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Bruce Springsteen Cover Band Pulls Out of Inaugural Event

Variety logo Variety 1/16/2017 Ted Johnson
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The B Street Band, a Bruce Springsteen cover group, has backed out of plans to perform at a New Jersey inaugural gala on the eve of President-elect Donald Trump’s swearing in.

The group and its keyboardist and manager, Will Forte, posted a message on Facebook saying that they have decided not to perform out of “respect and gratitude” for Springsteen, who supported Hillary Clinton in the election and has since been critical of Trump.

“With deepest apologies to our fans and the New Jersey Inaugural Ball committee, the B Street Band is withdrawing from performing at this year’s inauguration Gala,” the group wrote.

“Our decision is based SOLELY on the respect and gratitude we have for Bruce and the E Street Band.”

They had been booked for the Garden State Inaugural Ball, which is scheduled for Thursday at the Washington Court Hotel.

“Bruce’s music has been the foundation of our livelihood,” the band said. “The B Street Band would not exist without the talents of Bruce and our E Street brothers. 

“We are most grateful to these rock legends and look forward to many more years of emulating and performing the Forever Music, of Bruce Springsteen.”

Forte had defended the decision to perform, telling NJ.com that it had nothing to do with politics and that they performed at the same event in 2009 and 2013, when Barack Obama was inaugurated. The New Jersey State Society, which holds the event, said that it was nonpartisan. It is also independent of the official inaugural events being organized by Trump’s team.

Several performers have faced a social media backlash after plans were disclosed that they were being approached to perform or were booked. Jennifer Holliday was to appear at a concert at the Lincoln Memorial on Thursday afternoon, but she backed out on Saturday morning, apologizing to her fans in the LGBT community. Garth Brooks and Elton John also declined to perform.

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