07/09/2019 UPDATE: Country rock band Confederate Railroad confirmed that it was dropped from the lineup at the Du Quoin State Fair in Illinois because of its name.
The group’s founder and frontman Danny Shirley wrote in a statement on the band’s website on Tuesday that the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s decision was “very disappointing as we have played this fair before and enjoyed it very much.”
While the Illinois Department of Agriculture declined to confirm the band’s statement to Yahoo Entertainment on Tuesday, fans are still furious. According to The Southern Illinoisan, some are planning a boycott of the state fair and created a Facebook group called #boycottduquoinstatefair to protest together.
“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.” Shirley wrote in his statement. “I have faith that God will see us through this as well as whatever comes next!”
Despite the fact that Confederate Railroad is no longer performing at the fair, Shirley still wants the other bands set to perform — Restless Heart and Shenandoah — to play and encouraged fans to attend the fair as well.
“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,” the statement reads. “Please go out to hear these two great bands.”
Fans of the country rock group Confederate Railroad are outraged after the band was dropped from the lineup at an Illinois state fair.
The band was slated to perform at the Du Quoin State Fair in Du Quoin, Ill. on Aug. 27 for “90s Country Reloaded Day,” but have since been removed from the fair lineup. While it is not immediately clear what the rationale behind the change was, some believe the decision was made because the band’s name was deemed inappropriate.
Fellow country artists Charlie Daniels and Joe Bonsall, a member of the Oak Ridge Boys, took to Twitter to speak out about how “political correctness” is “out of control,” and how it’s unfair to cancel a group of talented artists because of their band’s name.
This political correctness thing is totally out of control— Charlie Daniels (@CharlieDaniels) July 6, 2019
When a fair cancels the Confederate Railroad band because of their name its giving in to facism, plain and simple and our freedom disappears piece by piece.
Sick of it.
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 ... pic.twitter.com/EG32tCPbMC— Joe Bonsall (@joebonsall) July 5, 2019
Fans echoed the same thoughts on social media, emphasizing how people need to focus on the music and not whether people will be offended.
“Confederate Railroad plays some very good music! I’m so disgusted with all this politically correct nonsense. I don’t care what one does, someone wont like it and possibly be offended by it,” one person wrote. “That’s life. Whoever’s offended needs to put on their big kid pants and move on.”
Another supporter pointed out that the band is more than a name. “This is horrible! These guys have done SO much for charity and have been amazing people since the beginning! I could care less your political affiliations...these guys are some of the most genuine in country music!” the comment reads.
However, it’s uncertain if Confederate Railroad was actually pulled from the fair because of its name.
The Du Quoin State Fairgrounds is owned and operated by the state. Illinois Department of Agriculture public information officer Krista Lisser confirms to Yahoo Lifestyle that Confederate Railroad was removed from the 2019 Du Quoin State Fair grandstand lineup.
She declined to clarify the reasoning or provide additional information behind the move.
“While every artist has a right to expression, we believe this decision is in the best interest of serving all the people of our state,” Lisser says.
WSIL-TV reported the band’s removal may have been influenced by Rich Miller, who publishes Capitol Fax, a local Illinois political website and newsletter. In a June 17 post, Miller asked readers whether they believe the band is an appropriate choice for the fair.
“A band named Confederate Railroad. In Illinois. The Land of Lincoln. Playing at a state-owned facility,” his post reads. “I’ve never heard anyone claim that the group has Confederacy-loving song lyrics or anything. It’s just… well… Allow me to turn this one over to you…”
His audience responded —and one person wrote that if the band plays good music, there’s no reason to focus on its name.
“If they have a good track record why not. Name will probably have to be changed sooner or later though,” a comment reads.
“It’s a band, not a Confederate statue. Let them play,” another added.
Rich Miller and representatives from Confederate Railroad and Du Quoin State Fair did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.
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