DU QUOIN -- Rare is it that the cancellation of a warm-up act at the Du Quoin State Fair has drawn such a strong response from the general public. But such was the case last week when it was announced by state officials that the previously booked Confederate Railroad -- a Southern rock band founded more than 30 years ago in Marietta, Ga. -- had been dumped from the entertainment lineup next month.
Du Quoin State Fair Manager Josh Gross deferred comment to the Department of Agriculture, his employer.
"The Illinois Department of Agriculture has removed Confederate Railroad from our 2019 Du Quoin State Fair grandstand lineup," said Krista Lisser, public informationofficer for the Illinois Department of Agriculture. "While every artist has a right to expression, we believe this decision is in the best interest of serving all the people of our state."
Presumably, the state is on the hook for the talent fee -- believed to be $7,000.
The decision to drop the band has everything to do with the Confederate flag and what it symbolizes to many -- slavery. It may also have something to do with a blog written by well-known Springfield political columnist, Rich Miller, who asked readers their thoughts on the group fashioning the name "Confederate Railroad" performing at Du Quoin.
Lisser said via email that she could not comment further on the issue.