Alan Jackson withdraws from upcoming CMA Fest, likely for health reasons, after festival bans Confederate flags

A major country music festival recently announced that Confederate flags were no longer permitted for attendees, and just days later, a major artist scheduled to perform at that festival suddenly withdrew from the lineup.

The timing appears to be completely coincidental, however, as it doesn’t appear that there is any link between the upcoming CMA Fest’s ban of the rebel flag and country music legend Alan Jackson’s decision to not perform as scheduled.

Confederate flag banned

The Tennessean reported Wednesday that CMA Fest, which will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, between June 9 through 12, announced that “Confederate flag imagery of any kind” would be prohibited at the event.

“This year’s CMA Fest is our first major fan-facing event in nearly three years,” the Country Music Association said in a statement. “We have always had policies in place that protect the safety of our fans and ban discrimination, but we felt it was important to further refine our language to explicitly outline what will and will not be tolerated.”

“In line with our first CMA Fest lineup announcement in early April, our event policy was published on our website, which states any behavior that causes one of our attendees to fear for their personal safety will not be tolerated, and that is inclusive of any displays of the Confederate flag,” the statement added.

The outlet noted that this move by CMA Fest brings it in line with numerous other music festivals and other large gatherings across the nation that have already imposed similar bans on attendees displaying any sort of Confederate flag imagery.

Health issues are the reason for withdrawal from the lineup

Meanwhile, just days after the CMA Fest’s Confederate flag ban was announced, Taste of Country reported Friday that Alan Jackson would no longer be performing at that festival.

His withdrawal from the lineup almost certainly has nothing to do with the flag ban, however, but rather is likely due to the artist’s own declining health.

Jackson had publicly revealed in 2021 that he had been diagnosed with CMT (Charcot-Marie-Tooth), a chronic neurological condition that involves the deterioration of nerve endings and can negatively impact the function of muscles, including balance and movement.

“I have this neuropathy and neurological disease. It’s genetic that I inherited from my daddy,” Jackson explained at that time. “There’s no cure for it, but it’s been affecting me for years. And it’s getting more and more obvious. And I know I’m stumbling around on stage. And now I’m having a little trouble balancing, even in front of the microphone, and so I just feel very uncomfortable.”

Jackson still intends to perform an unofficial farewell tour

Taste of County noted that, at least as of now, it appears that Jackson still intends to perform a 16-date unofficial farewell tour dubbed the “Last Call: One More for the Road Tour,” which is scheduled to kick off June 24 in Biloxi, Mississippi, and end October 8 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

As for the CMA Fest, the lineup is still loaded with dozens of big stars of country music and, while attendees will undoubtedly miss seeing Jackson perform, they will likely still be quite entertained by the many other artists on the four-day schedule.

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