“Bathroom Law” fuels rock show cancellations

Pearl Jam, Boston join Springsteen, Ringo, citing “despicable law” & “bigotry”

By Gary Graff
April 20, 2016

A couple of major rock acts have delivered more hits to North Carolina in the wake of the state’s controversial new “bathroom law” by canceling concerts there.

Pearl Jam has bowed out of its show Wednesday, April 20, in Raleigh calling HB2, which legislates what gender bathrooms people can use, a “despicable piece of legislation that encourages discrimination against an entire group of American citizens. The practical implications are expansive and its negative impact upon basic human rights is profound.” Pearl Jam added that it decided to cancel the show because “we must take a stand against prejudice.”

Boston, meanwhile, has canceled three North Carolina stops – May 4 in Charlotte, May 5 in Greensboro and May 6 in Raleigh – all part of a tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of the group’s debut album. In a statement, band founder and guitarist Tom Scholz said that HB2 “has the appearance of an oppressive, discriminatory law against a small minority, who already have to deal with a narrow-minded world regarding issues beyond their control which they did nothing to bring upon themselves.” He also says the act encourages “bigotry.”

Pearl Jam and Boston join Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and Against Me! in canceling shows in North Carolina; other acts, such as Mumford and Sons, Jimmy Buffett and Gregg Allman have gone ahead with their shows but publicly criticized the law and/or donated proceeds from their shows to LGBTQ groups fighting HB2. The state’s promoters are braced for more cancellations in the near future.