If it wasn’t for “the slap,” the biggest story in all of entertainment last week would have been Eric Church choosing to cancel his sold-out show on Saturday, April 2nd at San Antonio’s AT&T Center so he could watch the Duke Blue Devils take on his North Carolina Tar Heels in the NCAA Final Four. It was the first time in Final Four history the two teams squared off against each other, though they play each other every year.
Eric Church wrote a letter to his fans explaining he wanted to experience the once-in-a-lifetime moment with his family, and later booked a makeup show, though in a much smaller venue (still waiting on details of how that will work). The gamble paid off for Church in one respect. The North Carolina Tar Heels ended up winning. If they had lost, it might have resulted in even more second guessing.
But public sentiment on the matter still remains very mixed among many country music fans, and even some artists. Late Saturday night (4-2), the always-opinionated Travis Tritt chimed in, letting folks know where he falls on the matter.
“FYI – Over the years I’ve missed friends and family’s weddings, funerals, family reunions and a bunch of other events I would have loved to have attended because I was booked for shows,” Tritt said. “I don’t think I could ever get by with canceling a show because I wanted to watch sports.”
And Travis Tritt was not alone from the performer class. Though Jason Aldean was not nearly as direct, he recently said, “This is a tricky question because Eric is a friend of mine. I’m a diehard Georgia Bulldogs fan, and Atlanta Braves, so I understand somewhat where he’s coming from. I don’t know that I could cancel a show to make it to a game. I feel like people are buying a ticket to see your show, you kinda have to hold up your end of the deal on that. But I know Eric’s a huge basketball, Carolina fan. And I don’t want to dive into that too much, but I don’t think I would feel good if I did that so I don’t know if I could pull it off. “
But some artists came to Eric Church’s defense. Fellow North Carolinian BJ Barham of American Aquarium said, “Y’all ever called into work to take a personal day? Explain the difference. You let your employer down. You let your coworkers down. You let your customers down. Genuinely curious why straight job folks have normalized personal days, yet a musician is vilified for doing it. “
BJ Barham later clarified, “Please don’t confuse my understanding of his actions for condoning his actions. It was a selfish move, but as a sports fan, I totally understand the move. “
What’s for certain is this issue will be talked about for years to come, and will go on Eric Church’s permanent record, evoked by detractors whenever his name comes up. Hopefully though, it doesn’t result in a new era of excuses for concert cancellations that are already more common after the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday (4-4), it was revealed rapper Kanye West has dropped out of his performance slots at Coachella for undisclosed reasons, and j over a week before the two-weekend festival was set to transpire. Kanye was the main headliner for the event that is seen as the flagship festival for popular music.