Changes: REO Speedwagon, Beach Boys, Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo

The Beach Boys and Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo nix performances at SeaWorld sister park Busch Gardens … REO Speedwagon reschedules its February gig at Illinois State University.

Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be any more acts canceling appearances at SeaWorld, now artists have started calling off gigs at Tampa’s Busch Gardens, an amusement park owned and operated by SeaWorld.

Forget about seeing The Beach Boys or Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo at Busch Gardens in February.  Although Benatar pointed to the connection to SeaWorld in her statement, neither act mentioned the film “Blackfish.”

Photo: Owen Sweeney /
American Music Theatre, Lancaster, Pa.

During the past few months Trace Adkins, REO Speedwagon, Martina McBride, 38 Special, Willie Nelson, Heart, Cheap Trick, Trisha Yearwood and Barenaked Ladies have backed out of SeaWorld appearances following criticism of the theme park stemming from the documentary.

The film portrays the reported mistreatment of killer whales in captivity and highlights the story of Tilikum, a 12,000-pound orca that has killed three people, including a SeaWorld trainer in 2010.

Photo: David Pletz
McPhillips Street Station Casino, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Benatar and her husband/guitarist Neil Giraldo wrote, “It has come to our attention that Busch Gardens is an affiliate of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. In light of this we have opted to cancel our February 22, 2014 performance at Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL. We want to thank everyone for their patience and understanding.”

The Beach Boys issued a statement saying, “The Beach Boys have canceled their performance on February 15, 2014. The band regrets any inconvenience this may have caused their fans and they look forward to returning to Tampa soon.”

And here’s what a Busch Gardens Tampa spokesman had to say about the news (via CNN).

“We regret to announce that the Beach Boys and Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo have canceled their performances at Bands, Brew & BBQ this year, but we respect their decision. We’re disappointed that there is a media controversy enacted by animal activists and based on misinformation.”

REO Speedwagon put out an announcement this week asking fans to “roll with the changes” to its tour schedule.  

The band’s show at Illinois State University’s Braden Auditorium in Normal has been pushed back from Feb. 6 to June 27.

REO points out that its summer tour-mates will be in the area soon. Chicago is putting on a free show Jan. 29 at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, Ill., for victims of the tornadoes that hit the Midwest in November.

Photo: Chris McKay /
Verizon Wireless Amph. At Encore Park, Alpharetta, Ga.

Last month REO and Styx headlined “Rock To The Rescue,” raising more than $400,000 through ticket sales, raffles and auctions for central Illinois communities affected by the disaster, according to the Peoria Journal Star.

Proceeds from the June 27 show will once benefit tornado victims. Tickets for the February show will be honored at the new date. Additional tickets are on sale now.