Cotten Eyed Joe Fires Back After Oliver Anthony Concert Cancellation: ‘We Set The Ticket Price To Break Even’

The venue claims that Oliver Anthony was contracted to receive $120,000 for a 60-minute performance.


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

September 11, 2023


8:04 pm

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Oliver Anthony – I Want To Go Home; Photo via YouTube

The Cotton Eyed Joe is speaking out after Oliver Anthony abruptly cancelled his concert at the venue, citing high ticket prices. 

The Knoxville, Tennessee concert venue took to Facebook to share a statement regarding the cancellation.

Venue Speaks Out

“It’s a Damn Shame what the Worlds gotten to (sic) for the Customers of the World Famous Cotton [Eyed] Joe,” the statement began. “Most times we say a show has been cancelled due to circumstances beyond our control…well we are cancelling the Oliver Anthony show under our full control.”

The venue, which promised to refund ticketholders within the next few business days, went on to explain the details surrounding Oliver Anthony’s contract for the concert. 

“The North Man of Richmond contracted to play the Cotton Eyed Joe for $120,000 for 60 minutes,” the venue revealed. “After doing the math and knowing we can only hold apprx. 1500 people, paying the ticket website their fee to sell the tickets, paying the tax man, opening the JOE on a closed night… we set the ticket price to break even and bring our customers a show we thought would be fun.” 

“The ACM Country Night Club of the Year closed the post with a warning to others who may be hoping to book Oliver Anthony.  

To our talent agency and [promoter] friends that follow us… be careful booking the North Man of Richmond.”

Statement From The Artist

Cotton Eyed Joe’s statement comes just minutes after Oliver Anthony took to social media, revealing that his show would no longer be taking place at the “World Famous Cotton Eyed Joe.”

Oliver Anthony; Photo Courtesy Facebook, Oliver Anthony Music
Oliver Anthony; Photo Courtesy Facebook, Oliver Anthony Music

The rising country artist, known for his viral hit “Rich Men North Of Richmond,” expressed his disappointment at the high ticket prices ($99) and paid meet-and-greet opportunities ($199) associated with the show.

Taking responsibility for the situation, Anthony shared a statement with his followers that provided full transparency regarding the circumstances.

“Cotton Eyed Joe has been cancelled. Ultimately, it’s my fault for not being more directly involved with the venues who have reached out,” Anthony admitted. “My plate has been full and I delegated the responsibility to someone else to help me book. I am not pointing fingers at Cotton Eyed Joe, I don’t know where the miscommunication took place.” 

Watch His Video Message

He went on to share his frustrations over the ticket prices and promised to ensure that fans who already purchased tickets receive a full refund, even if that means he has to use his own money to reimburse them. 

Upset Over Ticket Prices

“I’m just upset seeing those prices. We will find another place in Knoxville area that can do $25 ticket and free meet and greet,” he said. “I will work to get your tickets refunded from my own budget if they can’t.”

He concluded his statement by promising that this situation would serve as a learning experience, ensuring that such pricing discrepancies wouldn’t happen again in the future.

“This will never happen again. Thanks for your patience. I am still learning how all of this works,” Anthony added.

Oliver Anthony; Photo via Instagram
Oliver Anthony; Photo via Instagram

Just hours before the official cancellation, Anthony addressed the cost of the show, which was booked by his friend who works full time as a plumber. 

Wants To Play Affordable Shows

“I apologize for the price at Cotton Eyed Joe. Have a friend of mine trying to help me book gigs. I told him I don’t want to do anything that’s more than $40 a ticket, ideally no more than $25 a piece,” he explained. “These are supposed to be affordable shows. Please don’t pay $90 for a ticket. I’m going to work out the details with him and if we have to reschedule this event somewhere else we will.”

He later reminded fans that two out of the four concerts that he has played have been free. 

Fans flocked to the comments section of Anthony’s post to praise him for remaining true to his roots and looking out for the working man.  

Oliver Anthony; Photo via Instagram
Oliver Anthony; Photo via Instagram

“Your integrity is next level,” wrote one Instagram user, while another shared, “Class act!” 

Another user wrote, “Dude, that’s awesome. You can single handedly dismantle and rebuild the system that destroyed the independent…thank you…God bless.”

Upcoming Performances

The news comes after Oliver Anthony performed a full set at Blue Ridge Rock Festival in Virginia. He also performed a surprise set alongside Shinedown and Papa Roach in the parking lot after the festival was cancelled due to weather.

YouTube video

The Virginia native will soon take to the road for several performances at upcoming festivals, including Tootsies Birthday Bash, Poppy Mountain Music Festival, Louder Than Life, Alley Fest, Appalachia Meets The Ozarks and more.

Historic Chart Debut

In August, Oliver Anthony made a historic debut at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Hot Country Songs chart with “Rich Men North of Richmond.” 

The viral hitmaker became the first artist in history to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with no prior chart history “in any form,” according to a report from Billboard.

This achievement makes Oliver Anthony the first unsigned artist since 1994 to be No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The last unsigned artist to earn a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 was Lisa Loeb with her single, “Stay (I Missed You),” which was released in 1994 via RCA Records. 

YouTube video

He reacted to the news, telling Billboard, “The hopelessness and frustration of our times resonate in the response to this song,” he told the outlet. ”The song itself is not anything special, but the people who have supported it are incredible and deserve to be heard.”

Anthony’s original performance clip of “Rich Men North Of Richmond” has amassed over 63 million views on YouTube to date.

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.