UK bands locked out of America? : another band reports high visa costs and loses tour because of terrible process
JOIN THE FACEBOOK PAGE FOR THE AMERICAN VISA CAMPAIGN
For the past five years we have been embroiled in the ridiculous situation for British bands trying to get visas to tour the USA. We have run campaigns, spoken to people and the situation has got worse.
We have written blogs about the reality of the situation ‘Is this the last days of British bands being able to tour America’ and been annoyed at the mistruths in an article on the great Quietus website which is nothing like the real situation. Every day we hear about bands who are being ripped off by unscrupulous lawyers and agents charging up to £6000 for visas and then no-one delivering the visas on time – resulting in cancelled tours and the non return of that money.
The situation is totally ridiculous – especially when you consider it costs American bands about £30 to come to the UK! There is a campaign from music business organisations to try and change the situation but they won’t let the bands onto their campaign which blunts their attack.
We have our own campaign which is asking for…
1. The same costs of visas to be reduced to somewhere close to what the American pay.
2. An efficient and timetabled system so we can plan our tours and not cancel them. Currently it is unfair and unworkeable and expensive and there’s lots of people making lots of money out of the bands and no-one delivering…
3. A simplified system so we don’t have to pay lawyers and agents thousands of pounds to process forms.
In the mean time Andrew P. Childs the manger of LTW favourites Desert Mountain Tribe has been in touch with his experiences which have cost him a fortune and an American tour that is about to collapse…
‘As a result of an increasingly complicated and inconsistent Visa approval process, rising psych act Desert Mountain Tribe have been prevented from entering into the United States to commence a debut American tour in support of recently released, and well received first album, Either That Or The Moon.
A band were due to play last night at Brooklyn’s Baby’s Alright venue, and two further New York City dates including a Rough Trade instore. All three dates, and two further dates In Washington DC and Cleveland have been shelved whilst a visa lawyer in the U.S seeks the delayed approval.
The band were all set and waiting for on approval of a long completed P-1 visa submission, petitioned by the band’s U.S label Metropolis Records (inclusive of concert contracts and 5 references from senior UK music industry figures) when over the Easter weekend the band’s management received a sudden an unexpected RFE (request for further evidence) notice from the U.S visa authorities. Across the holiday period the management and booking agents were forced to procure more signed concert contracts from promoters in the U.S. Despite this being achieved in a timely fashion, it has subsequently delaying an already lengthy waiting process for approval and deeply wounded what promised to be decent start in the States for the band.
AP Childs from the band’s management comments: “Once again it seems a young UK based band have been hung out to dry by a system that seems to make no sense to anyone, including those who are involved in the process. A first tour, required for promotional purposes, that will barely make enough money to cover its costs anyway, is further sent deep into the red through rescheduled flights and cancelled shows all because of red tape gone mad from the U.S and visa agents, particularly those here in the UK, who charge vast amounts of money to supposedly guide you through the ever spinning hoops and constantly moving goalposts of a system that just doesn’t work. Utterly ridiculous if you consider the band are signed to reputable American label. It happens time and time again. The system needs to be changed to something that is visible and time lined from start to finish so applicants know where they are at. The British government and UKTI are not doing enough. It is an absolute scandal.”
The hope is for the band to start the tour in New Jersey this Friday, one week later than planned.’