Why Artists are Cancelling Shows in North Carolina

Many fans have been left disappointed and confused over their favourite artists cancelling appearances in North Carolina following the passing of a law. So here at CelebMix, we’ve decided to help shed a little light onto what is happening.

Some celebrities have cancelled appearances in North Carolina altogether until the new HB2 law, which has been put in place in North Carolina, is thrown out. Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas have cancelled shows in Charlotte (June 30th) and Raleigh (July 2nd). Ex-Beatles member, Ringo Starr, announced on April 13th that he was cancelling his All Starr (June 18th) gig in Cary, North Carolina. Bruce Springsteen was due to play Greensboro on Sunday 10th April however he has cancelled his show. US rock band Pearl Jam cancelled their concert in Raleigh (April 20th). Ani DiFranco cancelled her participation in a July 4th concert and US band Boston cancelled gigs in Charlotte (5th April), Greensboro (5th May) and Raleigh (5th June).

Other artists have chosen to take a different stand against the law by going ahead with concerts but donating all proceeds to LGBT support groups in an attempt to repeal the law. Artists such as Laura Jane Grace, a transgender musician, is going ahead with her May 15th concert in Durham, North Carolina but is turning her gig into a “form of protest” in a full event dedicated to LGBT rights. Cyndi Lauper has said that she will be donating the proceeds from her concert to a LGBT support group Equality North Carolina. Jimmy Buffett has said in a statement he will not play anymore North Carolina concerts until the law is repealed. Duran Duran didn’t cancel their April 17th performance however, they released a statement in favour of the LGBT community with a petition attached to their statement to be signed by fans who are against the newly passed law and Mumford and Sons decided to go ahead with their April 14th concert but they announced in a statement on April 13th on Facebook that they would be donating all the proceeds of that concert to a local LGBT organisation. Broadway composer, Stephen Schwartz, has also taken a stand and has asked for all North Carolina theatres to stop performances of any musicals that he has written including popular title Wicked. Major companies such as Apple, PayPal and The NCAA (The National Collegiate Athletic Association) have also expressed their unhappiness at the HB2 law and Google have responded with a map of “safe bathrooms” where all bathrooms that businesses have declared accessible for all people are shown, see the map here.

What is the HB2 Law?

HB2 (also known as House Bill 2) is officially called The Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act. The HB2 law was signed  off as an official law in the US state of North Carolina by Governor Pat McCrory after it passed a general assembly vote. The law was passed on March 23rd, 2016.


What does the HB2 Law actually say?

Why Artists are Cancelling Shows in North Carolina 1Why Artists are Cancelling Shows in North Carolina 2


What does the HB2 Law mean for the LGBT community?

The law requires bathrooms, in public facilities such as stadiums for concerts, to be used by people based on the gender on their birth certificate and not based on the gender that individuals identify with.

HB2, while known as “The Bathroom Bill” on social media, has a much bigger impact on the LGBT community than bathrooms. It also reduces their legal rights. The law means that local governments within North Carolina cannot put into practice any non-discrimination laws which is not only problematic for the LGBT community but also for anybody who feels that they have been discriminated because of their sexuality, religion, gender, disability, gender identification or race.

What have people ACTUALLY said about the law?

The U.S Department of Justice spokesperson, Loretta Lynch, announced in May that they were filing a Federal Civil Rights lawsuit against the state of North Carolina, Gov. Pat McCrory, The North Carolina Dept. of Public Safety and the University of North Carolina due to the enforcement of HB2. The U.S Department of Justice says that they wish to put a state-wide bar on the bill so that it can’t be enforced. The U.S Department of Justice also openly stated in their media address that they reserve the right to “curtail federal funding to the North Carolina state Dept. of Public Safety and the University of North Carolina” if they feel that a law is dangerous and could harm the people they are meant to protect.

Gov. Pat McCrory said in an online Q and A page on the NC Governor website (a website run in favour of NC governors) that “This law simply says people must use the bathroom of the sex listed on their birth certificate. Anyone who has undergone a sex change can change their sex on their birth certificate.” which poses its own problems on many levels as gender reassignment surgery is incredibly expensive and can also be dangerous for people with certain health conditions to undergo, therefore preventing a person from changing their sex to a point where they cannot legally change the gender on their birth certificate. Another problem is that some people live in states whereby laws state that a person is not allowed to change the gender on their birth certificate and those individuals could potentially be guests in North Carolina attending a concert and not able to use the facilities according to the gender they identify with.

Why are bands and artists cancelling concerts?

Artists such as Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato have stated why they chose to cancel their North Carolina appearances in a statement photo Tweeted from both Demi and Nick’s Twitter accounts:

Why Artists are Cancelling Shows in North Carolina 1


Cancelling a concert is problematic in itself and cancelling an entire venue takes a lot of thought, time and money and is not a decision taken lightly. It appears that artists mean well and are choosing to cancel their concerts in an attempt to protect their LGBT fans from the HB2 law as these artists want their fans to feel safe enough to be able to attend a concert, feel relaxed and not have to worry about needing to use the bathroom and use the facilities that they see appropriate for who they feel that they are as an individual. That being said, dedicated fans who oppose the bill have been missing out on an opportunity to see their favourite artists and also miss out on any money that they potentially paid for a night in a hotel or transport which may be non-refundable.

The cancellation of concerts has drawn a lot of attention to the HB2 law and the stances that artists are taking, whether they are cancelling or using the stage as a platform to protest against discrimination, these artists’ actions are making people listen to concerns for and against the law.

Artists cancelling concerts mean the North Carolina economy may suffer and will likely force lawmakers to reconsider their decision to pass “the bathroom bill” given that the state will lose an income of money from out of state concert goers as they pay for in-state hotels, facilities and travel all of which are facilities that provide money  to the state to enforce laws such as HB2.

We asked a transgender blogger, Anna, from All Around Sarail her thoughts on the HB2 law in North Carolina and Anna gave her insight from a personal perspective.

Would you feel comfortable attending a concert in North Carolina after the HB2 law passing?

It’s interesting, really. I would feel comfortable attending a concert in NC for the sole fact that I “pass” [as female] which, and I hate that terminology, is the reality of what these anti-trans discriminatory bills are about — attacking trans people who don’t quite look like society’s deemed black/white version of what women and men are supposed to look like.

Do you think that artists are right to cancel appearances?

think all of the musical acts and artists who’ve cancelled performances are completely in the right. It’s far too past time to take a stand against all of this ignorance, and I’m happy to see others joining together to speak up about it.

How do you feel about the law and how it affects the LGBT community?

It’s an absolutely abhorrent and disgusting law that is meant purely to hold back and discriminate against trans people who don’t look the part. It’s negatively impacting, but also has caused a storm to surge within supporting LGBT members and allies. We’re fighting back now, after all!

If you would like to hear more about Anna’s story you can find her blog here and if you’re still not entirely sure what The Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act (HB2) is you can read more about it here and you can see on online copy of the North Carolina bill here.

Did this help clear things up? Let us know by leaving us a tweet @CelebMix.

Written by CelebMix