Indigo Girls singer/guitarist Emily Saliers blasted administrators of an Irmo,
S.C., high school Thursday after they canceled the lesbian duo's upcoming
performance at a school assembly in the face of community complaints
concerning her and her singing partner's sexuality.
"We are saddened and angry to hear that our [May 7] show at Irmo High School
has been canceled," Saliers said in a prepared statement issued by her Epic
label. "It is a blatant case of homophobia. The show was canceled because we
Saliers also vowed that the Grammy-winning group will play a show in
neighboring Columbia, S.C., in response to the cancellation. Indigo Girls
publicist Lisa Markowitz confirmed that the added concert was in the works and
would take place in the after-school hours at a yet-to-be-disclosed location.
Markowitz also said that students at Irmo High school were planning a walk-out
in response to the school's turning the Indigo Girls away. Administrators and
school-district spokespeople could not be reached for comment at press time.
In her statement, Saliers went on to say that the free high-school show, one of
four that the band has scheduled next week in the Southeast, was designed to
lift student's spirits during difficult times in American education.
"In the wake of recent violence in schools and the often bleak environment for
kids, which includes the cutting of school arts programs and a lack of creative
outlets," Saliers continued, "we believe that playing free high-school shows will
provide musical and emotional experience for high-school students."
Irmo High School principal Gerald Witt canceled the group's May 7 show at the
Irmo, S.C., school following complaints from parents and students not only
about the Indigo Girls' sexuality but also about holding a rock concert during a
school assembly. The cancellation was followed by word that another principal
in Tennessee was considering canceling another Indigo Girls gig. The
Georgia-based folk singers, Saliers and partner Amy Ray, who are openly gay,
were scheduled to play Irmo next Thursday as the last stop on a mini-tour in
support of their latest album, Shaming Of The Sun.
Jane Rish, a spokeswoman for School District 5, which is home to the 1,800-
student Irmo High, said her office received 30 to 40 calls on Wednesday in
support of the performance. "The most frequent complaint is that they felt like the
sexuality should not have been considered," Rish said.
Ernest Chism, the principal at Germantown High School in Germantown, Tenn.,
where the Indigo Girls are scheduled to play on May 5, told SonicNet Music
News early Thursday that he was considering canceling the show at his
school as well. "Certainly kids are entitled to their own persuasion," he said, "but
I don't think it's anything we want to get involved in as a school." Chism, who is
expected to make a decision about the show by Friday (May 1), couldn't be
reached by press time to determine if he had made a decision.
Meanwhile, representatives from Franklin High School in Franklin, Tenn., and
Farragut High in Knoxville, Tenn., reported Thursday that no one had registered
opposition to upcoming Indigo Girls concerts at their schools (next Monday and
Despite getting a call from one of the high schools scheduled on the tour, Indigo
Girls manager Russell Carter said that the rest of group's mini-tour of
universities and high schools should go off without a hitch. "He said he had
heard about the situation, and he wanted to make sure that they were coming in
to play music and that there wasn't any hidden agenda," Carter explained,
refusing to say who had called him or from which school. "I said there wasn't
and he was cool about it.
"We set up a music concert because the Indigo Girls have a lot of fans who
are high-school kids and they want to go in and play their music," Carter
(Staff Writer Chris Nelson contributed to this report.)