Report: NRA Grand Ole Night of Freedom Concert to Be Canceled After Lee Greenwood + More Pull Out
According to a new report, a controversial country music-themed concert in support of the NRA that is slated for Saturday (May 28) in Houston faces likely cancelation after a string of country artists who were scheduled to perform have pulled out of the event, citing the mass shooting that took place on Tuesday (May 24) at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
Billboard reports that "God Bless the USA" singer Lee Greenwood, T. Graham Brown and country singer and radio host Danielle Peck have become the latest artists to pull out of the NRA's Grand Ole Night of Freedom event. All three singers announced their decisions not to perform at the event on Thursday (May 26), citing the mass shootings at an elementary school in Uvalde on Tuesday that killed 21 people.
The initial lineup for the event also included "American Pie" singer Don McLean, Larry Gatlin, Restless Heart singer Larry Stewart and newcomer Jacob Bryant. McLean, Gatlin and Stewart have also pulled out of the event, leaving only Bryant, and a source tells Billboard that the NRA is expected to cancel the concert on Friday (May 27).
“As a father, I join the rest of America in being absolutely heartbroken by the horrific event that transpired this week in Texas," Greenwood states, per Billboard. "I was scheduled to perform at NRA’s private event on Saturday with my band. After thoughtful consideration, we have decided to cancel the appearance out of respect for those mourning the loss of those innocent children and teachers in Uvalde.”
“During this Memorial Day Weekend, we should also remember the servicemen and women, and first responders who’ve given their lives to protect our great country," Greenwood adds. "Please join me to pay our respects as we unite together as would be the most appropriate measure at this time.”
Brown also references the Uvalde mass shooting in his statement, writing, “Sheila and I grieve with the families, city of Uvalde, the state of Texas, and our nation. We are very sensitive to the feelings of the good people who lost loved ones, therefore I am opting out of the concert in Houston on Saturday. I believe that the families are deserving of time to grieve. It is a sad week for everyone. May God bless us all as we seek answers.”
Peck is a country singer and the host of Y2Kountry on Sirius XM, and also referenced the shootings in her statement.
“After much thought, as a both a mother and out of respect for all of the families in Uvalde, Texas, during the heartbreaking time, I have made the decision to not host or perform at the NRA Event in Houston this weekend," Peck says. "Instead, my thoughts and prayers will be with the families going through this tragic and unimaginable time right now.”
The mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde killed 19 children and two adults, making it the deadliest mass shooting of 2022. According to the Associated Press, the 18-year-old gunman used an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle that he purchased legally just after his 18th birthday the week before the shooting.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and former President Donald Trump are all scheduled to speak at the NRA event, as well as Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson. It's unclear if the non-musical portions of the event will go forward if the concert portion is canceled. Despite significant social and political pressure on the city of Houston and the NRA to cancel the event, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says a binding contract prevents the city from canceling it outright.
The National Rifle Association did not reply to Billboard's request for comment, and the organization had not made any announcements regarding the Grand Ole Night of Freedom event as of Friday morning. The NRA turned to social media to share a statement about the mass shootings in Uvalde on May 25:
"Although an investigation is underway and facts are still emerging, we recognize this was the act of a lone, deranged criminal," reads a tweet from the NRA's official Twitter account.
"As we gather in Houston, we will reflect on these events, pray for the victims, recognize our patriotic members, and pledge to redouble our commitment to making our schools secure."