DUQUOIN, Ill. (WICS) – Controversy is sweeping across Illinois, after the state fair in Du Quoin decided to pull a decades-old band from their lineup.
Six bands are set to take over the Grandstand in August. However, there was supposed to be one more band, the Nashville-based group Confederate Railroad.
This group has been performing since 1984.
Due to the word ‘confederate’, they’re no longer playing.
In a statement released by the Illinois Department of Agriculture it states, “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.”
When reaching out to the band for a comment they did confirm the decision was made due to their name and this isn’t the first time it’s happened.
However, they have to wait for confirmation from their agency to make any further comments.
Residents across central Illinois had different opinions.
“I really feel that a band coming to the fairgrounds that that name will cause a lot of problems,” said Simona White, a Springfield resident.
Others believe removing the band violates constitutional rights.
“I believe that in America we have free speech,” said Joseph Katalinach, a Springfield resident.
Regardless of who thinks what, the band won’t be performing.
When asking the Department of Agriculture their protocol for choosing the lineup they were not commenting at this time.
Confederate Railroad released the following statement:
“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