For weeks, we've heard stories of performers from Elton John to members of the Rockettes giving their invitations to perform at President-elect Trump's January inauguration a hard pass. Now, reports indicate that many of those same performers could be headed to Miami instead, for a collaborative live concert designed to coincide with the inaugural ceremonies.
Politico reported Thursday that concert promoter Mark Ross is organizing "a large-scale concert called 'We the People' to directly compete with Donald Trump’s inauguration." A source reportedly told Politico that “The talent is banging on our doors to do this,” but named no specific acts or offered further details.
Earlier in the week, former secretary of labor Robert Reich speculated on Facebook that a "freedom concert," as he put it, would kill the inauguration in the ratings:
That speculation led to the formation of a Change.org petition to fund such an event. Over 72,000 people had signed it as of Saturday morning.
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A concert flyer announcing a Freedom Concert began circulating on social media this week, too, listing acts including John Legend, Bruce Springsteen, and the cast of the Broadway musical Hamilton. But the flyer lists no location, and its accuracy has been debunked by Scopes, which notes that even though a concert promoter said he was planning a Freedom Concert, the show "has not been officially announced, no major celebrities have agreed to perform, and image showing a flyer from the event is fake."
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So are these three things — Politico's report, Reich's post, and the debunked flyer — linked? And is there actually a show in the works? Possibly — but don't hold your breath waiting for tickets to go on sale. There's less than a month between today and the inauguration; putting together an event on the scale of the fake flyer would almost certainly require more time to work out performers' schedules and requirements. There's also the problem of finding a large enough venue on short notice, and working out permits with the host city. And then there's the amount of security that such an event would need, given that Trump supporters would surely organize a protest at the event — and if it's held in Florida, many of them will have the legal right to bring their handguns with them.
Would it be awesome to bring a giant concert packed with music's biggest names to Miami? Hell yeah. And if the event raises money for causes like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, as has been suggested, even better. But until concrete plans are announced, it's hard to be optimistic.
Besides, even if a Freedom Concert does steal a good chunk of the inauguration's ratings, Trump will just claim that the Nielsen numbers are rigged.