While the Confederate flag is now down from the South Carolina State House, it still waves here in Saskatchewan at the Craven Country Jamboree.
It doesn’t take long to spot the controversial flag once you’re inside the music festival grounds as several different campsites either have the flag flying on a pole or hanging from their trailer.
Axton Mihail and Austin Donald have the symbol on display at their site, citing a love for a certain television show.
“I just enjoy Dukes of Hazzard and I like the southern aspect of life,” explained Mihail when asked why he feels it’s necessary to show the Confederate flag. “I don’t think it should be banned. It’s not a bad thing. I’m not here because I’m a racist or anything like that.”
“It kind of supports the whole redneck theme of Craven,” agreed Donald.
Other campers with the flag said they enjoyed the show too. It’s what they grew up watching in their childhood and doesn’t represent hatred.
“I’m not a racist by any means,” said Josh Zamlak, who had a Dukes of Hazzard themed school bus complete with the flag flying on the front of the vehicle.
Kyle Stachniak comes with the flag every year to Craven and even has the symbol on his truck.
“It’s just a redneck thing that I’ve always believed in,” he said.
Craven’s Kim Blevins admitted they are aware of what’s happening on their site and while they don’t condone or support the decision of some choosing to wave the flag, in the end the festival will let them continue to keep the blue starred ‘X’ up.
“We would hope that people would be responsible and sensitive enough to not fly them but it’s not something we’re going to force people or evict them for flying a flag,” Blevins admitted. “We have had people go out and talk to them but at the end of the day it’s a free speech issue and we’re not going to force people to take them down.”
However, people at the five sites News Talk Radio visited revealed nobody from the festival had spoken to them on the matter. In James Scott’s case, even if they had, it wouldn’t have had an impact on him.
“It ain’t this flag that did the shooting in South Carolina, it’s some crazy crackpot,” he said. “Because Jack the Ripper uses a knife to kill people, does that make knives bad or does that make Jack the Ripper bad?,” he questioned.
Scott believes most people need a history lesson on the flag’s background and says he’d gladly give it to anyone who challenges him on why he’s displaying it. While Scott said he had one person vocally disagree with his stance, none of the other Confederate flag wavers News Talk Radio chatted with have had any negativity towards the symbol since they’ve been at Craven.
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