In the wake of popular country music group Confederate Railroad getting booted from the the Du Quoin State Fair in Illinois next month reportedly because of its name, the band on Tuesday broke its silence over the issue.
The following is a statement from band leader Danny Shirley:
As many of you know, we were scheduled to perform at the Illinois State Fair in Du Quoin, Illinois, on August 27, along with our friends Restless Heart and Shenandoah. We have since been removed from that show by the Illinois Department of Agriculture because of the name of our band. This was very disappointing as we have played this fair before and enjoyed it very much. The outpouring of support from Confederate Railroad fans, fans of other acts, and the public in general, has been both overwhelming and very much appreciated. I would also like to thank the actors, athletes, and fellow country music artists who have spoken out in support. It has been brought to my attention that several people have asked both Restless Heart and Shenandoah to cancel their shows in protest of our cancellation. I have spoken to both acts and encouraged them to perform as scheduled. Live concerts are how we pay our bills and feed our families. I would never want to see another act lose a payday because of this. Please go out to hear these two great bands. As I have said many times onstage, I am by no means a saint, but I am a man of faith, and I have faith that God will see us through this as well as whatever comes next! Thank you for your support.
What's the background?
With that, Fair Manager Josh Gross told the Du Quoin Weekly that the Illinois Department of Agriculture decided to pull the plug on Confederate Railroad's scheduled performance, the station noted: "While every [artist] has a right to expression, we believe this decision is in the best interest of serving all of the people in our state."
WSIL, citing the paper, said the band was dropped from the show because of its name. A spokeswoman for Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker told The Associated Press on Tuesday that his administration prohibits using state resources "to promote symbols of racism" — and Confederate Railroad's logo features a steam locomotive flying Confederate flags.
Other artists weigh in
Shenandoah took to Facebook and blasted the move, saying political correctness is "tearing our country apart":
Outspoken country music icon Charlie Daniels didn't let the Confederate Railroad ouster go without comment:
This political correctness thing is totally out of control When a fair cancels the Confederate Railroad band becaus… https://t.co/VS5q5cI4nt— Charlie Daniels (@Charlie Daniels)1562381145.0
Oak Ridge Boys singer Joe Bonsall wasn't pleased either, calling the decision a "crock of crap":
I have played the @DuQuoinFair many times over the decades ... however, I must say that canceling @ConfederateRR JU… https://t.co/iX6FxRIuwV— Joe Bonsall (@Joe Bonsall)1562333782.0
In addition, a Facebook group called #boycottduquoinstatefair has attracted over 2,800 members as of Tuesday afternoon.
Here's Danny Shirley talking about the origin of the name Confederate Railroad:
Danny Shirley - Origins of the Name Confederate Railroad youtu.be