Alan Jackson and Kid Rock will kick off SeaWorld’s “Bands, Brew & BBQ” this weekend, bucking a trend of artists dropping the show to avoid controversy over how the Orlando, Florida, theme park treats its orcas.
The concert event runs Saturdays and Sundays February 1 to March 9.
The exodus from SeaWorld’s calendar began soon after CNN broadcast the documentary “Blackfish” in October. The film tells the story of the killing of a SeaWorld trainer by an orca in 2010. It raises questions about the safety and humaneness of keeping killer whales in captivity.
Country star Trace Adkins pulled out this month. Other acts that have canceled include: Trisha Yearwood, Willie Nelson, Cheap Trick, Heart, Barenaked Ladies, Martina McBride and 38 Special.
Only Justin Moore and Scotty McCreery remain on the event calendar from the original list. Their representatives have not responded to CNN’s repeated requests for comment.
Online petitions and social media postings targeted the acts who had signed on to play at the park.
“We’re disappointed a small group of misinformed individuals was able to deny fans what would have been great concerts at SeaWorld,” SeaWorld spokesman Nick Gollattscheck has said.
“The bands and artists have a standing invitation to visit any of our parks to see firsthand or to speak to any of our animal experts to learn for themselves how we care for animals and how little truth there is to the allegations made by animal extremist groups opposed to the zoological display of marine mammals.”
SeaWorld says the documentary ignores the park’s conservation efforts and research.
“More than 11 million people a year visit SeaWorld parks, and most will see a killer whale presentation during their visit,” said Gollattscheck.
“Over the course of our 50-year history hundreds of millions of people have experienced killer whales in our parks. There is tremendous appeal in that kind of inspirational and educational experience, and we anticipate that killer whale display will continue for generations to come.”
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