NRA convention concert cancelled after all performers drop off
The "Grand Ole Night of Freedom" concert scheduled for Saturday night (5/28) at the NRA's annual convention, which runs this weekend in Houson, TX, has been cancelled after all the participating artists pulled out. Most cited concerns over publicly representing the NRA in the wake of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX, the second-deadliest in US history, although controversy over the NRA is nothing new.
Don McLean dropped out of the concert on Wednesday (5/25), writing, "In light of the recent events in Texas, I have decided it would be disrespectful and hurtful for me to perform for the NRA at their convention in Houston this week. I’m sure all the folks planning to attend this event are shocked and sickened by these events as well. After all, we are all Americans. I share the sorrow for this terrible, cruel loss with the rest of the nation."
Variety reports that Larry Gatlin and Larry Stewart cancelled their performances the next day. Stewart wrote, "Due to the tragedy in Uvalde with the horrific school shooting and children who died, I want to honor the victims, families, the town and our friends in the great state of Texas the best I know how. So I have made the decision to pull out as a performer for the NRA convention this weekend, especially given the event is just down the road. I’m a strong believer in the 2nd Amendment and I know the NRA is a great organization who teaches strict gun safety with a membership of law-abiding citizens who love our country. I just believe this is best for me at this time. God Bless everyone involved!”
Gatlin's statement reads:
To my fellow sad Americans—
I cannot, in good conscience, perform at the NRA convention in Houston this weekend. While I agree with most of the positions held by the NRA, I have come to believe that, while background checks would not stop every madman with a gun, it is at the very least a step in the right direction toward trying to prevent the kind of tragedy we saw this week in Uvalde— in my beloved, weeping TEXAS.
It is not a perfect world and the ‘if only crowd’s’ policies will never make it one. I am a ‘what if guy’ and I can’t help but ask the question, ‘What if the teachers had been proficient in the use of firearms and had, in fact been armed this week? My answer is that there would not be 21 freshly dug graves for 21 of GOD’s precious children.
My prayers and thoughts go to all who are suffering, and I pray that the NRA will rethink some of its outdated and ill-thought-out positions regarding firearms in AMERICA.
I’m a 2nd Amendment guy, but the 2nd amendment should not apply to everyone. It’s that simple.
GOD HELP US PLEASE
Lee Greenwood was the next to pull out, writing, "As a father, I join the rest of America in being absolutely heartbroken by the horrific event that transpired this week in Texas. I was scheduled to perform at NRA’s private event on Saturday with my band. After thoughtful consideration, we have decided to cancel the appearance out of respect for those mourning the loss of those innocent children and teachers in Uvalde. During this Memorial Day Weekend, we should also remember the servicemen and women, and first responders who’ve given their lives to protect our great country. Please join me to pay our respects as we unite together as would be the most appropriate measure at this time." He also appeared on Fox & Friends, The Daily Beast reports, where he said, "For me to go and play at the NRA just days after the shooting would be an endorsement, and people would then deem that as [me saying] ‘I like this weapon.’ Obviously, that weapon killed kids. I just couldn’t go."
Billboard reports that T. Graham Brown and host Danielle Peck also cancelled on Thursday (5/26). Brown's statement reads, "Sheila and I grieve with the families, city of Uvalde, the state of Texas, and our nation. We are very sensitive to the feelings of the good people who lost loved ones, therefore I am opting out of the concert in Houston on Saturday. I believe that the families are deserving of time to grieve. It is a sad week for everyone. May God bless us all as we seek answers." Peck writes, "After much thought, as a both a mother and out of respect for all of the families in Uvalde, TX during the heartbreaking time, I have made the decision to not host or perform at the NRA Event in Houston this weekend. Instead, my thoughts and prayers will be with the families going through this tragic and unimaginable time right now."
On Friday (5/27), final scheduled performer Jacob Bryant wrote on Twitter, "dropped out yesterday brother. The media just won’t cover it." He also wrote, "The show has been cancelled since yesterday," although as of Friday afternoon, a ticket page for it is still live on the convention's site. Stay tuned for further updates.