Christian band Everyday Sunday was dropped from northern California Christian music festival Joshua Fest as 11 production staff threatened to walk out if the recently out lead singer of the band, Trey Pearson, took the stage, reported Billboard on 12 September 2016.
Joshua Fest owner Aaron Diello said that his production manager told him that out of his 14-member production team, 11 were going to “back out” with the event less than two weeks away.
Diello said he was “hurt” and felt “powerless in the situation” as Pearson is a friend, but the festival was scheduled to take place over the 2-4 September three-day holiday weekend, making it difficult to find an available replacement crew at no cost as staff are all volunteers.
Everyday Sunday had played almost every year of the festival for the past decade. We had booked them for tours, hung out on RV rides after shows … We knew it would be controversial. But we also knew that if we were going to claim to be a festival that proclaims the love of Jesus, to everyone, then our friend needed to be included in that proclamation.
Pearson, who attended the festival as an audience member, told Billboard:
The owners are awesome and their hearts are awesome and that’s why they were inviting me in the first place. There was no way they would have been able to have the festival. If they keep me, I’m not going to perform anyway, because the festival is not even going to happen, and the festival owners are going to lose probably hundreds of thousands of dollars.
After coming out in May 2016, Pearson had posted on social media in August 2016 that he felt “overwhelmed and honoured” that he would “be the first openly gay artist to ever play a major Christian music festival”, reported Raw Story on 16 September 2016.
Pearson ended up getting on stage in the end as band Five Iron Frenzy invited him up to sing their set-closing song with them.
» Raw Story – 16 September 2016:
California Christian music festival banned gay singer when staff threatened to walk
» Billboard – 12 September 2016:
Gay Christian rocker Trey Pearson on being ousted from festival bill & how he ended up onstage anyway
» The Independent – 3 June 2016:
Everyday Sunday: Christian rocker Trey Pearson says he never wanted to come out as gay
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