SeaWorld Orlando's Bands Brew & BBQ celebration starts on Saturday, February 1, but due to pressure from armchair activists who slammed social media, many of the acts originally scheduled to play realized that they could get more publicity from backing out.
Bands who bailed include Trace Adkins, Trisha Yearwood, Willie Nelson, Cheap Trick, Heart, Barenaked Ladies, Martina McBride and 38 Special. Ironically, Heart is still on board to play a rodeo in Texas on Valentine's Day, calling the band's supposed animal welfare stance into question. Since the majority of the acts are past their prime, they ironically got more press by jumping on the Blackfish bandwagon, despite the movie's many inaccuracies, and cancelling their concern dates.
However, at least one performer is standing strong. Florida country singer Patrick Gibson is played at SeaWorld Orlando on March 9 and is proudly promoting that fact, as you can see in the photo accompanying this article. Gibson has a strong local following, as does SeaWorld since people from the Orlando area are more familiar with how well the park treats its animals and its rescue work than those who only know what they were spoon fed from a slanted movie.
The rest of the replacement acts haven't been announced yet, but the park is in a position to leverage the popularity of local acts with strong, loyal followings. Meanwhile, Bands Brew & BBQ will also feature a selection of tasty food and beer samples through the run of the event, which continues weekends through March 9. Gibson will be the grand finale of the season.
If you're not familiar with the backlash over the movie, check out this article with information the trainers who worked with the film makers and are now saying they were misrepresented. You can also read here about how Dawn Brancheau's family distanced themselves from the film.