Community activist Christoper HIcks is outraged that the Illinois Department of Agriculture has cancelled the band Confederate Railroad's booking to appear at the DuQuoin State Fair on August 27. The band's logo features Confederate flags flying on a steam locomotive.
“It is a downright petty decision for the Illinois Department of Agriculture to remove Confederate Railroad from the show,” Hicks said. “People need to get tougher skin and stop being such whiny little snowflakes.”
The band has played the state fair in the past without incident, Hicks said. Confederate Railroad had been set to open the DuQuoin fair as part of the “90s Country ReLoaded Day” music show.
Christopher Hicks | ballotpedia
On July 25, a fair in Ulster, New York, announced the cancellation of a scheduled Confederate Railroad concert after concerned locals circulated a petition against the concert.
"Confederate Railroad's Aug. 1 date at the Ulster County Fair in New York's Hudson Valley has been canceled," a spokesman for Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan said in a statement.
Hicks believes the right to display a Confederate flag is a free-speech issue, but Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration disagrees.
“Symbols of hate cannot and will not represent the values of the Land of Lincoln,” Pritzker’s spokesperson, Jordan Abudayyeh, said in a statement.
Hicks does not consider the band’s logo to be a racist emblem. He said the decision to cancel Confederate Railroad while showcasing rapper Snoop Dogg, whose lyrics are often about drugs, violence, crime and the degradation of women, makes no sense.
“Snoop Dogg released a 2017 EP titled ‘Make America Crip Again’ that depicted a dead President Trump draped in an American flag, but the Illinois Department of Agriculture doesn’t see that to be an issue,” Hicks said.
Hicks expects other disappointed Confederate Railroad fans to boycott the fair this year in protest. He points to a Facebook group called #boycottduquoinstatefair, which was started by music fan Larry Dean Basler, as evidence of the backlash.
Meanwhile, a Harley Davidson dealer in Carbondale has stepped forward to hire Confederate Railroad for a concert in Marion. The band will play at Black Diamond Harley-Davidson on Thursday, Sept. 5, co-owner Shad Zimbro said.
Confederate Railroad was formed in Atlanta in 1987. The band's hits from the '90s include "Jesus and Mama," "Queen of Memphis," "Daddy Never Was the Cadillac Kind," and "Elvis and Andy."