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Band, city official, police: Rumors of Hinder arrest false

Corn Palace Director Mark Schilling, behind the glass on the left, and Jeri Mickelson, the assistant Corn Palace manager, hand out Hinder concert refunds to two people Monday afternoon at the Corn Palace. (Tom Lawrence/Republic)

Despite rumors of a drug-related arrest, Cody Hanson, drummer for the band Hinder, said Monday the band canceled its show Thursday at the Corn Palace Festival for no other reason than the strained vocal cords of lead singer Austin Winkler.

Hinder was slated to kick off a string of four concerts in four nights for the festival, but the band canceled its show moments before it was supposed to take the stage.

Winkler reportedly strained his vocal cords in a performance the night before when the band performed in Washington, Hanson said Monday in an interview with The Daily Republic.

Following the cancellation, rumors began to circulate that a band member had actually been arrested for some drug-related crime. Multiple public comments on the group's Facebook page allude to the supposed incident, and numerous readers passed the rumor to The Daily Republic.

"I can definitely assure you there was no drug possession arrest or anything like that," Hanson said. "It really was due to strained vocal cords."

It's unclear exactly how the rumor began to circulate.

"Either one person or a group of people were probably angry ..." he said. "You never know how rumors start, but stuff happens sometimes."

Band representative Bonnie McGrew was with Winkler about 30 minutes before Hinder was scheduled to play and said Monday in an e-mail to The Daily Republic that Winkler was hardly able to talk, let alone sing, the night of the show.

"He was just waiting out the day hoping it would be OK by the time of the show, but it was not," McGrew said.

Hanson thanked the fans who came to the Corn Palace for their support.

"I was definitely pleasantly surprised at how cool everyone was, and how supportive all the fans were at the show," he said. "That was pretty cool how supportive everyone was."

It was the first time Hanson could remember the band ever canceling a show.

"Usually we have enough warning that we can get (Winkler) to a doctor," he said. "This time we didn't know until he went and tried to warm up."

Corn Palace Director Mark Schilling also gave no credence to the rumors of a supposed arrest, and noted Winkler participated in a meet and greet with fans at about 6:45 p.m. the night the band was supposed to perform.

"There is no hidden story here," Schilling said. "Austin was here, but he was unable to sing."

About 900 people were in attendance before Hinder's show was canceled, Schilling said. There were 750 tickets sold, with the additional attendance resulting from sponsor and promotional tickets.

Mitchell Police Detective Lt. Don Everson said he has been called multiple times by people inquiring about the rumor.

"It's a rumor that a lot of people want to believe, but the reality is it was canceled for another reason," Everson said.

Though Everson was still reviewing weekend reports on Monday, he said he had no knowledge of any drug arrests being made at the Corn Palace Festival.

Hanson said the group plans to return to the area at some point.

"We'll try to do something special to make up for it," he said. "This is the last thing we would ever want to do ... Our fans are extremely important to us."

About 200 of the people who purchased a ticket for Hinder's show exchanged it for a ticket to one of the three other Corn Palace Festival shows. Others lined up Monday outside the Corn Palace to receive a full $35 refund.