Concert-goers unfazed by Hedley sexual misconduct allegations

Frontman Jacob Hoggard thanked fans from the ‘bottom of our hearts’ at Halifax’s Scotiabank Centre

A fan wearing a t-shirt for the rock group Hedley sits in the crowd before the band’s concert in Halifax on Friday. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)

A fan wearing a t-shirt for the rock group Hedley sits in the crowd before the band’s concert in Halifax on Friday. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)

The band has been dropped by their management team, tour openers and dozens of radio stations, but concert-goers say they are standing by Hedley as the besieged pop-rockers continue to perform across the country in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations that they have steadfastly denied.

Fans screamed until they were out of breath during Hedley’s lively performance at Halifax’s Scotiabank Centre on Friday.

Frontman Jacob Hoggard thanked fans from the “bottom of our hearts” for being the people the band could always rely on, but did not directly address the anonymous allegations of inappropriate behaviour involving young fans that have emerged on social media in recent weeks.

“To everybody … who has stood behind us all of these years — through the ups and the downs, through the highs and the lows, the good times and the bad — Halifax, we could never, ever imagine doing this without you,” Hoggard told the crowd over anthemic music.

“Because sometimes life sucks, and that’s why we’ve got you. And, Halifax, sometimes life sucks, but that’s why you’ve got us … Stay in our lives, and I promise we’ll stay in yours.”

READ MORE: Hedley withdraws from Junos, plans to discuss ‘how we have let some people down

READ MORE: CBC drops Hedley’s music amid sexual misconduct allegations

The Canadian Press, which normally does not pay to cover live events, purchased a ticket to Friday’s show after representatives for Hedley only offered press credentials for the first three songs of the band’s performance.

Band representatives said Hedley is not giving interviews at this time. Hedley called the allegations “unsubstantiated” in a statement earlier this month.

As fans filed into the Halifax auditorium on Friday, many concert-goers said they were more focused on enjoying the show than litigating the allegations against Hedley, which some said had little bearing on their feelings towards the band.

Several fans said they had not investigated the claims themselves, or did not believe it was their place to cast judgment.

“The band is probably suffering, but until there’s more about it, everything’s pretty vague,” said Kristen MacIntosh, who drove from Cape Breton to see the show with her eight-year-old son after buying him a ticket as a Christmas present.

Some fans expressed skepticism about the legitimacy of the claims, questioning why anonymous social media users would bring up years-old allegations online rather than going to authorities.

Madisson Muise, a 16-year-old who came to Halifax from Yarmouth, N.S., to attend her first concert, said she was relieved she could still see her favourite band perform after fearing the tour would be cancelled.

“Their fans are really supporting them and sticking together,” said Muise.

Charlottetown-based singer-songwriter Kinley Dowling, who is known as the violinist in Newfoundland’s Hey Rosetta!, said on Instagram that she and four friends protested outside the Hedley concert in Summerside, P.E.I., on Saturday night.

“We only got some ‘lip’ from a few fans, but we just hope they have an open mind in the future,” Dowling wrote in an Instagram post. ”It’s not an easy thing for a survivor to tell their story. Let’s not make it any harder for them just because you like the band’s music.”

The band’s performances in Atlantic Canada were met with mixed reactions on social media.

Some diehard Hedley fans cheered on the band from afar, while other Twitter users expressed discomfort with the cloud of controversy following the musicians as they continue their tour in Ontario this week.

Alison Weatherston in Ottawa tweeted that her 15-year-old daughter, who has seen Hedley perform multiple times, was “heartbroken” after learning of the allegations against the band.

“She put her concert tees into the bag of clothes for the Salvation Army,” Weatherston wrote. ”It’s hard to see your idols being awful.”

Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

It’s been almost a year since the last public performance inside the Chemainus Theatre. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Lead donors pledge $60,000 in matching campaign at the Chemainus Theatre

Perrys, Hiltons and Duncan Iron Works help to Bridge the Gap during COVID shutdown

Doug Routley is the chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act. (File photo)
Routley selected chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA acknowledges there will be a lot of material to process

Ladysmith’s famous Festival of Lights decorations are still up as of March 1, 2021. (Cole Schisler photo)
PHOTOS: It’s still looking a lot like Christmas in Ladysmith

Festival of Lights volunteers cannot remove the holiday roof top displays due to COVID-19

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Firefighters from three departments battled a house fire south of Nanaimo for more than nine hours Sunday. (Photo courtesy Martin Leduc)
Home in Cedar destroyed by fire

Firefighters from three fire departments battle blaze fanned by strong winds Sunday

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read