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Environment

SeaWorld 'Disappointed' at Band Cancellations

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Magnolia

SeaWorld says it's disappointed that some bands have decided not to perform at its Orlando theme park next year. The bands canceled after they were petitioned in an online campaign by critics of the theme park.

Musicians who have pulled out of performing at SeaWorld’s "Bands, Brew and BBQ" event include Trisha Yearwood, Cheap Trick, Heart, REO Speedwagon, Willie Nelson and the Barenaked Ladies.

CNN reports that on Saturday, Martina McBride became at least the seventh musician to join that list.

"I've decided that given all the issues that have been aired recently, the time isn't right for me to play at SeaWorld," the singer posted on her Facebook page over the weekend. "I have canceled my scheduled performance at the Bands, Blues (sic) & BBQ event in March 2014."

The bands were petitioned to boycott the park on the website change.org.

Some of the petitions refer to the film Blackfish, a documentary about the death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010. The film is critical of the conditions in which marine mammals like orcas - or killer whales - are housed at the theme park.

In a statement to WMFE 90.7 News in Orlando, SeaWorld spokesman Nick Gollattscheck said, “While we’re disappointed a small group of misinformed individuals was able to deny fans what would have been great concerts, we respect the bands’ decision.”

"The bands and artists have a standing invitation to visit any of our parks to see firsthand or to speak to any of our animal experts to learn for themselves how we care for animals and how little truth there is to the allegations made by animal extremist groups opposed to the zoological display of marine mammals," said Gollattscheck. 

SeaWorld says the benefits of zoological display include conservation of wild populations, animal rescue and scientific research.

CNN also reported that the schedule of performers has been removed from the park's Bands, Brew & BBQ website. Gollattscheck told CNN that SeaWorld is attempting to book replacement acts, saying, "We'll announce the full lineup of bands when all artists have been confirmed. We'll repost the schedule on our site then."