Bruce Springsteen’s decision to cancel a show in Greensboro, N.C., has created a small panic in North Carolina’s live entertainment industry, with many wondering — who’s next?

On Friday, Springsteen said he would not be performing a concert at the Greensboro Coliseum after the state’s governor Pat McCrory signed HB2, a state law restricting some transgender individuals from using the bathroom of their choice. It also strips gay individuals from protection against discrimination.


Springsteen’s cancellation in protest to the bill has prompted a moment of self-reflection in the entertainment world about whether or not to play in the state. Comedian Joel McHale said he almost cancelled his Friday performance at the Durham Performing Arts Center, but ultimately decided instead to perform and donate the proceeds to an LGBT advocacy group.

“What the fuck you guys?” he asked while opening his show. “What’s fucking wrong with you?” When an audience member yelled out that most people at the show opposed the law, he asked “What the fuck is wrong with your government here, it’s crazy. But I know your City Council is cool because they passed a resolution opposing that stupid fucking bill. ”

McHale isn’t alone in expressing disgust at the law. Architectural Digest has cancelled its annual spring party at the High Point Market, because “celebration no longer feels appropriate given the discriminatory law North Carolina passed last week,” said editor in chief Margaret Russell and publisher and chief revenue officer Giulio Capua in a joint statement. Stephen Schwartz, one of the most successful Broadway composers, notified fellow writers and producers that he is working to ensure that his hit musical Wicked is not performed in North Carolina until the law is repealed.

Duran Duran, April 16 at PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte

The British band have long supported gay rights and was interviewed by a number of LGBT newspapers to promote their new album Paper Gods. Frontman Nick Rhodes has never publicly disclosed his sexual preference, but he has spoken out about being the target of gay-bashing. In an interview with site, he reminisced about the dangers of wearing make-up and flamboyant clothes in Birmingham in the 70s, admitting he and bass player John Taylor, were regularly terrified going home after clubbing. “We used to be absolutely rigid with fear getting on that bus covered in make-up, with dyed hair, wearing women’s clothing. Probably, not dresses but something we’d bought from Top Shop or Wallis,” he told Arts Desk writer Thomas H Green. So far the band hasn’t commented on the law.

Pearl Jam, April 20 at PNC Arena in Raleigh

The politically minded band is set to perform in North Carolina’s capital in less than two weeks and the bands fans have taken to Pearl Jam chat forums, to debate whether the band should cancel, and in many cases, beg them to continue with plans for the show. “I ask with the greatest sincerity PLEASE DO NOT let this HB2 Law affect your tour date scheduled for April 20th in Raliegh, NC,” one fan wrote on the band’s message board.

Pentatonix, May 11 at Red Hat Amphitheatre in Raleigh

Two of the accapella group’s members, Scott Hoying and Mitch Grassi, are openly gay, and the group has been a longtime supporter of the LGBT community. That’s caused some consternation in fundamentalist Christian circles, who appreciate the band’s Christmas song “Mary, did you know,” but are conflicted by the band’s link to the gay community. “Will you reject this demonic group, or will you allow Satan and his demons to find a place in your heart through their music?” wrote preacher Todd Anderson on the site for his ministries. He later conceded “the reason they are successful is because right now, they are getting some of their biggest support from Christians that don’t even realize they are supporting the gay agenda.” So far, the band hasn’t commented on the law, but their tour begins next week.

Dave Matthews Band, May 27 at PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte

Matthews has been a longtime supporter of gay rights and participated in the 2009 Love Unites Shepard Fairey Equality Project in defense of gay marriage. So far, the Bernie Sanders supporter has not weighed in on the law.

Dolly Parton, June 3 at Greensboro Coliseum


The famous country crooner has a long history of trying to bridge her two biggest fan bases — the LGBT community and Christians.In 2014, she told Billboard her personal philosophy toward her admirers was simple: “Love everyone. Don’t judge. Rinse and repeat.” As for her gay fans, “They know that I completely love and accept them, as I do all people,” Parton said. “I’ve struggled enough in my life to be appreciated and understood. I’ve had to go against all kinds of people through the years just to be myself,” she said. “I think everybody should be allowed to be who they are, and to love who they love. I don’t think we should be judgmental. Lord, I’ve got enough problems of my own to pass judgment on somebody else.” So far Parton hasn’t weighed in on HB2, but several fans have asked her to cancel the show.

Selena Gomez, June 7 at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte

The Disney star said she has struggled with her own sexuality and reportedly dated super-model Cara Delevingne for a short time. She regularly does interviews with LGBT media, has a large gay following and was denied a visa to perform in Russia because of her outspoken stance on gay rights. So far, Gomez has been silent on HB2, but one fan took to twitter to urge her to cancel.

Dave Brooks
Follow Me

Dave Brooks

Founder & Executive Editor at Amplify Media
Dave Brooks has over 15 years experience as a writer, including eight years as the Managing Editor of Venues Today. He started Amplify in 2014 to give the industry its own voice and turn up the volume on live entertainment.
Dave Brooks
Follow Me