Arizona Law Prompts Musician Strike

Sep 14, 2010 3:21pm

ABC News on Campus reporter Melanie Torre blogs:
Hundreds of musicians are joining together in boycotting concerts held in Arizona as a response to controversial immigration law SB 1070. In May, 20 artists united to take a stand. Now, that number has grown to nearly 400.
The movement, known as The Sound Strike, is gaining momentum from coast to coast. Big names like Kanye West, M.I.A, and Maroon Five have joined the strike and canceled their shows in Arizona.
Austin, Texas – known as the 'Live Music Capital of the World' - is providing some of the momentum. Austin one-man band Big Red Marbles, created by singer and songwriter Andrew Boze, joined the petition and is trying to spread the word in the Lone Star State. Boze said his decision to support The Sound Strike’s mission — to get Arizona to repeal the immigration law — was easy. “Human rights has always been important to me and it was something I immediately jumped on,” Boze said.   
Boze said he thinks musicians can play important roles in social change — alluding to the counterculture of the 1960s. “I’ve never met anyone in my life that didn’t like music and so I feel like whether it’s folk music or blues or metal or anything, you can strike a chord with someone,” he said.  “Musicians can be watchdogs for things and say, ‘something’s gone awry here and something needs to be done about it.’”
However, some say The Sound strike isn’t fair to Arizona’s music fans.  “What do these bands want us to do? Complain to the government? Well, we are complaining,” said Arizona State University senior Kendall Hill. “This law is something a lot of people in Arizona don’t like. I don’t know why [the bands] are punishing us.”
Hill said she’s a Maroon Five fan and is disappointed they won’t be playing shows in Arizona because of SB 1070. She’s been to many of their shows in the past, including one in Tempe that she attended with her entire sorority. She also said The Sound Strike hurts individual towns in Arizona by taking away valuable revenue made from tourists traveling to see the bands. And she’s right. The Arizona Daily Star reports music venues in Tucson are suffering six-figure losses as a result of The Sound Strike. Boze said he wants fans to write their congressmen if they want to see The Sound Strike stop. Until then, he said he thinks support for the strike will continue growing and may eventually affect other states who pass similar laws. “I do see the Sound Strike getting huge and then you get to the point where no one’s playing any more. I see that it could get to that magnitude for sure,” he said.
Earlier this month the Associated Press reported 11 states joined to file a legal brief in support of SB 1070: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia. As of now, The Sound Strike does not plan to expand the boycott beyond Arizona.

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