Dolly Parton announced today that she’s kicking off the first leg of her highly anticipated summer tour in Greensboro, NC. The state’s controversial anti-LGBT House Bill 2, which prevents transgender people from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity and strikes down local LGBT non-discrimination ordinances throughout the state, has effectively politicized the summer concert season. Acts like Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen have canceled shows in North Carolina, while Cyndi Lauper announced that she would donate all profits from her June 4 concert in Raleigh to Equality North Carolina in an effort to help repeal the bill.
“Oh, I’ve been seein’ all that commotion,” Parton said today on a conference call promoting the tour and her upcoming double album, Pure & Simple. “A lot of people are canceling shows and all that. I have no plans to cancel the show. I think I serve better from the stage. I think everybody should be treated great and with respect and everybody knows that about me. I can address that from the stage.”
When pressed for her reaction to the current wave of anti-LGBT legislation in states like North Carolina and Mississippi, Parton repeated her intention to play all the shows on her 2016 tour. “Through the years everybody has known that I have an open, generous heart and I believe that all people should be treated with respect,” she reiterated. “I really don’t like to get caught up into controversial issues, and I certainly don’t think it’s fair to the public. I can address whatever my thoughts are, if need be, from the stage.”
Parton’s Pure & Simple Tour is the country legend’s first in over two decades and she promises to play hits like “Jolene,” “Islands in the Stream,” and “9 to 5” alongside gospel tunes and a selection of new songs at the “scaled down” shows. Coming off her much buzzed about CMA performance with Katy Perry last month, Parton said there are no plans at the moment to feature special guests like Perry or Taylor Swift on the tour. But, she said, “If they should show up I bet you I wouldn’t refuse ‘em!”
Parton’s Pure & Simple Tour kicks off June 3 in Greensboro, NC. The two-disc album Pure & Simple with Dolly’s Biggest Hits is due sometime this summer.