July 8, 2019 at 11:55 AM CDT
Updated July 9 at 12:34 PM
DU QUOIN, Ill. (Heartland News at 9) - The country rock-southern rock band Confederate Railroad has been removed from the 2019 Du Quoin State Fair grandstand lineup.
In a released statement, the Illinois Department of Agriculture said, “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.”
The Illinois Dept. of Ag. would not comment on if the name of the band was the reason it was pulled from the scheduled entertainment.
Confederate Railroad had been announced in June to perform Tuesday, August 27 along with Shenandoah with Restless Heart.
The band released a statement on the concert cancellation on Tuesday, July 9.
“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.”
-Danny Shirley, Confederate Railroad
Some country music artists reacted to the decision.
Joe Bonsall, a member of the Oak Ridge Boys, also tweeted. He said he has played the Du Quoin State Fair many times over the decades, but said, “...canceling Confederate Railroad just because their name is Confederate Railroad is a crock of crap. These are good men singing good songs...God please help us all..."
Illinois State Representative Terri Bryant also took to social media to share her thoughts about the decision. Bryant expressed that if Confederate Railroad was canceled, Snoop Dog’s act should be canceled as well.
According to Confederate Railroad’s Facebook page, the band will be performing at multiple fairs nationwide throughout the summer and fall, including the Hardin County Fair in Glendale, Kentucky on Tuesday, July 9.
Confederate Railroad is known for the following songs: “Queen of Memphis,” “When You Leave That Way You Can Never Go Back,” “Trashy Women" and “She Never Cried.”
For many on social media, the news of the cancellation is not rubbing them the right way. Many echo the kind of concern Daniels showed, saying this move is too politically correct.
On the Du Quoin State Fair Facebook page, most recent posts are riddled with angry comments, some going as far as boycotting the entire fair.
For many businesses in Du Quoin, the State Fair is one of the biggest business boosters of the year.
Dilip Patel is a manager at the Super 8 just down the road from the State Fairgrounds. He said he’s not the biggest country music fan but doesn’t have a huge problem with the name of the band. However, he doesn’t like the idea of people boycotting just because one band was canceled.
“We always wait for the Du Quoin Fair because it’s always busy and it brings a lot of business at all the hotels and in the town,” he said. “If we boycott like that, it’s going to impact everyone in the business.”
While Patel remains fairly neutral on the cancellation, he would like to see the State Fair do something to make the patrons happy so the resulting business in town isn’t affected.
“If it’s canceled, they should replace another one or bring back the same one,” he said, “or do something else that’s going to bring people into town.”
Click here for the rest of the lineup of the 2019 Du Quoins State Fair grandstand lineup.