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Nanaimo News Bulletin


Singer barred entry during U.K. tour

ALLISON CROWE ... tour continues in Germany.

A Nanaimo-born singer songwriter and her band were refused entry into the United Kingdom due to what her manager is calling an unjust law.

Allison Crowe and her band – Billie Woods, Laurent Boucher and Dave Baird – were denied entry and sent back to Canada after 11 hours in British customs, where officers decided the musicians didn’t have the necessary security paperwork to enter the country.

“Allison and her band did nothing wrong,” said Adrian du Plessis, Crowe’s manager. “It’s not about Allison – it’s about the policy and the legislation.”

Since November of last year, the British government requires performance venues or presenters to register as presenting sponsors and apply for certificates of sponsorship for international artists. The rules apply for all artists, as well as educators and academics.

Du Plessis, Crowe and the two venues – one in London, the other in Edinburgh – were unaware of the new law.

After 11 hours in customs, where officers also refused entry on visitors’ grounds because Crowe and her band were now deemed “deceptive persons,” the musicians were deported to Canada.

After frantic calls to the German consulate in Canada and then officials in Germany, Crowe and the band flew back to Europe to continue the tour. They cleared entry into Germany without incident Sunday.

“There’s no way this law can stay on the books – it’s unjust,” du Plessis said. “The U.K. is out of step with its neighbours.”

Stories of artists turned away at U.K. borders are becoming common – Globe and Mail columnist Leah McLaren spent 30 hours in airport customs before being escorted to an Air Canada flight to Toronto, and Russian pianist Grigory Sokolov was turned away despite performing regularly in Britain for the past 18 years.

Crowe, who last performed in the U.K. in October 2008 just a few weeks before the new rules took effect, doesn’t know when or if she’ll be able to perform in Britain again.

“No one knows the fallout or repercussions,” du Plessis said.

A grassroots movement is gaining support to have the legislation overturned. For more information, please visit www.petitiononline.com/MCvisit/petition.html



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