|courtesy of www.seaworldorlando.com|
Unfortunately, this year's celebration is in danger of being a flop due to controversy created by an independent documentary film called "Blackfish" which was critical of Sea World's treatment of killer whales. The film was inspired by the death of whale trainer Dawn Brancheau.
Entertainers like Willie Nelson, Cheap Trick, Martina McBride, and 38 Special, have all withdrawn in recent weeks. Not all claimed it was a result of the movie but it is widely speculated that they didn't want to be associated with the negative press.
Surprisingly, Sea World hasn't said much publicly about the withdrawals or the movie that prompted them. All told, it seems the festival is still planned and they expect to go forward with the plans but something will have to bring all these acts back to invite the public to participate. I will withhold my opinion about this turn of events but to say the least I think it's a sad image of a great organization.
Reference: DeWayne Bevil, Orlando Sentinel.