Asheville's "Christmas Jam" is cancelled for this year.
From the statement posted on the website:
After 30 years of hosting the Christmas Jam, Haynes and the W&S Charitable Foundation will take a brief hiatus from their annual arena show at the U.S. Cellular Center this year. The 31st Annual Christmas Jam will resume in 2020 at the U.S. Cellular Center. This break will enable the team to build even further upon Christmas Jam’s charitable reach and mission to best serve the needs of the Asheville community and return in 2020 with an exciting line-up and a weekend full of memorable music and Christmas Jam activities. An announcement regarding the 31st Christmas Jam will be made in early 2020.
There's no way to separate this announcement from the recent firing of Haynes' brother from his job at Habitat for Humanity - the beneficiary of the Christmas Jam's annual proceeds.
City Councilman Brian Haynes was fired from a housing nonprofit with which he and his famous musician brother have long-held ties after Haynes said he protested an anti-marijuana policy and refused to take a drug test.
Haynes, an assistant manager and 13-year employee of Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity, said he met with Executive Director Andy Barnett to voice his "strong opposition" to a new drug policy before being fired Sept. 27.
"I stated my belief that this policy was both unjust and unnecessary and that it was both regressive and repressive," he said in an Oct. 3 statement to the Citizen Times.
In the same article, Warren Haynes said his brother's firing would not impact the Christmas Jam:
On Oct. 4, Warren Haynes said he had a "difference of opinion" with Habitat over the policy and hoped it resolved itself but that his commitment to the Christmas Jam would not be affected.
"Being able to provide houses and land for housing developments through the Christmas Jam over the years has been one of the most joyful and rewarding things that I have ever had the honor of being part of," he said in a statement issued by a spokeswoman.
"I consider Asheville my home which is why my commitment to the Western Carolina community and Christmas Jam will never waver,” Haynes added.
But the announced cancellation of this year's Jam so close after his brother's firing raises obvious questions about whether the two are connected.
See photos from last year's Jam here.