Country musician Oliver Anthony has cancelled a scheduled gig in Knoxville, Tennessee, over high ticket prices.
Just a few weeks ago, Anthony was virtually unknown as a musician, but became an overnight sensation when his controversial protest song “Rich Men North of Richmond” topped the Billboard charts.
Off the back of his viral success, Anthony had been booked to play Knoxville’s famous Cotton Eye Joe venue on 27 September.
However, in a statement shared on social media, the musician wrote that he had pulled out of the engagement.
“Cotton Eyed Joe has been cancelled,” he wrote on Facebook. “Ultimately, it’s my fault for not being more directly involved with the venues who have reached out.”
Tickets for the gig were being sold for $99 (£79); fans were also able to purchase tickets for a meet-and-greet with Anthony, with tickets priced at $199 (£159).
“My plate has been full and I delegated the responsibility to someone else to help me book,” Anthony continued. “I am not pointing fingers at Cotton Eyed Joe, I don’t know where the miscommunication took place. I’m just upset seeing those prices.
“We will find another place in Knoxville area that can do $25 ticket and free meet and greet. I will work to get your tickets refunded from my own budget if they can’t. This will never happen again. Thanks for your patience. I am still learning how all of this works.”
Anthony had previously addressed the situation in another Facebook post, suggesting that a friend of his had been handling the arrangements.“I apologise for the price at Cotton Eyed Joe,” he wrote earlier. “Have a friend of mine trying to help me book gigs. I told him I don’t want to do anything that’s more than $40 a ticket, ideally no more than $25 a piece.
“These are supposed to be affordable shows. Please don’t pay $90 for a ticket. I’m going to work out the details with him and if we have to reschedule this event somewhere else we will.”
After going viral at the beginning of August, “Rich Men North of Richmond” was praised by several high-profile conservative figures, including podcaster Joe Rogan, Fox News host Laura Ingraham and commentator Ben Shapiro.
Others, including Jumanji actor Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, also offered support for Anthony.
However, the song also attracted criticism from many on the left, with Anthony’s lyrics concerning taxes and the American welfare state drawing particular scrutiny.