Openly gay country musician Adam Mac canceled a show at a Kentucky festival in his home county after local board members and protesters expressed concerns that he would flaunt his sexuality on stage.
In a social media post released last Thursday, Mac, a native of Russellville, Kentucky, explained why he had canceled his gig at the Logan County Tobacco and Heritage Festival, where he was scheduled to headline the festival’s finale concert on October 14.
In the video, Mac explained that a member of the Logan County Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the festival, had called him to inform him that “questions” had been raised about his performance, as reported by Entertainment Weekly.
“She explained to me that there were some board members and some people in town who had questions about what kind of performance I would be putting on at the Tobacco Festival, and wanted to ensure that I would not be promoting homosexuality or ‘sexuality’ in a family-friendly environment,” he said. “I don’t really know what they expected I was gonna do other than just come and put on a hell of a show like we do.”
Mac said he was warned that some people were “very upset” that an openly gay artist would be headlining the festival, and had informed members of the Chamber of Commerce that they intended to protest the concert as a result — a development he called “disheartening.”
He defended the right of local residents to “not listen” to his music or “not come to the show,” but said he was disturbed that his mere presence at the festival would lead people to threaten to boycott or protest the festival.
“I went back and forth all night long about, what is the right thing to do?” Mac said. “Because a part of me feels like it would be letting down the people who need to see me most there in that space and the people who just were so excited for me to come home and put on a show.
“It feels like I’m letting those people down. It also feels like if I don’t do the show I’m caving and letting those people win, which also, if you know me, is not something that I like to do.”
Mac ultimately decided the best thing to do was to pull out of the festival and allow organizers to book a less “controversial” act.
“I’m really sad about it. I’m working on trying to figure out a way to do something else to make it right,” he said. “I really, really wanted to be there.”
The Logan County Tobacco and Heritage Festival first announced the cancellation in a Facebook post on September 21.
“The Logan County Chamber of Commerce and the Logan County Tobacco & Heritage festival Grand Finale Concert and Fireworks to be held on October 14, 2023 has been cancelled due to circumstances beyond our control,” the post reads.
On September 22, festival organizers and the Logan County Chamber of Commerce released a joint statement addressing the cancellation, clarifying it was due to Mac’s withdrawal from the concert.
“This year’s festival was scheduled to conclude with a Grand Finale Concert on October 14 with a performance by country music artist and Logan County native Adam Mac,” the statement read.
“However, following threats of protests, Adam Mac made the decision to cancel the concert due to safety concerns for himself, his band and the concert attendees. While we did not request him to cancel, we respect his decision.”
Several other county music artists have defended Mac and expressed disappointment over his treatment.
“You are loved. I’m sorry this happened but glad you’re sharing it here,” country star Maren Morris, who recently announced she’s distancing herself from the genre due to a lack of acceptance from conservative gatekeepers.
“This is heartbreaking and so disappointing. I’m really sorry,” wrote Kelsea Ballerini. “You’ve got your army in these comments.”
Both Morris and Ballerini have appeared on stage or performed with drag performers amid an onslaught of anti-drag and anti-transgender legislation in states with Republican-dominated legislatures, including many states in the Deep South.
Country star Brandy Clark, a member of the LGBTQ community, commented on Mac’s post.
“This is heartbreaking,” she wrote. “BUT it is THEIR loss!!!!”
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