Over a Dozen Tennessee Musicians Protest Drag Ban With Benefit Concert

Photo-Illustration: Vulture. Photos: Getty Images

Tennessee’s new ban on drag performances will affect far more than drag performers themselves — from the trans people the law also targets to the LGBTQ+ activists who work with drag queen to the bar owners who book drag shows and even other types of performers and venue workers in the state. So a group of Tennessee musicians are standing up for their fellow performers with a benefit concert for LGBTQ+ rights. Allison Russell, who performs solo and in multiple groups, and Jason Isbell, the outspoken singer-songwriter, organized Love Rising, taking place March 20. And they’ve tapped some famous friends including Paramore’s Hayley Williams (in her first live solo set), Maren Morris, Brittany Howard, Sheryl Crow, Brothers Osborne, Julien Baker, and Yola. Along with the musicians, the lineup includes over a dozen drag queens, such as recent Drag Race contestant Aura Mayari, and the show will be hosted by Drag Race season-ten finalist Asia O’Hara. “LGBTQIA+ contributions and creativity are foundational to every genre of modern song and arts performance,” Russell said in a statement. “I think it speaks volumes that so many in our community are feeling the same call to support, celebrate and uplift!” They’re not standing alone in the state’s music community, either, after Bonnaroo recently affirmed its commitment to supporting all festivalgoers and performers.

Many of the musician are part of the LGBTQ+ community themselves, including Brothers Osborne’s T.J. Osborne, the first out gay person on a major country label; others have long been vocal allies, like Morris, who sparred with Brittany Aldean while supporting trans children last year. Also in the lineup are Amanda Shires, Hozier, Jake Wesley Rogers, Joy Oladokun, Mya Byrne, Adeem the Artist, Fancy Hagood, Autumn Nicholas, Izzy Heltai, Shea Diamond, Sparkle City Disco, and Wrabel. The Rainbow Coalition — a group that features Russell and members of her live band, including Larissa Maestro, Mandy Fer, and SistaStrings, as well as Elenna Canlas, Elizabeth Pupo-Walker, Megan Coleman, Ryan Madora, and music director Meg McCormick — will also perform. The full lineup of drag performers includes Alexia Noelle, Aura Mayari, Britney Banks, Cya Inhale, Deception, Jaxson Stone, Justine Van de Blair, Obsinity, Samira Valentine, Sasha Dereon, Shelby Lá Banks, Trey Alize, Vanity, Veronika Electronika, Vidalia Anne Gentry, and Vivica Steele.

The concert, which takes place at Bridgestone Arena, will benefit the Tennessee Equality Project, Inclusion Tennessee, OUTMemphis, and the Tennessee Pride Chamber. The Looking Out Foundation is also collecting donations and will double that amount up to $100,000. And if you’re not in Tennessee, you don’t have to miss out: The show will stream live beginning at 7:30 p.m. for $14.99. “These bills add up to an attempt to eradicate a valuable part of our community and force good people to live in fear,” Isbell said in his statement. “We can’t in good conscience just stand by and let that happen.”

This post has been updated throughout.

Hayley Williams and More to Protest Drag Ban With Concert