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CMA Fest bans Confederate flag displays, imagery for 2022 event

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Organizers of one of the world’s largest country music gatherings have officially banned attendees from displaying Confederate imagery during the six-day festival, slated to kick off Thursday in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Billed as the “ultimate country music experience,” the 2022 CMA Fest website for the first time in the festival’s history lists “Confederate flag imagery of any kind” under its itemized list of prohibited items, The Tennessean reported.

“This year’s CMA Fest is our first major fan-facing event in nearly three years. We have always had policies in place that protect the safety of our fans and ban discrimination, but we felt it was important to further refine our language to explicitly outline what will and will not be tolerated,” a statement from the Country Music Association provided Wednesday to the newspaper read.

The flag imagery prohibition has been in place since April, Variety reported.

“In line with our first CMA Fest lineup announcement in early April, our event policy was published on our website, which states any behavior that causes one of our attendees to fear for their personal safety will not be tolerated, and that is inclusive of any displays of the Confederate flag,” the Country Music Association’s statement continued.

The CMA Fest decision follows that of California’s Stagecoach Festival to ban all Confederate flag imagery for its three-day run that concluded May 1, Variety reported.

According to the entertainment news outlet, CMA and other country music organizations are actively promoting the genre’s increasing racial diversity, and two Black artists will headline the Nissan Stadium man stage: Darius Rucker and Kane Brown.

Meanwhile, other artists of color participating on other CMA Fest 2022 stages include Mickey Guyton, Jimmie Allen, Brittney Spencer, Reyna Roberts, Breland, Miko Marks, Blanco Brown, Brei Carter, Madeline Edwards, Willie Jones, O.N.E. the Duo, Rodell Duff, RVSHVD, Shy Carter and Tiera Kennedy, Variety reported.

CMA Fest 2022 marks the festival’s return to downtown Nashville, following a two-year hiatus prompted by COVID-19 pandemic precautions, The Tennessean reported.