Former Verve rocker Richard Ashcroft has canceled his scheduled appearance at the Tramlines Festival in Sheffield, England, over its participation in a government testing program that will require attendees to have received both COVID-19 vaccinations or a negative coronavirus test in the last two days.
Richard Ashcroft announced his cancellation in an Instagram post this week, saying he won’t be performing in concerts that impose “restrictions.”
“Apologies to my fans for any disappointment but the festival was informed over 10 days ago that I wouldn’t be playing once it had become part of a government testing programme,” he wrote.
“I had informed my agent months ago I wouldn’t be playing concerts with restrictions The status of the festival was one thing when I signed up for it, but, sadly was forced to become something else.”
He also used the hashtags #theydontownme and #naturalrebel.
The official Tramlines site states the festival will take part in the U.K. government’s Events Research Programme, which allows full capacity with no social distancing or mask wearing. However, all ticket holders age 11 and over will be asked for proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID test in the last 48 hours.
The British government is expected to use data from the festival to study COVID-19 transmission at live events.
Richard Ashcroft is the latest rock icon to express reservations about vaccine requirements and other COVID-19 restrictions. Eric Clapton has denounced what he called government “propaganda” surrounding the vaccine, saying he had a “disastrous” reaction to the treatment. He also performed an anti-lockdown song with Van Morrison.
Noel Gallagher of Oasis called mask requirements “bollocks” in an interview last year.
But other rock legends are demanding vaccinations for fans who want to see them perform live. Bruce Springsteen is requiring proof of full vaccination for all ticket holders to his show Springsteen on Broadway in New York.