One of the biggest country music festivals has packed its bags: no more Confederate flags.
The Country Music Association has added “Confederate flag imagery of any kind” to the list of prohibited items at the upcoming CMA Fest in Nashville, Tennessee.
The four-day festival is scheduled for June 9-12 after a two-year postponement during the COVID-19 pandemic, the association announced online.
The association said the decision to ban Confederate flag imagery was an updated part of the policy to protect fan safety, according to a statement obtained by The Tennessean.
“This year’s CMA Fest is our first major fan event in nearly three years. We have always had policies in place that protect the safety of our fans and prohibit discrimination, but we felt it was important to further refine our language to explicitly describe what will and will not be tolerated,” said the AMC in the release, according to The Tennessian.
“In line with our first announcement of the CMA Fest lineup in early April, our event policy has been posted on our website, which states that any behavior that causes any of our attendees to fear for their personal safety will not be tolerated, and that includes any displays of the Confederate flag.
McClatchy News contacted the AMC for comment on June 2 and was awaiting a response.
Organizations such as the Stagecoach Festival in California and NASCAR have also banned Confederate flags. NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace told NPR he was proud of the racing organization, which banned the symbol in June 2020.
“No one should feel awkward when it comes to a NASCAR race. So it starts with the Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them,” he said. he told NPR.
The CMA festival’s decision comes in the wake of several country stars being criticized for inappropriate racist comments or appearances with the Confederate flag.
Luke Combs, who will perform at the upcoming CMA Fest, has apologized after appearing with Confederate flags in early 2021, The Associated Press reported.
Combs said the photos were taken when he was younger and he didn’t understand the message of the Confederate flag.
“And as I have grown in my time as an artist and the world has changed dramatically over the past five to seven years, I am now aware of how painful this image can be for someone else. “Coms said, according to the AP. . “I would never want to be associated with something that hurts someone else so much.”
Spectators can view the full list of prohibited items on the CMA Fest website.
This story was originally published June 2, 2022 4:39 p.m.