Dead & Company’s Charlotte concert is still very much alive, in spite of the band’s objection to North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2.
The group – which encompasses original members of the Grateful Dead plus several new faces – issued an open letter Thursday afternoon that addressed the legislation, just over a week before its scheduled show at PNC Music Pavilion.
According to the letter, Dead & Company plans to donate $100,000 to the Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina, LGBT advocacy groups that are calling for the repeal of HB2.
The group also is arranging to create an area at PNC Music Pavilion where – before and during the June 10 concert – fans can “have an opportunity to learn about the true ramifications of the HB2 law, and take meaningful action by registering to vote,” Dead & Company wrote.
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Here is the full text of the letter:
“This March, when North Carolina lawmakers passed HB2 and Governor Pat McCrory signed it into law, we categorically objected to it. We had hoped that by now this abhorrent law would have been repealed. Sadly, it has not.
“After much thought, consideration and conversation, we feel the most effective way to move forward is to perform as scheduled in Charlotte, North Carolina on June 10 and to donate $100,000.00 to organizations engaged in this battle for justice – the Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina.
“Additionally, we will assemble a “Participation Row” social action area, where we’ll host local organizations fighting discrimination and national organizations dedicated to voter registration and protecting the planet. Every fan in attendance will have an opportunity to learn about the true ramifications of the HB2 law, and take meaningful action by registering to vote; to that end we are working on an online community registration site that will assist the HeadCount organization in promoting and simplifying voter registration.
“Dead shows have always been a safe place for all of our audience to come together through music no matter how they appear or self-identify. History shows these values of openness and inclusiveness have served us – and the world around us – well.
“We’ve never been a band that’s spoken many words when we’re on stage. But we hope that our actions, and the actions of our fans, will ring louder than ever before.
“With Love and Respect, Dead & Company.”
Several national touring acts – including Bruce Springsteen and, most recently, Maroon 5 – have canceled North Carolina dates in protest since March 23, when Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law the bill that invalidated Charlotte’s legal protections for LGBT individuals.
Dead & Company’s lineup includes Grateful Dead members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann and Bob Weir; singer/guitarist John Mayer; Allman Brothers’ bassist Oteil Burbridge; and “Fare Thee Well” and RatDog keyboardist Jeff Chimenti.
Its June 10 concert will feature two sets of music drawing from the Dead’s historic catalog of songs. Tickets are available here.