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Confederate Railroad rejects payment after being booted from Downstate fair, tells fans not to ‘let anyone shame you’

In his Facebook post, lead singer Danny Shirley said he’s “grateful and humbled by the people of southern Illinois” and the words of encouragement the band has received.

Danny Shirley of Confedrate Railroad
Danny Shirley of Confedrate Railroad performs in Alabama in 2010. File Photo.
Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Webster & Associates

Southern rock band Confederate Railroad said Tuesday it’s “rejecting” payment after being dropped from a Downstate fair lineup by a governor who blasted the band’s logo as featuring a symbol “of racists, of white nationalists, of the alt-right.”

The band, whose logo includes the Confederate flag, was booked to play the Du Quoin State Fair for two months before Gov. J. B. Pritzker’s staff put the kibosh on their performance, which had been scheduled for Tuesday.

Capitol Fax first questioned the Pritzker administration about the band’s appearance, and the political blog also reported on the band’s Facebook post Tuesday. In that post, Danny Shirley, a founding member and lead singer of the band, explained the decision to decline the compensation after they had been pulled from the line-up.

“On June 24th, 2019, the Du Quoin State Fair agreed to pay us in full. We contemplated the proper use of this money,” the statement reads in part. “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 went on to say that after months of being referred to as “promoters of hate and racism, without one individual stepping forward to cite any such personal occurrence” as well as a 30-year career performing “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.”

The band Confederate Railroad
The band Confederate Railroad

Du Quoin is about 300 miles southwest of Chicago.

Pritzker’s decision earlier this summer created a firestorm that found many cheering him on, but some southern Illinois fans complaining that they were under the thumb of Chicago liberals’ political correctness.

In his Facebook post, Shirley said he’s “grateful and humbled by the people of southern Illinois” and the words of encouragement the band has received.

“A decision was made for you — one intended to mute your voices and cause you to question your morals,” Shirley says in his statement. “Never apologize for thinking for yourself or let anyone shame you out of your own common sense.”

Multiple spokesmen from Pritzker’s office did not immediately return request for comment.

Asked about the cancellation last month, the governor said the band was yanked from the line-up because the Confederate flag is “a symbol of murder, of kidnapping, of rape.”

“The Confederate flag is a symbol of not just slavery, but of treason against the United States,” Pritzker said at an unrelated news conference in Chicago.

“It is today the symbol of racists, of white nationalists, of the alt-right and so I do not think that the state of Illinois should be sponsoring something that is amplifying that symbol.”