COLUMN: Canceling concerts might not be best answer


Carter Diggs, Staff Writer

Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, and many other well-respected musicians all over the country have cancelled concert dates in both North Carolina and Mississippi.  

The reason?  The ever-so-talked-about House Bill 2 for North Carolina and House Bill 1523 for Mississippi.  With the coming of these bills, transgender people in North Carolina are forced to use the restroom that doesn’t align with their gender, and LGBT individuals in Mississippi can be denied services by businesses citing religious reasons.

To put it bluntly, I am personally against the bills.  However, I am also against the actions that many musicians have taken.

Granted, I get their frustration with the lawmakers and can see their reasoning for their actions, but simply refusing to play in certain states could end up doing more harm than good in the end.

My reasoning is simple.  Any presence is better than absence in this situation.  Sure, they are sending a big message to the states, but is the government really going to care about a few cancelled entertainment events?  They aren’t the ones feeling the impact in this situation; that condition belongs to the disappointed fans.

If rallying the former concertgoers was the goal, then that stretch might not be reached, either.  The people planned, paid money, and set aside their time for a concert.  Now many of them are likely too frustrated with it being cancelled to pay attention to the message at hand.

Even with all the objectionable legislation being thrown around, there is still a better course of action than denying the state the event.

Everyone has a platform on which to speak their views.  Some people have a wider reaching platform than others.  

Pearl Jam, Springsteen, and Adams?  They have a massive platform, which could reach an incredible amount of people if used properly.  Given their popularity, there are a ton of people who are willing to listen to what they have to say.  

By expressing their concerns about the bills to their audiences, it would be like planting a seed in hyper-fertilized ground.  Many fans would go home, now more aware on the current matters, and tell families and friends.  The roots would grow and the cause would gain many new voices, ones that would help correct the injustice of the laws.

But that’s not happening.

What we have are a few statements and several overnight inconveniences.  They will be easily packed into a short news story and be completely forgotten in a week or two, not having nearly as big an impact as expected or needed.

What Pearl Jam, Springsteen, and Adams are doing may be brave since they are sticking to their beliefs, but it is also misguided.  They have missed a great opportunity that I can only hope other acts will grab at.