Last week, Bruce Springsteen cancelled a show in North Carolina in protest of the state’s recently passed discriminatory HB2 legislation. Canadian artist Bryan Adams followed suit and also cancelled his show this past weekend.
Now, a number of artists are coming out against the bill but explaining why they’re still sticking to previously scheduled tour dates in North Carolina, among them Cyndi Lauper, Gregg Allman, and Jimmy Buffett. Their reasonings don’t vary much — the law is dumb, but we have fans there — but here are their explanations:
Lauper, who is scheduled to play Raleigh on 6/4, told a group of fans and paparazzi (via TMZ) when prompted: “I would play in North Carolina — people will need us there. Wherever there’s a shutout, wherever there’s people who don’t accept other people, the other people need you.”
Allman, who is playing the state tonight (4/13), offered the following in a Facebook post:
For over 45 years, I’ve been fortunate to play music all around this country and the world. I’ve been honored to know and be friends with many different people from all walks of life. Although we, as a nation, have made progress in many areas, it’s sad and infuriating that some, in 2016, are still working so hard to take the rights away from our brothers and sisters, as in the cases of “bathroom laws” recently passed in North Carolina (HB2 – Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act) and Mississippi (“Religious Liberty” bill 1523), discriminating against the LGBT community.
I know that North Carolina is a state full of good folks and loyal fans, many of whom are angry about and feel misrepresented by this action. My band and I will continue to play our show as scheduled there tomorrow, April 13, and hope that our music unites people in this challenging time. We stand in solidarity with the LGBT community urging Gov. McCrory to listen to the people and reverse this wrong.
Buffett, who plays two shows in Raleigh and Charlotte next week, also had some strong words against the bill:
As a traveling musician for 40 years, I played many shows years ago, in many states where you could go to prison for 20 years for smoking a joint. It was a stupid law based on stupid assumptions. Time has fortunately reversed a lot of that way of thinking. But now another stupid law, based on stupid assumptions, has sprung up like kudzu in North Carolina, where we are scheduled to play shows next week in Raleigh and Charlotte.
North Carolina was there for me as a performer in the early days and I have always felt a loyalty to fans there that goes deep. Rightly so, a lot of people are reacting to the stupid law. I happen to believe that the majority of our fans in North Carolina feel the way I do about that law. I am lucky enough to have found a job in the business of fun. These shows were booked and sold out long before the governor signed that stupid law. I am not going to let stupidity or bigotry trump fun for my loyal fans this year. We will be playing in Raleigh and Charlotte next week.
That said, as for the future of shows in North Carolina, it would definitely depend on whether that stupid law is repealed. That is up to the good people of North Carolina and there are many, and I am confident that they will see that the right thing will be done. As Forrest said, “Stupid is as stupid does.”
UPDATE: Ringo Starr has cancelled his 6/18 All Starr Tour show in opposition to HB2. Starr states: “I’m sorry to disappoint my fans in the area, but we need to take a stand against this hatred. Spread peace and love.” Read his statement in its entirety on his Facebook page.
UPDATE 2: Mumford & Sons have also decided not to cancel their show in Charlotte, NC tomorrow, and they’ve shared the following statement on Facebook:
We will be playing a show tomorrow in Charlotte, and recent events in North Carolina have got us talking a lot as a band the last few days, so we felt compelled to say something in advance to you.
As a band that relishes welcoming everyone to our shows and promoting tolerance, we do want to take a stand with the people of North Carolina who this week are shouting loudly against intolerance, fear and discrimination.
Over the years we’ve looked for ways to contribute to the vitality of local communities and, in that spirit, we’re now creating a charitable fund to support those who have made it their mission to pursue love and justice. We will be donating all of our profits from this show to this new fund. And we will start by making a donation from it to a local LGBTQ organisation.
As always, we will open the doors to our show to anyone who wants to come, and are excited to get down with the people of Charlotte.
M, B, W & T