The hits just keep on coming, folks. Ringo Starr announced yesterday that he was canceling his summer concert in Cary, and now, Durham’s Festival for the Eno has lost its headliner.

Today, the festival was set to announce Ani DiFranco as a Fourth of July headlining performer, but DiFranco has pulled out, citing the prejudicial HB 2. This cancellation, though, is a little different: DiFranco is bailing on the Festival for the Eno, a major fund-raising event for the Eno River Association, a nonprofit that seeks to promote environmental stewardship and conservation.

DiFranco’s cancellation is a direct hit to exactly the kind of organization that can promote activism on a local, meaningful level and has been doing so for decades. Not just a music festival, the Festival for the Eno hosts a wide variety of booths and other organizations that encourage local involvement. At this late date, finding a replacement at nonprofit prices, especially in light of HB 2 turmoil, seems like a tough sell. Maybe not the best move.

“It’s going to be difficult,” confirms Tess Mangum Ocaña, who’s been working on booking the festival. She says that the relatively short notice, the festival’s limited budget, and finding a band that’s even willing to play North Carolina after the passage of HB 2 will turn finding a replacement for DiFranco’s slot into a serious struggle.

According to the festival, DiFranco had originally intended to dedicate the performance to the battle to repeal HB 2, according to Ocaña, who added that she understands and respects the decision.

Tickets to this year’s festival, which also features Hiss Golden Messenger, Nikki Hill, and more, are now available.

You can read DiFranco’s full statement below.


April 14, 2016

Today I was supposed to announce my July 4th participation in the Festival for the Eno in Durham, North Carolina. Instead, I must announce that I am cancelling my trip and will not be appearing at this wonderful event. As we all have heard, the North Carolina legislature recently passed House Bill 2, also known as the Public Facilities Privacy& Security Act, which specifically bans individuals from using bathrooms and locker rooms that do not match the gender listed on their birth certificates. In addition, the bill also prevents local governments from enacting non-discrimination ordinances that might supersede this State action. All of this was done as a direct attack on the rights of the LGBT community.

Today I stand arm in arm with my community, friends, family and fellow citizens in condemning this unjust law. And while I was looking forward to coming to Durham, I can not in good conscience do so at this time. When one of us is oppressed, all of us are oppressed, and only through the strength of our collective action will change occur. I wish to add my voice through this small action to the chorus of all of those working to make our world a more loving and accepting place.

To those who live in North Carolina, and do not have the tool of staying away to voice your dissent, please take a moment to look at the Festival for the Eno. It is an annual event hosted by the hardworking folks at the Eno River Association focused on protecting and sustaining the Eno River and its watershed for future generations.

And don’t forget to vote!