Activists (and at least a few fans) have called for Hanson to cancel a March 11 performance scheduled at the Seven Seas Food Festival at SeaWorld in Orlando, with a change.org petition saying, “So many animals have died at SeaWorld– and the number grows and grows.”
“At SeaWorld, intelligent, sensitive animals are confined to tiny tanks that to them are the size of bathtubs,” the petition, which has been signed by more than 19,000 people, read.
“They are denied everything important and natural to them. And they don’t just suffer. They die. … SeaWorld is hell for animals.” “After hearing this and finding out how SeaWorld neglects and mistreats animals in its care, numerous bands have decided to cancel their appearances. Please do the same and move this show to a different venue. Your fanbase will support your decision and respect you for it.”
The 2013 documentary “Blackfish,” which chronicled the alleged mistreatment of orcas (“killer whales”), was followed by the cancellation of the Bands, Brew & BBQ event at SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens in Tampa in 2014, which was to feature Heart, Barenaked Ladies, Willie Nelson, Martina McBride, Cheap Trick, Trace Adkins, Trisha Yearwood and others.
SeaWorld has called “Blackfish” propaganda, stating, “We object to Blackfish because its two central premises are wrong: (1) that life at SeaWorld is harmful for killer whales and for trainers working with these animals, and (2) that SeaWorld has attempted to cover up the facts surrounding the tragic death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010, as well the history of Tilikum, the killer whale involved in that accident. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
While more than 19,000 people have signed the online petition, and it had grown by about 1,000 signatures in the time it took to write this article, it should be noted that anyone online can sign the petition regardless of being interested in Hanson or the concert in question.
Other artists to play the Seven Seas Food Festival, “a taste adventure” that happens every Saturday and Sunday from Feb. 17 to April 15, include Alabama, Chris Young, Hunter Hayes, Daughtry, Easton Corbin, Eli Young Band and others.
Bayside Stadium where the concerts are held has recently hosted artists including Larry The Cable Guy, ZZ Top, and others.
Pollstar has reached out to Hanson’s booking agent to ask if there are any plans to cancel or move the performance.
Hanson remains a strong draw on the road, following the mid-90s success of the pre-teen brothers’ hits including “Mmmbop,” with recent boxoffice reports submitted to Pollstar including selling out the Pageant Theatre in St. Louis Oct. 11, (2,000 tickets $78,000 gross), First Avenue in Minneapolis Oct. 10 (1,550 tickets, $59,288) and Emo’s in Austin, which sold out 1,550 tickets and grossed $54,275 Sept. 13.
Hanson has a reputation for standing up for worthy causes, including organizing the “Take The Walk” campaign to combat HIV/AIDS and poverty in Africa, which started with mile-long barefoot walks staged across the U.S. and Canada.