Musicians cancel gigs at SeaWorld following ‘Blackfish’ controversy

A recent documentary raised questions about the effects of keeping killer whales in captivity at the US attraction

Artists including Willie Nelson and Heart have cancelled upcoming performances at SeaWorld in Florida after watching the documentary Blackfish.

The film raises questions about the effects of keeping killer whales in captivity at the US attraction, in particular one whale which has been involved in the deaths of three people at SeaWorld in the last 30 years. SeaWorld Orlando’s Bands, Brew & Barbecue music series in February has taken a hit since the documentary was released in July with Willie Nelson, Heart and Barenaked Ladies all cancelling their scheduled appearances.

Additionally, Joan Jett has asked SeaWorld President Jim Atchison to stop using her song ‘I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll’ as the opening music for its ‘Shamu Rocks’ show. Peta reports that Jett sent an open letter to the head of the company, in which she states: “I’m among the millions who saw ‘Blackfish’ and am sickened that my music was blasted without my permission at sound-sensitive marine mammals.”


A post on Heart’s official Twitter page said the decision was influenced by Blackfish.

Nelson and Barenaked Ladies made their decisions after a petition started by activists urged them not to perform at SeaWorld.

SeaWorld spokesman Nick Gollattscheck said that the company respect the performers’ decisions but criticised “a small group of misinformed individuals” who were able to influence the performers, New York Daily News reports.

“The bands and artists have a standing invitation to visit any of our parks to see firsthand or to speak to any of our animal experts to learn for themselves how we care for animals and how little truth there is to the allegations made by animal extremist groups opposed to the zoological display of marine mammals,” Gollattscheck said.