Op-Ed By Fucked Up’s Damian Abraham: Bands Should Play In Arizona Now More Than Eve
Before I go any further, I want to say that this is in no way meant as an attack on the bands that have chosen to boycott Arizona as a reaction to this bill. I think they have their reasons for choosing this tactic to try a force the repealing of this law. That said, I think this strategy is severely flawed. First, I think it makes assumptions about the people that like your band. It presupposes not only that the people like your band are incapable of coming to the reasonable idea about this bill, but that they are in favor of this bill. The fact is, this was a ugly divisive issue across the state and that there are a huge number of people in Arizona that were bitterly opposed to the legislation and are now disgusted that it has been made law.
Love Fucked Up, love this guy. I have a few more thoughts to add on this:
I’m from Arizona so I’m a little biased. But I think bands still playing there makes sense. Boycotts work when your individual voice doesn’t matter to many people. No one is concerned with what one not-famous or not-prominent person thinks of the new law. That’s why that person has to join a boycott or participate in marches/protests to have a say. But obviously bands have a higher profile. People pay to see you, they ask to interview you, etc. You’ve got a more effective way to voice your opinion. Isn’t that the same reason why bands hold charity shows instead of anonymously handing over a couple bucks to a charity — because they know that their position gives them more options to raise money and awareness?
And comparing an indie band boycott to a tourism/convention center boycott is comparing apples and agriculture — you are, at most, going to take dollars away from venues that are, like small venues all around the country, barely profitable anyway. Do you really think you’re sending a message to the legislature when you cancel a show at a non-profit arts space staffed by volunteers (typical of Arizona venues that host indie bands). If you were talking about rock arenas, playing convention centers, corporate-owned stadiums, that’s another thing.
As Damian says above, you’d also be preaching to the choir in Arizona. I can’t say for sure, of course, but based on my time in Arizona, I’d guess 99% of your audience there shares your opinion of the law. They are the ones who have, for years, staged marches, registered voters, driven to the border to confront the Minutemen. It’s patronizing to think you’re making them wake up to an issue that’s been boiling down in Arizona for years and years before this law passed.
If you agree (or disagree, whatever) drop a comment over at Stereogum.