Eric Church Bails On Fans: A Selfish Move From One Of The Most Selfless Artists In Country Music

Eric Church country music
Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images

Man, Eric Church went to public enemy number one overnight…

By now, it’s no secret that Eric Church canceled a show in San Antonio this week so he and his family could head down to New Orleans and watch the University of North Carolina take on Duke in the NCAA Tournament Final Four.

And he admits it’s a selfish move.

In fact, he called it “the most selfish thing” he’s ever asked his fans, the Church Choir, to do.

Here’s what he had to say to his fans:

This Saturday, my family and I are going to stand together to cheer on the Tar Heels as the team has made it to the Final Four.

As a lifelong Carolina basketball fan, I’ve watched Carolina and Duke battle over the years, but to have them matchup in the Final Four for the first time in history of the NCAA Tournament is any sports enthusiast’s dream.

This is also the most selfish thing I’ve ever asked the Choir to do: to give up your Saturday night plans with us so that I can have this moment with my family and sports community. However, it’s that same type of passion felt by the people who fill the seats at our concerts that makes us want to be part of a crowd at a game of this significance.

Woody Durham always said, “Go where you go and do what you do,” thanks for letting me go here and be with the Tar Heels.

Despite being an alumnus of Appalachian State, the native North Carolinian is a massive fan of the University of North Carolina. He’s been spotted on the sidelines of Tar Heels football games, courtside at basketball games, and UNC football coach Mack Brown has even spoken of his close friendship with Chief.

So it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that Eric wants to be in the stands when his beloved Tar Heels take on their arch rival, Duke, in the Final Four of the NCAA tournament for the first time.

But when he announced that he would be canceling his show in San Antonio this Saturday to make the trip to New Orleans for the basketball game, a lot of fans were outraged.


And honestly, I get it.

I just saw Eric in concert last weekend, the second show I’ve seen so far on his current Gather Again Tour. It was an incredible show (like they all are). It was something we had been looking forward to for awhile.

So would I have been pissed if he had canceled for a basketball game? Yeah, definitely.

But now that this national news and everybody and their mother, including people that don’t like country music, don’t listen to Eric Church, and don’t even know who Eric is, has an opinion on it, let’s not forget a few things…

Eric’s not one to cancel shows lightly. He played two solo shows on this tour when members of his band caught COVID – and not only did he still play the shows, he also made it up to fans by bringing out some special guests like Cam and Morgan Wallen.

Back in 2015, Eric played another acoustic show in Salt Lake City after his entire band and crew got sick before the show – just him and his guitar for an entire arena full of fans.

And if you’ve been to an Eric Church concert before, you know you get your money’s worth and then some. The past few tours, Eric hasn’t brought an opener out on the road with him so that he has more time to play for his fans. When I saw him last week, he took the stage around 9 PM and played straight through a 36-song set that wrapped up after midnight.

No other artist is giving fans the show that Eric Church puts on for the Church Choir.

But it’s not just on stage where Church has always put his fans first. Remember back in 2015 when a brand new album, Mr. Misunderstood, showed up unannounced in his fan club members’ mailboxes?

And what about his latest triple album, Heart & Soul? Eric released an entire album that’s available only to his fan club members, and the Church Choir also got every song that he released ahead of the album a day earlier than they were released on streaming services.

Eric Church has always looked out for his fans. Because he understands that it’s the fans who allow him to do what he does.

Hell, it’s a philosophy for Eric that’s gone back all the way back to 2006, when he got kicked off of a Rascal Flatts tour because he played too long for his fans as an opening act.

At any given show, you’ll see Eric Church signing boots or albums, taking shots handed to him from the crowd, and walking among his fans giving out hugs and handshakes as he sings “Springsteen,” helping fans connect melodies to memories that will last a lifetime.

But this one time, Eric wants to do something selfish. Something for himself and his own family.

It’s quite literally a once in a lifetime opportunity: UNC and Duke have never met in the Final Four, dating all the way back to 1939.

It’s a historic matchup for any fan of the Tar Heels or the Blue Devils, to see one of the greatest rivalries in ALL of sports play out with a trip to the national championship on the line.

And this matchup has even more significance than it would have ever had in the past (or will ever have again) with legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski retiring after 42 years and five national titles.

Forget just Duke or UNC fans: What SPORTS fan wouldn’t want to be there for that game?

And if the Tar Heels win and bounce Coach K out of his final tournament in the Final Four? If I were a UNC fan and had the opportunity to take my sons to see that, I would never forgive myself if I missed it.

There’s no doubt that Eric didn’t make the decision to cancel the San Antonio show lightly. We’ve already seen the lengths to which he’ll go to show up for his fans. And obviously it’s a massive inconvenience for fans who were traveling from all across the country – or even the world – for the opportunity to see Chief live in person. That’s not even taking into account those fans who have non-refundable hotel reservations, flights, etc.

Especially after the last two years, the opportunity to “gather again” for live music is more valuable to fans than ever. People have waited two years to see an Eric Church show, and then it was canceled on them just days before.

Everybody appreciates live music more these days, so of course people are going to be disappointed, upset, pissed, whatever it may be, when that opportunity is ripped out from under them just so that Eric Church can attend a basketball game.

But to Eric, it’s so much more than a basketball game. Hell, it’s even more than a historic, once-in-a-lifetime basketball game.

It’s an opportunity that Eric will get to spend with his wife and two young sons, Boone and Hawk. To make those memories like he sings about in “Springsteen,” or give his sons a “Talladega”-like experience.

Is it selfish? Sure – and Eric admitted as much.

But does he deserve this opportunity to spend this one historic moment with his wife and sons doing something that they love to do as a family? Absolutely.

This one time, Eric’s asking his fans to give him this. Give him the opportunity to be not only a sports fan but a dad. To understand that opportunities to give something like this to his sons don’t come around very often – or in this case, ever.

There’s no doubt that Eric understands the consequences, and the significance, of canceling his show to go to this game. But as a dad, the opportunity outweighed those consequences. I mean, it’s an experience that those kids will remember for the rest of their lives. And what dad wouldn’t move heaven and earth to give that to their sons?

And while there is no talk of rescheduling the show right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if Eric finds a way to make it up to his fan in San Antonio.

Just something to think about…

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock