Popular Disneyland Bluegrass Band To Play Last Fiddle At Theme Park
ANAHEIM (CBSLA.com) — A popular bluegrass quartet at Disneyland was set to play its final show Monday even as fans sought to drum up support to keep the band at the “Happiest Place On Earth.”
Billy Hill and the Hillbillies, who first played the theme park in 1988, were scheduled to perform their last gig at “The Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree” in Frontierland after playing to standing-room-only crowds over the weekend.
Musicians Kirk Wall, Dennis Fetchet, Rick Storey and Anders Swanson are the most recent incarnation of the Hillbillies, which have used at least four different teams over the band’s 25-year history at the theme park.
But while the group’s post-Disneyland stints have included a New Year’s Eve show at Knott’s Berry Farm under their new name, Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies, the band’s future prospects remain uncertain.
City of Orange resident Steven Iversen launched an online petition in November called “Save The Billys” asking Disneyland to reverse its decision. The petition claims the Billies are “the main reason many people continue to purchase annual passes and travel from around the country.”
As of Monday, more than 2,600 supporters had signed the document.
Iversen told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO that while Disney blogs have been filled with hundreds of complaints about the cancellation, Disney officials have yet to provide any real explanation for the move.
“The only things we heard as far as rumors were were it wasn’t Disney-themed enough, but we don’t have any official word as far as why it was happening,” said Iversen. “The people that are involved in making that decision, we don’t have access to speak to them.”
The band’s New Year’s Eve performance at Knott’s was apparently so successful, however, that Iversen said a park official told him they were considering bringing back the Billies “more frequently” in the coming year.
The last show for Billy Hill and the Hillbillies at Disneyland is scheduled for 5:15 p.m.