Confederate Railroad rejects payments from Du Quoin State Fair

Band rejects payment due to its “guiding principles”

ACM Award-winning and CMA Award-nominated country band Confederate Railroad has declined payment for its canceled performance at the Du Quoin State Fair in Southern Illinois earlier this month. Drawing national attention, the country rock group was dropped from the performing talent lineup two months after being secured for the show due to what fair organizers call “racial sensitivity concerns” over its name.

Frontman and founder Danny Shirley has declined the compensation the group was still owed after being canceled. Shirley shares that the group will instead forfeit the funds in hopes it benefits the people of the region.

“On June 24th, 2019, the Du Quoin State Fair agreed to pay us in full. We contemplated the proper use of this money. The band agreed we should give it to a charitable organization that directly benefits the people of Southern Illinois. Those ‘tax dollars’ belong to the people of southern Illinois, and to see some good come from it seemed like the best solution. On July 19, 2019, we received a multi-page conditional legal release in order to obtain that payment,” Shirley writes.

He continues, “After months of being referred to as promoters of hate and racism, without one individual stepping forward to cite any such personal occurrence – ever- and 30 years of performing to the contrary: I simply cannot and will not accept this money that requires their conditional Settlement Agreement and Release. Hopefully, they will be guided to put that money back into the region, as we intended to do.

“We’ve fulfilled the conditions twice previously with performances at this fair. The offer was submitted from the fair on April 17, 2019, and a contract was sent shortly thereafter. Then, on June 4th, the fair requested a proposed announce date of June 17th and proceeded to advertise.

“I’m forever grateful and humbled by the people of southern Illinois and your words of encouragement are deeply felt. A decision was made for you — one intended to mute your voices and cause you to question your morals. Never apologize for thinking for yourself or let anyone shame you out of your own common sense.

“Our track now leads to Black Diamond Harley in Marion — see you in ten days.”

Following their canceled performance in Illinois, an Upstate New York fair board dropped the group due to its name. Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan submitted a letter to organizers of next week’s Ulster County Fair to cancel the band’s performance due to the sensitivity of its name and the use of the Confederate flag.

“I’ve done nothing wrong. I love the part of the country I’m from, and I will never apologize for that,” Shirley says. “It seems that everybody kind of gets looking for something to get upset about, and I guess I’m just the flavor of the month.”

Shirley says the band’s name was inspired by a locomotive commandeered in Georgia by a Union raiding party during the Civil War. The locomotive, known as the General, is on display in Kennesaw, Georgia, where Shirley lived when he got his record deal.

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.