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Allison Crowe (photo by Billie Woods)

U.K. Government Goes Orwellian On Allison Crowe

05/26/09 5:49pm

by Kate Harper (CHARTattack)

Newfoundland-based singer/songwriter Allison Crowe and two of her bandmates didn't realize they needed something called a Certificate Of Sponsorship in order to tour Britain, which ended up getting them deported home.

Crowe, guitarist Billie Woods and drummer Laurent Boucher were immediately submitted to questioning after they landed at Gatwick Airport, just south of London, England, on May 19. Their passports were taken and Crowe told CBC News they were locked in a holding cell for three hours.

"Then they fingerprinted and photographed us and three hours later, roughly, trucked us over in a paddywagon to another building. And that's where we were kept for the remainder of the day, where we were interrogated and searched."

They were released six hours later and required to return to Canada.

Crowe told Britain's Telegraph newspaper she and her bandmates were told they might never be able to perform in Europe again and they eventually had their passports stamped "barred from entry."

The U.K. introduced Certificates Of Sponsorship last November. Musicians, actors and any other person who makes their living in the creative sector must obtain one. Venues must get the certificates and give specific reference numbers to artists so they can enter the country.

Some groups oppose the practice and say it could hurt U.K. culture since smaller musical acts and other artists might avoid touring there. Crowe has posted a petition against the new measure on her website.

None of the venues that Crowe and her bandmates were scheduled to play knew about the new rules, which the U.K. government says were put in place to help combat illegal immigration and terrorism.

Crowe will continue her European tour without playing any British dates. They arrived in Germany on Sunday. You can see them here:

May 28 Aachen, Germany @ Aula Carolina
May 29 Munich, Germany @ Jazzbar Vogler
June 3 Frankfurt, Germany @ Jazzlokal Mampf
June 9 Berlin, Germany @ Osterkirche
June 11 Prague, Czech Republic @ Divadlo Dobeska
June 13 Vienna, Austria @ Tunnel Vienna Live


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