TOWN OF LINN — A controversial musical concert at Zenda Tap has been canceled after concerns were raised that the performers practice hate speech against minorities and gay people.
Town officials said county zoning administrators determined that Zenda Tap does not have the proper zoning or permit to host large outdoor entertainment events such as the concert that was planned for Saturday night.
Zenda Tap officials could not be reached for comment.
The tavern’s Facebook page lists a promotion for the Adam Calhoun and Demun Jones concert with a new location shown as a tavern in the Racine County town of Kansasville.
Town of Linn Police Chief James Bushey said in an email today that the Zenda Tap show was being canceled “due to permit and licensing issues” and that those issues pertain to “having outdoor events.”
The group LGBT of Walworth County had called for a boycott of the concert and had approached town officials with complaints that Adam Calhoun and Demun Jones perform songs with lyrics that include racist and homophobic messages.
The same performers had shows canceled earlier this year in California and Oklahoma after similar complaints were raised.
Promoters and others associated with the Zenda Tap concert denied that the concert would constitute hate speech. Zenda Tap owner Jose Hernandez offered assurances that he would not allow racist or homophobic messages.
Other Linn officials had expressed support for allowing the concert to go forward, citing freedom of speech for the performers, who tour under the banner, “Crazy White Boy.”
Tickets for the event were selling for up to $38 each, and the tavern’s outdoor garden could have accommodated about 1,500 people.
Linn Chairman Jim Weiss said the town is covered by county zoning rules, and county officials determined that Zenda Tap was lacking a permit needed to host outdoor amusement events.
Weiss said he believes the permit issue was discovered as zoning officials were scrutinizing the Saturday night concert in response to the controversy it had generated.
Asked if Zenda Tap was being treated fairly, Weiss said: “Everybody’s got to play by the rules.”
Charlotte Lesure, a board member for LGBT of Walworth County, expressed satisfaction that Walworth County would not be host to such a musical event.
Lesure said she wishes that rather than a zoning technicality, the concert was canceled because hate speech was deemed unacceptable.
But she said: “For whatever reason, it’s good news. I’m happy to hear that.”