A Southern rock band called Confederate Railroad is firing back after it was barred from performing at an upcoming state fair in Illinois over its name and use of the Confederate flag.
Formed in 1987 in Atlanta, Ga., Confederate Railroad was tapped to play the Du Quoin State Fair on Aug. 27 in Du Quoin, Ill. as part of “90s Country ReLoaded Day,” the New York Post first reported, citing local media.
In a statement to Fox News, the band confirmed they have been removed from the show by the Illinois Department of Agriculture because of the name of the band.
“This was very disappointing as we have played this fair before and enjoyed it very much," read the lengthy statement by lead singer Danny Shirley. "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."
The statement continued: “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!" Shirley wrote.
The band’s response came after their performance cancelation was first addressed by the fair’s manager, Josh Gross, in a statement provided to the Du Quoin Weekly, the Southern Illinoisan reported.
“The Illinois Department of Agriculture has removed Confederate Railroad from our 2019 Du Quoin State Fair Grandstand lineup,” Gross said. “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.”
When reached for comment by the Southern Illinoisan, the state Department of Agriculture declined to iterate when the band was initially booked, whose decision it was to pull the act or why Confederate Railroad was removed from the lineup, according to The New York Post.
Fellow musician and country music legend Charlie Daniels was one of many to voice their displeasure with the State Fair’s decision to ax the rock group, writing in a tweet on July 5, “This political correctness thing is totally out of control.”
“When a fair cancels the Confederate Railroad band because of their name its giving in to facism [sic], plain and simple and our freedom disappears piece by piece. Sick of it,” read the tweet.
A Facebook group has since been created over the band’s treatment and had garnered nearly 2,800 members as of Tuesday.
Among others irate over Confederate Railroad’s cancelation is Oak Ridge Boys member Joe Bonsall, who summoned the man upstairs to help with his disbelief.
“I have played the @DuQuoinFair many times over the decades ... however, I must say that canceling @ConfederateRR JUST because their name is CONFEDERATE RAILROAD is a crock of crap!!! These are good men singing good songs... God please help us all ...” wrote the singer and banjo player who provided a local newspaper clipping detailing the banishment.
However, all is not lost for fans of Confederate Railroad, as the Southern Illinoisan reported that other venues in the region are working to book the rock and country band for a makeup show.
“To me, this isn’t about getting people to our business. If whoever else in Southern Illinois ends up bringing them in, I won’t be mad. This is about Southern Illinois proving a point,” Joe McKinney, the manager of entertainment at the local Field of Dreams event venue, told the news outlet.
“This choice was made by a select few up north who are offended, instead of what the majority want, and the band was completely disrespected.”