Scottish country music club votes to ban use of Confederate flag

Scotland’s most famous country music club – which featured in a BAFTA-nominated film – has narrowly voted to ban the American Confederate flag.

On Monday, members of Glasgow’s Grand Ole Opry voted by 50 to 48 to maintain a ban put in place by the venue’s committee last month.

There was one spoiled ballot and two people failed to vote.

The club’s vice-president, Karen McCulloch, confirmed the results of the extraordinary general meeting (EGM) in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

She stated: “The final outcome is that from 27 September 2023 there will be no display of the Confederate flag in any shape or form within Glasgow’s Grand Ole Opry.”

Image: Glasgow’s Grand Ole Opry

The flag dates back to the American Civil War era of the 1860s when it was used by slave-owning states in the South.

While many Americans argue the flag is a symbol of Southern heritage, it continues to cause controversy and is seen as racist due to its associations with slavery and white supremacy.

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The Confederate flag had been the centrepiece of a ceremony – dubbed the American Trilogy – held at the end of each night at the club.

On its website, the club explained: “As the Southern states lost the war, and due to the fact that this part of America supplied us then, as now, with most of the trends that influence our music, dress and dance, it is the Southern flag (often called the Confederate Battle flag) which is folded.”

The ceremony was accompanied by the 1972 Elvis Presley song, An American Trilogy, which combines popular battle hymns from each side alongside a Bahamian lullaby.

The club added: “We dedicate the American Trilogy as a salute in memory of all those men and women lost from both sides.”

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The club – which was founded in 1974 and took its name from the famous Nashville venue – has appeared in cult TV series Taggart and was the backdrop to the 2018 movie Wild Rose.

Lead star Jessie Buckley, who played an aspiring country singer and single mother in the film, earned a Best Actress BAFTA nomination for her performance.

National Theatre of Scotland (NTS) had scouted the venue for an upcoming production but found it unsuitable due to the displaying of the Confederate flag.

A NTS spokesperson said: “National Theatre of Scotland, without a theatre building of their own, tours widely to different arts venues and cultural and community spaces across Scotland.

“The company was considering presenting a future show at the Grand Ole Opry but unfortunately due to the displaying of the Confederate flag at the venue we have withdrawn our interest.

“While we appreciate there are many reasons why this flag is displayed, the Confederate flag is now widely acknowledged as having racist connotations and it would be inappropriate and insensitive to our audiences, artists and arts workers for us to present work at this venue, within this context.”

Glasgow’s Grand Ole Opry was contacted for comment.

Source : Sky News