I really couldn’t believe this was happening when I read it but it is. It’s typical of the red tape that is killing music! Withered Hand is an artist we love and play here on Folk Radio UK. He was all set to go to SXSW this year for his debut appearance…a big deal for any artist’s career! After being assured by his visa agency that he had a strong case…some jobsworth decides more evidence of events that have a distinguished reputation is required. So what the F is SXSW? Give the man a bloody break!
From Dan’s blog:
Bad news…. I found out, with less than a week to go till my flight on Saturday, that my visa petition, which I had been assured by my Visa agency was a strong one, has been flagged by a US immigration official as requiring more evidence of my “extraordinary ability” and proof that I have achieved “significant recognition” and have either performed or will perform at “events that have a distinguished reputation”. er….. hang on… so being invited to perform at SXSW doesn’t count? Apparently I am one of a handful of musicians who landed on the wrong desk, or on the wrong day and encountered a very unhelpful interpretation of the regulations.
So the last few sleepless days have been a whirr of tracking down testimonials from the mighty and the good, re-routing frantic emails, keeping everybody in the loop and trying to weigh up the various options or possible outcomes. It seems unlikely I will be granted the visa in time to make my flight but we are waiting a day or so before we start cancelling dates.
It’s at times like this that music lovers need to stand up for what they love so:
Please do your part and sign this petition