From Global News…
Halifax-based band Neon Dreams says it is dropping out of its tour with Canadian rockers Hedley after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against that band.
The announcement came Friday morning, hours after Hedley’s management team also said it was dropping them from its roster. Earlier this week, the Junos had dropped Hedley from its televised celebration after recent claims of impropriety involving young fans surfaced on social media.
In a statement posted on its Facebook page, Neon Dreams said it could “no longer in good conscience continue on the Cageless tour,” opening for Hedley.
The band said it had “to do what is morally right” despite any negative impact the decision could have on the Halifax-based band professionally.
“We are truly sorry to disappoint anybody that has purchased a ticket to see us perform and we hope to make it up to you in the future,” Neon Dreams said in a statement.
Halifax’s Scotiabank Centre said, as of now, the Hedley concert scheduled for next Friday will go ahead.
Statement from Hedley
Hedley responded to what it called the “unsubstantiated” allegations in a statement Wednesday, saying that the life of a touring band “unconventional.”
“While we are all now either married or have entered into committed, long-term relationships, there was a time, in the past, when we engaged in a lifestyle that incorporated certain rock ‘n roll clichés. However, there was always a line that we would never cross.”
None of the allegations against the band have been proven.
Jacqueline Warwick, a professor of Musicology and Gender and Women’s Studies at Dalhousie University, said the “clichés” to which the band refers have been around a long time.
“There has been, in a lot of ways — in all areas of music, not just rock culture — an idea that free access to sex is just one of the perks of the job and that it is sort of almost encouraged in some areas,” she said.
“It’s a very exciting moment to see all the conversations and kind of turning of the tide in so many industries at the moment around questions of sexual exploitation and abuse, so it’s no surprise to see this happening in rock culture.”
Warwick said it can be tough for fans to try and reconcile their love of an artist with allegations of sexual misconduct.
“I think the harder path, but the path, really, we should try to follow, is to reconcile both those things,” she said.
“Hold both those ideas in our heads at once: that I can love this music, it can mean something to me, and I need to think about the fact that maybe it has these other unethical dimensions that I’m not comfortable with.”
Hedley — fronted by Jacob Hoggard and including Dave Rosin, Tommy Mac and Jay Benison — are up for three Junos this year, including fan choice, group of the year and pop album of the year.
Several other organizations are also distancing themselves from the band, including the philanthropic organization WE, which has had a long relationship with the band. It said it has “no plans to work with Hedley in the future.”
Corus Radio, which owns 39 stations across the country, announced Thursday it was suspending all airplay on all Hedley songs in light of the allegations.
Air Miles says it has cancelled a contest in which its collectors could have won a VIP experience at a Hedley concert. Air Miles says “winners will be offered a substitute prize.”
Laura Simpson is founder of the music development company Syrup Factory and has worked in the music industry in Nova Scotia for years.
She said she’s glad the conversations around treatment of women in the music industry are growing and she has some advice.
“My advice isn’t actually to women, because women have been doing the work for so long to mitigate risk, manage assaults, deal with the problems,” she said.
“My advice is actually to men and one is to actually find the patience to continue to listen and find the time to actually research and read and pay attention to what’s going on. That’s what’s really going to help.”