Pearl Jam, Adams and Springsteen Cancel Shows In Protest of LGBT Laws

(Photograph: Gary Wolstenholme/Redferns via Getty Images)

Bruce Springsteen’s cancellation of a North Carolina show protesting the state’s new legislation that allows religious organizations and private groups to refuse to gay couples, has lead to further cancellations by prominent musicians Bryan Adams, Ringo Starr and Pearl Jam.

Due to play on the 14th of April in Biloxi, Mississippi, Canadian musician Bryan Adams cancelled his show after the state blocked anti-discriminatory rules for the LGBT community. The action is a part of multiple bands who are cancelling their scheduled shows, raising questions about who will cancel next with Justin Bieber and Beyoncé due to perform in North Carolina in the next few weeks.

Pearl Jam have also cancelled their April 20 show in North Carolina and in a statement on Pearl Jam’s website the band said that their decision was due to “a despicable piece of legislation that encourages discrimination against an entire group of American citizens.”

From Billie Holiday’s iconic “Strange Fruit”, to Sam Cooke’s ” A Change Is Gonna Come”, to John Lennon’s “Imagine”, music has given key moments in modern history an anthem for its supporters to sing. Music’s power and appeal has always come in either escape from the harsh reality of life or in staking a claim about what matters to the listener. As the gay and LGBT movement gains traction, pop artists like Lady Gaga and Madonna have shown their support for the movement by releasing singles such as “Born This Way” and “Living For Love”.

Though critics have questioned how much influence a live performance being cancelled has on local government policy, the fact is that musicians as well-known as Pearl Jam, Springsteen and Adams all have the ability to be a prominent voice for a community under-represented by policy makers.