Hozier headlines benefit concert protesting anti-drag laws in Tennessee

Irish musician Hozier was among the wide group of artists who took part in the 'Love Rising' concert organised in Nashville, Tennessee.

Hozier performing at a benefit concert in Tennessee.
Image: Via Twitter - @hoziersvocalss

Thousands of people turned out to Bridgestone Arena in Nashville for the Love Rising benefit concert on Monday, March 21. Hozier was among the almost 20 major artists performing at the event, organised to protest recent legislation passed in Tennessee targeting drag performers and the trans community.

Starting April 1, events such as the Love Rising concert, where several drag artists took the stage, will be prohibited in the state after the Republican legislature passed a bill in February, banning drag shows and gender-affirming healthcare for minors. The concert aimed to highlight the injustice of such legislation and raise funds for several LGBTQ+ organisations, such as Tennessee Equality Project, Inclusion Tennessee, Out Memphis and the Tennessee Pride Chamber.

Among the wide-ranging group of rock, country, pop and indie performers, which also included a great contingent of drag artists from all over Tennessee, was also Irish musician Hozier. Before his performance, he addressed the crowd saying that he was honoured to be part of the event even though he is not from the state.

“I’m from Ireland, and the Irish revolutionary James Connolly once said that no revolutionary movement is complete without its poetical expression,” he said. “And I feel, just for me, there’s so many elements of queer culture that are at times no less than revolutionary.”

He continued, “In a time of political repression and suppression and fearmongering – artificially generated fearmongering and scapegoating – I feel that telling the truth of who you are, and being who you are, and standing up for that, and expressing that is a very revolutionary act. It’s an honour to be here.”


Hozier performed with one of the organisers of the concert, multiple Grammy-nominated artist Allison Russell. Ahead of the event, Russell spoke to Variety about Love Rising and all the artists who offered to be there.

“These are the artists who just cared so much that they took time out of their insane schedules to be here with us for joyful assembly and resistance to support our greater LGBTQ+ community, but also to stand up for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in America,” Russell said.

Commenting on the bill they were protesting, she said: “I don’t believe for one second that any of those lawmakers actually thinks it’s about protecting children. It’s the fascist playbook of target the most vulnerable community, rile up vigilante anger and violence and sentiment around that, and use that to propel yourself to continue grasping at power that doesn’t represent all of your constituents and of your state.”


Nashville Mayor John Cooper also made an appearance at the event, telling the crowd: “Every person, regardless of who they love and how they dress and how they identify, every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. And here in Music City, we recognize the importance of individuality, expression and diversity.”

Local drag queen Britney Banks thanked the audience for coming out, saying: “Despite how bleak the situation appears, it has been so beautiful to see so much love and support from the artists and entertainment community and real Tennesseans.”

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