CARBONDALE – The national rock band Confederate Railroad has scheduled a new show in southern Illinois after its reservation was canceled at the Du Quoin Fair on the band's name and the use of the Confederate flag on promotional material .
The group will play Marion at the Black Diamond Harley-Davidson on Thursday, September 5, according to co-owner Shad Zimbro.
Already, the excitement is palpable, said Zimbro.
"We had some great acts, from Hank Jr. to Toby Keith, to Kid Rock," Zimbro said. "I think I already had more phone calls about this show than any of those shows."
The Southern had previously reported rumors that a "radius clause" in the group's deal with the Du Quoin Fair would prevent it from playing in southern Illinois for 60 days from the date original of the show, August 27th.
Fortunately, said Zimbro, the state has let the Confederate Railroad evade this clause, thus allowing the show on September 5. He and his team chose the date of September 5 to ensure that the band's show would not compete with the entertainment offerings at the Quoit State Fair.
"I'm a big supporter of live music in Southern Illinois. I do not want people boycotting the fair, "Zimbro said. "I hope people are going to their shows again."
Calls to boycott the fair intensified as the band's cancellation sparked a state-wide debate over freedom of expression and the modern sense of the Confederate flag.
Dave Severin and Terri Bryant, several local politicians, accused the governor's administration, J. B. Pritzker, of hypocrisy for canceling the group while allowing other potentially offensive acts to occur at state fairs.
The administration responded that the Confederate flag is categorically different from other types of controversial freedom of expression.
"The guiding principle of this administration is that the state of Illinois will not use its resources to promote the symbols of racism. Symbols of hatred can not and will not represent Lincoln's country values, "Pritzker spokesman Jordan Abudayyeh wrote in a statement.
Meanwhile, a Facebook group created on July 4, called #boycottduquoinstatefair, now has more than 4,500 members, although its organizer, Larry Dean Basler, does not know how many of these users are southern residents. Illinois that could actually boycott the site. just.
Now Bryant, Severin, Senator Paul Schimpf and other local politicians are trying to avoid a possible boycott, although they have agreed with many protesters that the cancellation was unfair.
Their fear, they say, is the significant financial impact that a boycott could have on Quoin Fair, already in trouble.
"It is understandable that many want to boycott the fair Du Quoin. I am afraid that such a boycott will not harm the economy of southern Illinois and will unfairly punish the small businesses that rely on the fair to keep employees in the job market, "he said. Bryant wrote to Facebook subscribers in a message that would have affected at least 135,000 people. "These small businesses have not in any way caused any boycott."
On the financial side, the national fairs at Du Quoin and Springfield have long been difficult.
In 2016, The Southern announced that the Du Quoin Fair had increased revenue by 15%, significantly reduced costs and resulted in a net loss of $ 33,190.
It was the smallest amount the fair had lost since at least 2003.
The analysis of the conservative Illinois Policy Institute think tank revealed that between fiscal years 2001 and 2009, the Du Quoin and Springfield State Fairs lost more than $ 41.8 million.
Efforts to confirm with the Ministry of Agriculture and the governor's office whether the fairs have continued to lose money since 2016 were unsuccessful on Wednesday.
Nevertheless, this legacy worries politicians in southern Illinois for their fair, which is significantly less important than its Springfield counterpart.
"The boycott of the fair may actually have a result desired by this administration.A fair that fails may mean that they will be more easily able to justify its complete closure," said Rep. Dave Severin in a Facebook message opposed to a boycott.
Pritzker's administration gave no indication as to the Quoin Fair's threat, acknowledged Severin, but the derisory funding she receives compared to her Springfield counterpart – including a budget of entertainment almost 10 times smaller – makes it vulnerable.
The governor's spokesman assured that he was "determined to support the Du Quoin Fair, as it creates important economic opportunities for residents and businesses of southern Illinois," in a statement. Wednesday afternoon.
Instead of boycotting, Bryant suggests frustrated voters to consume selectively at the fair.
"Do not forget that many non-profit organizations organize their main fundraising activity at the show," she said, along with Special Olympics, which runs its annual Ducky Derby. "If you want to send a message to the state, park somewhere else and go to the fairground, but support these non-profit organizations."
Bryant also encouraged local vendors to show that they came from southern Illinois so that visitors could help them.
In the Facebook group #boycottduquoinstatefair, opinions are divided on the best way to protest the decision of the Pritzker administration.
Some, like Basler, are calling for a total boycott of this year's event. Others called for a boycott on August 27th only. Still others suggest a demonstration at the fair.
According to Basler, a blow in the wallet is the most effective way to show Pritzker that people in southern Illinois do not like his censorship.
"It's our fair," said Basler, funded largely by taxpayer dollars. "Instead of northern politicians stuffing their agendas into the throat, you should care about southern Illinois and what people here like."
Pritzker tackled the issue for the first time on Wednesday, drawing a clear distinction between other potentially offending fair-trade artists, like rapper Snoop Dogg, and the display of the Confederate flag.
"There is a big difference between what I just described and the hundreds of thousands of people [who] deceased; millions, in fact tens of millions of people, have been enslaved. We are talking about a story, a terrible story in the United States, "Pritzker told the Chicago Sun-Times. "The death and destruction that took place under this flag – and on the other side, the political satire."
The state must still pay Confederate Railroad all of the $ 7,500 guaranteed in its contract of execution, according to Capitol Fax.
Danny Shirley, the group's lead vocalist, encouraged residents of southern Illinois to attend the fair, despite the "very disappointing" cancellation.
"It has been brought to my attention that several people have asked Restless Heart and Shenandoah to cancel their shows to protest our cancellation," Shirley said in a statement. "I've talked about both acts and encouraged them to perform as expected." Live concerts are the way we pay our bills and feed our families. "I would never want to see another act lose a payday. Because of that, please go out to hear these two big groups.