The Country Music Association has banned “Confederate flag imagery of any kind” from the upcoming CMA Fest in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Country Music Association said that their decision was part of a “policy to protect the safety of fans” during the four day long festival.
“This year’s CMA Fest is our first major fan-facing event in nearly three years. 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,” the CMA said in the statement, according to The Tennessean.
The statement continued, “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.”
California’s Stagecoach Festival also banned Confederate imagery, including flags, from their festival and camp sites last year, and NASCAR has banned it from their races.
The Tennessean report noted that last year, Luke Combs (who will be performing at the CMA Fest) apologized for his past use of the Confederate flag during a discussion at Nashville’s annual Country Radio Seminar.
“As I’ve grown in my time as an artist, and as the world has changed drastically in the last five to seven years, I am now aware how painful that image can be,” Combs said at the time. “…I would never want to be associated with something that brings so much hurt to someone else.”
Combs made the comment during a panel with Maren Morris, who also condemned the flags.
“Can we just agree at these country music festivals, I see the Confederate flags in the parking lots. I don’t want to play those festivals anymore,” Morris said. “If you were a black person would you ever feel safe going to a show with those flying in the parking lot? No! I feel like the most powerful thing as artists in our positions is to make those demands of large organizations, festivals, promoters, that’s one of the things we can do is say, ‘No, I’m not doing this. Get rid of them.’”
The festival is scheduled to take place on June 9-12.