[Photo: Wes Breedwell]
Nashville music venue and youth center Rocketown has found itself under tremendous scrutiny this week. On Monday, Hostage Calm spoke out against the venue after a friend of the band, Wes Breedwell, was fired from the venue for wearing the band’s “I Support Same-Sex Marriage” T-shirt, allegedly.
In response, artists have made vows to stand up against the venue. AP reached out to artists across the scene to see who is taking Hostage Calm’s proposed “call to action.”
AP did reach out for opinions from both sides and Rocketown has released the following statement: “Rocketown does not comment on personnel issues, but, generally speaking, an employee would not be fired for expressing opinions on marriage. At Rocketown, we are welcoming and accepting of all youth. We reach out to all kids, are inclusive and very much care about acceptance of youth from different ethnicities, sexual orientations, financial backgrounds and religions.”
Additionally, last night Breedwell issued his own statement via instagram, as well: “My name is Wes Breedwell. I am not gay but do support those who are. It’s unfortunate that Rocketown chose to terminate me for what they consider lack of judgment. I have worked tirelessly for seven years to foster acceptance of all types of music and people. It was my hope that progress was being made, however, Monday brought a level of intolerance I did not expect. This is a tough time for me, I’m devastated about losing my job and I request you respect my privacy. On the advice of counsel, I cannot and will not grant requests for interviews. Lastly, please refrain from internet bashing and respect everyone’s right to their opinions and beliefs.”
Here is what some musicians have to say about the incident:
For us, music has always had the feeling of “come one, come all.” In any venue in any city we visit, we like to give the people in attendance a sense of kindness and family. That’s what music has always given us. Despite our love for music and the amazing feeling that comes with creating it, a huge part of being a band and being friends is being able to accept each others individual beliefs in whatever aspect of life they are. We’ve found the same morals and belief system in almost every band we’ve played with.
It’s incredibly sad to see that a venue such as Rocketown can terminate someone’s employment after seven years because he did what he believes and knows is right. Freedom, love, and equality for everyone is right. The degradation of any human based on their gender identity or sexual orientation is wrong. We support same-sex marriage.
Josh Lyford, FOXFIRES
It is unbelievable that in 2013 you can lose your job for supporting same sex marriage. It is disgusting, and Rocketown and its staff should be ashamed. However, I'm sure they're not, and even though I hate to say it, I suppose it is a Christian venue's right to fire whomever they want for standing against the viewpoint of the administration. With that being said, fuck Rocketown. I'm glad that the last time I was there I got drunk in the van and puked on the side of the building.
Evan Weiss, INTO IT. OVER IT.
I absolutely disagree [with the action Rocketown took]. Punk rock is built on a foundation of tolerance and understanding regardless of color, creed or interests. This is not limited to sexual or religious orientation. It's a place where individuals should be accepted for who they are when they (in most cases) cannot be accepted by popular culture.
I'm dumbfounded that in 2013, this kind of thing could even be an issue. I wish I could form more of an explanation, but it's unbelievable to me that anyone not subscribing to a Christian state of mind should and will feel unwelcome at an all-ages youth center. The owners and operators should be ashamed. Fucking ashamed.
I am boycotting the venue. It's a drag because I always enjoyed playing and attending shows at Rocketown on previous tours playing in past bands. However, that being said, a center like that [showing human rights intolerance] is no place I want to host an event in which people should feel welcome. There are other all ages spots in Nashville. There are other promoters in Nashville. This should be a call to arms for not only the punk community of Tennessee, but for our community nationwide.
Tyler Carter, ISSUES
I took it upon myself to boycott the venue because of the situation that happened. I refuse to play the venue until there is a resolution. I was extremely upset to hear of something like this happening to one of our favorite venues, but we had to stand for what we believe in and what is right. Equality is something that Issues are all about, and I also used the opportunity to tell my fans that I am bisexual and that because of this situation, I no longer felt welcomed at that venue that I have loved so much. However because tons of kids have purchased tickets to see us on tour with A Day To Remember and Of Mice & Men I said we would be playing strictly for the fans.
I've never been "in the closet;" I've just always kept my personal life separated from my career and the internet. But I felt that there were a lot of people who needed a voice after this mishap, and it was time to let my fans into my personal life. The thing that is most touching is these fans who support these bands are so impacted by our bands taking a stand for what’s right. It's more effective now than I have ever seen. I know personally that I have read more than 100 fan messages to myself saying how much my stand on this has impacted them to be comfortable with themselves, or saved their lives. This is real; this is a movement, and I think bands are changing their fans’ lives now more than ever. That's what Issues' purpose is through music.
Continue to page two for responses from The Wonder Years, Transit, Make Do And Mend, The Story So Far and more