Artists Opt Out of SeaWorld Shows

Amid "Blackfish" controversy, Heart, Willie Nelson, and the Barenaked Ladies cancel performances.

Tilikum, SeaWorld's largest orca at 12,000 pounds, has killed at least two people. (milan.boers/Flickr)
Photo: milan.boers/Flickr

The Wilson sisters of the American rock band Heart, have a big place in their own hearts for killer whales. Last Friday, they joined country singer Willie Nelson and the Barenaked Ladies in opting not to perform at SeaWorld. 

The band declined its planned gig at the marine and zoological park next February in response to several online petitions urging musicians not to perform at SeaWorld following the release of CNN’s documentary Blackfish in October.

The film, which has millions protesting the captivity of SeaWorld's animals, details the events leading up to the killing of trainer Dawn Brancheau (and others) by SeaWorld's largest killer whale, Tilikum, a six-ton, 22-foot male orca.

Guitarist Nancy Wilson, who once hosted a nature documentary called Baby Wild about orcas (listen to the song, “The Killer Whale People” here) tweeted last Friday:

“The SeaWorld show was planned long ago as an Orlando show. Had we known, we'd have said no then. We said no today ... I am a big Orca fan...I'm happy to stand w/all (with all) of u to protect our animals."

"While we're disappointed a small group of misinformed individuals was able to deny fans what would have been great concerts at SeaWorld by Heart, Barenaked Ladies and Willie Nelson, we respect the bands' decisions," SeaWorld spokesman Nick Gollattscheck told CNN on Sunday.

Gollattscheck also said folk singer, Nelson couldn't participate in this year's Bands, Brew & BBQ events due to "scheduling conflicts."

But Nelson put it more bluntly. "I don't agree with the way they treat their animals," he told CNN's Brooke Baldwin. "It wasn't that hard a deal for me."


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