Alan Jackson, Kid Rock accept invite to play SeaWorld show amid controversy

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(CNN) — The show will go on.

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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  • debra dtieri

    I immediately bought VIP tickets and will support any artist that plays there.
    there are boycotts..
    and then there are threats and blackmail.
    Sea world has done more to help animals than all of these protesters put together.
    these so called “activists” should hang their heads in shame.

    • Natasha

      yeah, it’s real shameful to wish for an animal not to be imprisioned in a tub of water that is essentially the size of a bathtub for them while being coerced to perform and birth babies in captivity for profit. Sea World is disgraceful. They have done more harm than good and have made a pretty penny while these intelligent beings have suffered. But hey, entertainment at any costs right? I don’t think it is the activists that should be ashamed of themselves.

      • debra dtieri

        It is not entertainment at any cost.
        to me,
        I believe that we all have have the right to say what we feel.
        Why is it that Dawns parents…
        and her friends and co workers…
        who have repeatedly come out FOR Seaworld and against these “activists”..
        are not heard?
        Except for tiny hidden sound bites.
        And why do these “activists” get their way by threatening entertainers and corporations?
        I used to be a loyal fan and fan club member of Trace Adkins..
        who normally stands up for the right to free speech.
        I say..used to be…
        as him cowing to these “activists” has made me lose my respect for him.

    • chris ewing

      you are VERY delusional on seaworld, VERY, they encourage drive hunts in taiji japan where THOUSANDS of whales and dolphins are Slaughtered every year. a shame you brag on seaworld! a HUGE shame, its ok day your ticket will be Useless because we ARE going to close places like seaworld down and STOP the slaughters of innocent lives

  • Mallory Knox

    You are snatched away from your family, locked up, and forced to do tricks for food, artificially insemenated to have your babies taken away. . . . Who would you consider to be the terrorists?? The ones who did all that to you or the ones trying to help you live free with your family?? Think about it. . no one says SeaWorld doesnt rescue and release. . they spend about .006% of their revenue on R&R . . .to be sure they could still do that wihtout doing all the harmful things they do . .

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