Willie Nelson Cancels SeaWorld Concert

First, the Barenaked Ladies, now the pigtailed man.

About a week ago, the Barenaked Ladies cancelled their scheduled show at SeaWorld in order to protest the treatment of orcas in captivity. Willie Nelson has also cancelled a show at the theme park.

A spokesperson at SeaWorld told New Times that Nelson cancelled due to "schedule conflicts," but the folks at Change.org suggest otherwise.

The petition-hosting site says that Nelson's cancellation comes after 8,500 fans who oppose SeaWorld's treatment of orcas signed on asking Nelson to back out of the Feb. 1 show, part of a "Bands, Brew, and BBQ" concert series. The Barenaked Ladies were slotted to perform in the series also. Change.org says that the other artists who had been announced are also being pressured to drop out.

Here's more from an e-mail sent by Change.org:

A representative from Mark Rothbaum & Assoc., Willie Nelson's management, confirmed to Change.org over the phone that the performance has been cancelled. Nelson's publicist, Elaine Schock, said "There is no statement," when asked for additional comment.

The petition was launched by Willie Nelson fan Danielle Legg, of Amherst, New York. Legg was inspired by a Canadian fan's Change.org petition which just last week led to the Barenaked Ladies dropping their February performance at SeaWorld Orlando.

Says Danielle: "More than 8,500 people have signed my petition on Change.org, and I'm relieved that Willie Nelson has joined Barenaked Ladies in listening to fans and standing up to SeaWorld's cruelty to animals. I've been a fan of Willie Nelson's music and activism for years so I hope his actions, and those of Barenaked Ladies, will inspire other artists to stay away from performing at SeaWorld because at least they've got the choice -- unlike the animals trapped there."

SeaWorld's Bands, Brew, and BBQ online concert listing has since removed all previously listed artists, and the status of those performances, other than Willie Nelson and the Barenaked Ladies, is unclear. Animal advocates are eagerly monitoring the situation as there are also petitions on Change.org asking Scotty McCreery and Cheap Trick to cancel their previously announced shows at SeaWorld.

REO Speedwagon, Justin Moore, Martina McBride, and 38 Special were also scheduled to perform in February and March.

Nelson's Twitter account said nothing of the cancellation. Last night, a representative in SeaWorld's media department would not immediately comment but took a message.

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