By Tony Kiss
Famed rock band Boston, whose big hits include "More Than a Feeling" and "Don't Look Back," will not go through with a proposed Asheville date this summer in the wake of the controversial HB2 legislation, which controls public restroom use by transgender people and bans local anti-discrimination ordinances in the state.
The band had been in discussions with Asheville's Biltmore Estate for this summer's concert series. "It became apparent that they were not comfortable committing to our series date at this point," Biltmore spokeswoman LeeAnn Donnelly said. "Given that information, both parties felt it was in the best interest for everyone to not pursue a performance for this year," she said.
The Biltmore concert schedule, now with four shows, is available here.
Boston canceled shows in Charlotte, Raleigh and Greensboro in protest of HB2. The law has also led to a string of concert pullouts across the state including performances by Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and Pearl Jam. Duran Duran also considered canceling in Charlotte, but went ahead with the show and used the opportunity to speak against the law and to circulate petitions against it.
It is not known if Biltmore would add another band to its schedule this summer.
The legislation also prompted the cancellation of a multi-day conference at the Omni Grove Park Inn that would have brought 500 visitors to Asheville. That event would have had at least a $1.5 million impact in Asheville, according to organizers. At least nine organizations have canceled events in Asheville over HB2. Others have been lost across the state.
Boston did not respond to a request for comment. But in a statement released on its website after the earlier cancellations, band founder Tom Scholz made clear that he could not bring the group to North Carolina because of HB2. "While the enjoyment of our fans is our central concern, human rights are more important," Scholz wrote. He pulled out of North Carolina dates "to raise awareness, and protest in the strongest terms, the recent passage of HB2, the so called North Carolina bathroom law." He also said the legislation has "the appearance of an oppressive discriminatory law (and) other aspects of the new law arguably encourage bigotry."