Music

NASCAR's Confederate Flag Ban Impacts Country Music Festival

Festival goers hold up cellphones before the start of Luke Bryan at the Faster Horses Music Festival in the Brooklyn Trails Campground at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, July 23, 2017, in Brooklyn, Mich. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

NASCAR's Confederate flag ban includes all events held at its race tracks, including the Michigan International Speedway's annual three-day country music festival, Faster Horses.

The 2020 edition of Faster Horses, originally slated for July 17-19, has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. It will return to the speedway's infield for an eighth time on July 16-18, 2021, with this year's planned lineup-- including headliners Jason Aldean, Luke Combs and Thomas Rhett--expected to remain on the bill.

The Detroit News confirmed the ban for all events at the home of NASCAR races FireKeepers Casino 400 and Consumers Energy 400 with the motorsports association's Midwest communications director, Neal Gulkis.

The ban comes at a time when the Black Lives Matter movement and the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis dominate headlines and there's an increased push to remove Civil War-related monuments from public spaces.

"The presence of the confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry," NASCAR said in a prepared statement. "Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special. The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties."

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Per Alt_Driver, NASCAR's announcement to ban the Confederate flag also came two days after Bubba Wallace, the only African-American driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, appeared on CNN and called for NASCAR to remove the Confederate flag from all racetracks.

"No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. It starts with confederate flags," Wallace told CNN's Don Lemon. "Get them out of here. They have no place for them."

The NASCAR driver continued, "What I'm chasing is checkered flags, and that was kind of my narrative, but diving more into it and educating myself, people feel uncomfortable with that."

Wallace, an Alabama native, drives Richard Petty's iconic number 43 Chevrolet.

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NASCAR's Confederate Flag Ban Impacts Country Music Festival