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Bruce Springsteen tribute act pulls out of Trump inauguration event

By | Published on Tuesday 17 January 2017

Donald Trump

Bruce Springsteen tribute act – The B Street Band – has pulled out of an event marking the inauguration of Donald Trump later this week. The band had been booked to perform at a New Jersey State Society gala being staged for the new Prez’s first day, but cancelled yesterday following criticism that their perceived support for Trump was at odds with Springsteen’s own politics.

Controversy grew after New Jersey Democratic state senator Ray Lesniak tweeted: “Shame on the B Street Band playing at Trump’s inaugural. They’ve profited from Bruce now they’re abandoning the message in his music”.

As calls for the band to pull out of the event – not actually the official inauguration party, as implied in Lesniak’s tweet – grew over the following days, the band announced yesterday that they had bowed to that criticism.

Saying that “this whole thing just got blown out of proportion”, they wrote in a statement that the decision had been made “solely on the respect and gratitude we have for Bruce and the E Street Band”.

Speaking to Springsteen fansite Backstreets, frontman Will Forte noted that the band had performed at two previous New Jersey State Society galas marking both inaugurations of Barack Obama. It has been reported elsewhere that their performance for this one had been booked three years ago.

In a statement, New Jersey State Society executive director Nancy Fatemi said: “We are very disappointed but we understand the decision based on all the questions and attention this has brought to the B Street Band. Our New Jersey State Society mission has always been to bring people together in a congenial, nonpartisan way. In New Jersey, we know how to be stronger than the storm”.

She added that the organisation had been “overwhelmed with offers from other bands” and had already selected another “top flight” band to replace the B Street Band.

In a tweet after the band announced their decision to cancel, Lesniak wrote: “Good guys. I hope they’ll play at my inauguration like they did at my birthday party”.

I’m gonna say no, that’s not going happen. Musicians finding themselves associated with Donald Trump has bred controversy since before he was elected president in November, of course. A steady stream of artists asked him to stop using their music at his rallies during his lengthy campaign. Subsequently various musicians have publicly refused to perform at either his official inauguration party or other fringe events.

Last week, the line-up of the official party was announced – with Broadway star Jennifer Holliday quickly pulling out, saying that she “did not take into consideration that my performing for the concert would … be taken as a political act against my own personal beliefs and be mistaken for support of Donald Trump and Mike Pence”.