It is with great sadness (both mine and Will’s) that I have had to cancel East India Youth‘s appearance at Iceland Airwaves. Our passports are in the US Embassy in London, waiting for our US Visas to be placed inside. Though we opened the application two months ago, the process is complicated and despite my best efforts, the Visas (and therefore our passports) have not arrived in time for us to fly to Reykjavik. We were due to fly out yesterday (Friday) and also had a second set of flights booked to bring us out today (Saturday), if they turned up in time, but they have not, and as yesterday ended our chances faded to zero.
In these situations it’s smart to have a second passport for everyone in the travelling party, and some artists who do a lot of travelling have these. I’ve luckily never been in the situation where this has been necessary, and the advice I received this time around, coupled with my own experience, led me to believe we’d be fine. We’re obviously not, and if I could go back in time and get those second passports…
When working out the best options last week, I’d considered applying for them, but in order to get a second passport on a same-day service, you need the original passport to apply. Since we had to take ours into the Embassy almost immediately, there was no time. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Additionally, there’s no guarantee that we would have been granted a second passport. Proof of visa specific international travel is required and it’s by no means certain we would have met the requirements.
I offer my most sincere apologies to Grímur Atlason, the festival manager and booker who invited us to Airwaves, to Melina who took care of our travel arrangements, and the other good people such as Egill Tómasson and Kamilla Ingibergsdóttir, all of whom put plans in place to bring us to Reykjavik and look after us, and who now need to work to mitigate the effects of this. I also apologise to those festival-goers who were looking forward to seeing EIY play. We very much hope this can happen soon.
I promoted shows for over twenty years, co-owned and ran a live music venue for seven years, and booked a huge festival which came crashing down around us in a cloud of bankruptcy and furious booking agents; I’ve been exactly where Grímur and his team are sitting, and it’s shitty. Those we have let down will be rightfully angry.
Playing festivals such as Airwaves is very important for new artists such as EIY, who’re at the beginning of their careers, and the opportunity to play in front of a room of people from the international music community – and also fans from a new country such as Iceland – is a fortunate one. And the chance to leave the UK and explore exotic lands such as Iceland is exciting, and one of the great privileges of doing what we do. I’d visited Airwaves with Savages last year and had an amazing experience, both professionally and personally.
People have a habit of arbitrarily blaming an artist when this kind of thing happens – largely because those who’re responsible are invisible – but the responsibility is generally of those those around them, specifically management and, in this case, specifically me.
It’s not the first time a UK-based artist has cancelled Airwaves this year. This can reflect badly on a festival when an audience is looking for someone to blame. Iceland Airwaves is not to blame. I am where the buck stops, and I am sorry.
Andy Inglis, manager of East India Youth