’90s-era band Dillon Fence reunites to play Sunday’s anti-HB2 concert

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Dillon Fence is among 25 NC bands, including many based in Wilmington, who will play the Stand Against HB2 show this Sunday. Courtesy photo.
Dillon Fence is among 25 NC bands, including many based in Wilmington, who will play the Stand Against HB2 show this Sunday. Courtesy photo.

If you’re of a certain generation, it’s quite possible Dillon Fence had a spot on the soundtrack to your teenage years or college days.

Flash forward a couple decades to this weekend, when the iconic Chapel Hill indie rock band will reunite and mark its place among a growing list of North Carolina musicians making their opposition to House Bill 2 heard, loud and clear.

Dillon Fence is getting back together for the upcoming Stand Against HB2 concert, an all-day music festival featuring a host of Tarheel and Port City artists, show organizer Mike Allen confirmed.  The band will be joined by another 25 – including local favorites Marti Jones and Don Dixon, The Midatlantic and Onward, Soldiers – who will take the Brooklyn Arts Center stage throughout the day on Sunday, July 31.

It’s an event coming to Wilmington from Raleigh, where earlier this summer, a grassroots collective of artists and bands shared the stage to raise money for LGBT advocacy groups fighting the controversial new law.

Allen said the traveling series grew out of a need among many in the Triangle’s thriving arts scene to voice, in harmony, their disapproval of and disappointment in lawmakers who decided in March to bar transgender people from using public bathrooms that correspond to the sex with which they identify.

With some experience planning fundraising gigs, Allen took the helm with passion and in four days, had put together a 24-band sold-out show that included heavy hitters like The Love Language and Southern Culture on the Skids.

The rousing success—the May 15 concert raised more than $20,000 for EqualityNC—got people’s attention.

“The day after the concert, I started getting emails about getting on the road,” Allen said in an earlier interview.

So, Allen did just that and has now lined up dates in cities across the state from now through September. Stand Against HB2-North Carolina Musicians United for EqualityNC and QORDS appeared in Winston-Salem in June, and will follow its Wilmington show with concerts in Asheville and Charlotte.

Rather than boycott performances in NC, as many big-name acts like Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam have done, the musicians behind the initiative believe in affecting real change, Allen said. Three of the performers involved with Stand Against HB2–Caitlin Cary, the powerhouse vocalist formerly of Whiskeytown, and solo artist Jon Lindsay—formed NC Music Love Army, a group that arose in protest of legislative actions coming out of Raleigh back in 2013.

“The musical community here has always been very activism focused. All across the state, the music community has a very loud voice,” Allen said. “While you can get on social media and rant and rave, legislators don’t really care what you have to say. We wanted to do something to raise money that we could give to an organization that can go out and do something.”

Those efforts have gotten support from some local businesses, like Front Street Brewery, Goat and Compass and Pine Valley Market, all of which are donating beer and food for the performers. In June, Allen launched a GoFundMe campaign to help offset artists’ travel costs. The drive has so far raised about $10,800 toward its $15,000 goal. The campaign will remain active through the Charlotte concert.

Adam and Eve in Hillsborough has signed on as title sponsor, Allen said, and Black Likes Matter and PAVE NC – a national non-profit that works to prevent sexual violence and provide a safe place for survivors – will be in attendance, along with Cape Fear Equality.

The Stand Against HB2 concert at the Brooklyn Arts Center, 516 N. Fourth St., will kick off at noon Sunday, with sets running until 11:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance ($25 for VIP balcony seats) and are available online. Children 12 and under admitted for free. All proceeds will benefit efforts by EqualityNC and QORDS to have House Bill 2 overturned.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at hilary.s@portcitydaily.com.