered attendees representing nearly 70 countries. Overall, our audience is diverse and ranges from designers, musicians and filmmakers, to entrepreneurs, innovators and thought-leaders.

Next Stage focuses on new media projects that cross industry boundaries, as well as explores the common themes between film, music and interactive. We often focus on creative platforms for telling stories, and I think your work explores new ways to communicate very well. It’s inspiring, and would really resonate with our audience.

We can offer complimentary SXSW registrations, as well as promotion on, the official SXSW schedule, mobile app listings, SXSW pocket guides and onsite signage. It is SXSW policy across all our conferences that we don’t cover costs for speakers due to the scope of our event unfortunately. However, I am working to develop an art element at SXSW by creating a fund to offer grants for art installations. I will definitely enter your name/F.A.T. into the running. I’m hoping to have all the mechanics in place by end of the month and start working on the grant program in December.

As soon as I have more info on the artist grant program I will let you know.