The Who, originally set to reach thousands of fans this spring, have been forced to cancel their 10 UK and Ireland tour dates due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
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The tour was initially to begin last year in March 2020, but was postponed to March 2021 because of the first lockdown. The rescheduled tour dates were supposed to begin next month, on the 5th March 2021, but were announced as cancelled on Monday this week.
The band members, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, apologised in a regretful statement to ticket holders on their official website:
“We are very sorry that we have to cancel our planned March 2021 UK and Ireland shows. Please excuse the delay but we wanted to wait as long as possible to see if we could indeed play them. However, as you can see the current situation makes this impossible. Thanks for all your wonderful support and we hope to see you in the future when conditions allow.”
Both Daltrey and Townshend recently joined the growing number of musicians penning their protest to the British government regarding the adverse impacts the Brexit deal will have for musicians, especially when attempting European tours.
A letter published by the British newspaper, The Times, in January 2021, was signed by over 100 musicians who wished to raise the issues surrounding the new Brexit agreement and international tours. Now musicians from the UK must obtain a visa or work permit from each country they wish to tour in, a huge change and “negotiating failure” of the British government, the letter denotes, in representing the need for openness and sharing culture.
Roger Daltrey’s signing of this letter has landed controversially due to his previously open pro-Brexit stance. In an exclusive interview with The Times in 2018, Daltry mentioned his qualms with the European Union citing regulatory inconsistencies; “The structure is completely flawed and will collapse one day. Why would we stay on a ship with a hole in it?….It is like being governed by FIFA.”
Signing the letter has incited backlash against the 76-year-old singer, who responded to the anger in a statement, “I have not changed my opinion on the EU. I’m glad to be free of Brussels, not Europe.”
Hopefully, the outcome of these protests from the music industry will unfold in the coming months.