BURKE COUNTY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Organizers of the Historic Morganton Festival have announced they will be moving forward with hiring the Artimus Pyle Band, despite concerns over the drummer’s registered sex offender status.

According to the online petition, that has gathered more than 300 signatures, organizers have threatened to boycott the Historic Morganton Festival for booking musician Artimus Pyle.

Pyle was the drummer for Lynyrd Skynyrd and continues to perform at festivals, clubs, and fundraisers.

“We, the undersigned, hereby pledge to boycott the Historic Morganton Festival for booking the performance of a felon, child predator, and registered sex offender as the headline act for the 2022 Historic Morganton Festival. We further pledge if we are registered voters residing in the City of Morganton, to vote against any City Council member who refuses to publicly denounce the performance of a registered sex offender at a family-oriented concert paid for in part by taxpayer funds,” the online petition states.

The HMF, Inc. Board of Directors released a statement this week, responding to the threats made in the online petition, saying, “In 1993, in an greement with prosecutors in Florida, Mr. Pyle pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of attempted capital battery and lewd and lascivious assault in the presence of a child. He faced a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of the original charge. Mr. Pyle served 8 years’ probation and no jail time. He has no further charges in this same vein.”

Full statement below:

HMF, Inc. Board of Directors said Pyle was fully open with the board and staff concerning his past.

“It is significant that many of the concerts, which the Artimus Pyle Band has performed in recent years, have been in public venues such as auditoriums or outdoor stages, all without inappropriate incidents. Including being the headline act for the Waldensian Festival in 2018 as well as signing autographs for his fans at Myra’s,” the HMF, Inc. Board of Directors said in their released statement.

The Historic Morganton Festival, Inc. Board of Directors and the Executive Director Sharon Jablonski, said they’re comfortable with the decision made to hire the band for the festival.