During its four-day festival, the CMA Fest is prohibiting any Confederate flag imagery, following similar bans at other country music festivals.

The festival is returning after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 and will take place from June 9 to June 12.

In a statement provided to The Tennessean, the Country Music Association said the decision to enact the policy this year was based on the personal safety of fans and to prevent discrimination.

Here’s what the statement said:

“This year’s CMA Fest is our first major fan-facing event in nearly three years. We have always had policies in place that protect the safety of our fans and ban discrimination, but we felt it was important to further refine our language to explicitly outline what will and will not be tolerated.” 

The statement continued:

“In line with our first CMA Fest lineup announcement in early April, our event policy was published on our website, which states any behavior that causes one of our attendees to fear for their personal safety will not be tolerated, and that is inclusive of any displays of the Confederate flag.”

The CMA action comes in the wake of similar bans instituted by organizations, including NASCAR.

Stagecoach Festival in Indio, California, this year banned Confederate flag imagery and any other “divisive symbols” and “racially disparaging” displays.

Country star Maren Morris has urged other country singers to call on festivals and shows to ban the flag. Luke Combs has also apologized for previously appearing with the Confederate flag, saying there was no excuse.

Here’s what Combs said at the time:

“As I’ve grown in my time as an artist, and as the world has changed drastically in the last five to seven years, I am now aware how painful that image can be…I would never want to be associated with something that brings so much hurt to someone else.”

Combs made the comment during a panel with Maren Morris, who also condemned the flags. Here’s what Morris said:

“Can we just agree at these country music festivals, I see the Confederate flags in the parking lots. I don’t want to play those festivals anymore. If you were a black person would you ever feel safe going to a show with those flying in the parking lot? No! I feel like the most powerful thing as artists in our positions is to make those demands of large organizations, festivals, promoters, that’s one of the things we can do is say, ‘No, I’m not doing this. Get rid of them.’”

Sources: Thegatewaypundit, The Tennessean

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