But left in the wake of empty venues and bookstores are local business owners, saying there are better ways to protest the bill.
“When groups start canceling concerts, it helps in terms of recognizing the situation, but it’s a mixed bag of good and bad,” said Cat’s Cradle owner Frank Heath.
In that mixed bag is the economic impact on small businesses like Cat’s Cradle. The music venue has experienced one cancellation and numerous threats to cancel shows.
“We’ll either lose more artists, or they just won’t come here,” Heath said. “There’s been a lot of grass-roots efforts to push the education model to do something constructive within the system to educate the voters.”
That education model can be seen in action at Flyleaf Books tomorrow when comedian and writer Felicia Day comes to Flyleaf Books. Jamie Fiocco, the co-owner of Flyleaf Books, convinced Day to hold an educational talk-back instead of canceling her show.
Flyleaf Books is one the local businesses which encourages artists to use status, rather than cancellations, to raise awareness.
“We respect those authors and artists, but we also want them to understand that the independent businesses become collateral damage,” Fiocco said.
Not all artists are boycotting North Carolina venues. Mipso is returning to Chapel Hill after a long tour.
“There is such an amazing cultural heritage that is now being overshadowed,” said fiddle player and UNC graduate
On tour, Rodenbough said people offered condolences and expressed concern for her home state. She said she worries how cancellations will impact the music communities in North Carolina.
“I would hate for people here — those who are already being oppressed — to not have access to music and art that might give them solace,” she said.
“The kid in North Carolina who feels unwelcome in their state and now having musicians and Broadway shows being canceled can only increase their pain.”
Heath said he hopes to work with artists and find constructive ways to protest the legislation using artists’ passion and popularity.
“It can be made more positive by reaching out to bands that will perform in a way that shares their feelings toward the bill,” he said. “They can be really powerful in that sense.”