[UPDATE] Confederate Railroad’s Ulster County Fair Performance Canceled
Update: Confederate Railroad's performance at the Ulster County Fair has been canceled following concerns raised about the band's name, the Associated Press is reporting.
Controversy is growing after a Grammy-nominated band with a name that some say is racist was booked to perform in the Hudson Valley.
Confederate Railroad is scheduled to perform at the Ulster County Fair on Thursday, August 1 at 8 p.m.
The country-rock group was recently dropped from performing at an upcoming fair in Illinois due to their name, Taste of Country reports. The band later confirmed they were removed from the fair because of their name.
“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,” frontman Danny Shirley said in a statement, according to Country Music Family.
Now residents in the Hudson Valley are hoping officials in Ulster County do the same.
"In case you were wondering...yes it's Racist to have a band called Confederate Railroad play at the Ulster County Fair... what were organizers thinking when they booked an act that had been booted by the Illinois State Fair because of not only their name, but their use of the confederate flag? Guarantee no folks of color were at that table," Rashida Tyler wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Tom O'Dowd started a Change.org petition asking the Ulster County Agricultural Society to cancel the band's performance in Ulster County.
"Want a racist band at The Ulster County Fair? Of course not! The Ulster County Ag Society needs to denounce this blatant racism and cancel this band! Confederate symbols in the band name and posters (to say nothing of confederate merchandise at the fair) is traumutizing to many people especially people of color," O'Dowd wrote on his Change.Org petition. "These symbols are also simply the opposite of patriotic! Let them know this band is not representative of our values!"
March Gallagher, a candidate for Ulster County Comptroller, shared a letter she sent to officials in Ulster County asking for the band's performance to be canceled.
"Display and sale of the confederate flag is deeply offensive to people of color and their allies. The Ulster County Fair will not be able to serve as "Your Ticket to Family Fun" to thousands of Ulster County families in light of both the name Confederate Railroad and their display of confederate symbols, Gallagher wrote. "My concerns extend further to the sale of confederate merchandise which I believe should be banned from the Fair. There are many ways to share and appreciate county, rural and agricultural themes and ideas without paying homage to a dehumanizing symbol."
Confederate Railroad formed in the Atlanta area in the late 1980s and starting getting mainstream attention from their self-titled debut album in 1992, which had many hits including “Trashy Women,” "She Took It Like A Man,” “Jesus and Mama,” and “Queen of Memphis.” The group was nominated for a Grammy in 1993.
"This political correctness thing is totally out of control," American singer-songwriter Charlie Daniels tweeted. "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."
A request for a comment from the Ulster County Agricultural Society has yet to be returned as of this writing. We will update this article if we hear back.