Coachella / Volcano Update
The fate of a weekend performance at Coachella by Joy Division/New Order co-founder Bernard Sumner’s new band Bad Lieutenant, as well as those of New Wave icon Gary Numan and The Cribs is up in the air – literally.
The groups are all on the lineup for the annual festival in Indio, Calif., this weekend and are currently scrambling to find a way to get out of the U.K. after British authorities grounded all air travel. The move comes in response to the colossal cloud of ash spewing from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano and making its way into the sky over the British Isles and Northern Europe.
Bad Lieutenant is the first of what will no doubt be many acts forced to cancel shows scheduled outside of Europe in the coming days. Two different flights the band was booked on were canceled.
“Bad Lieutenant, scheduled to kick off their U.S. concert debut tomorrow night at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, have been forced to cancel the date due to this morning’s eruption in Iceland that closed British airspace,” the band said in a statement issued at about 1 p.m. PDT this afternoon. “The band members – Bernard Sumner, Phil Cunningham, Jake Evans, Stephen Morris and Tom Chapman – who all live in the U.K., had been scheduled to travel today into San Francisco.
“When British airspace was closed this morning and all flights were cancelled, they were able to get last-minute booking for tomorrow on a flight that would have put them into San Francisco late in the day; but just moments ago, American Airlines announced that flight had also been cancelled.
“Bad Lieutenant is extremely disappointed in this bizarre turn of events as they had been very much looking forward to coming to the Bay Area. The band’s management is doing everything it can to make an alternative flight itinerary for the remaining dates.
“Refunds will be available for ticket holders at the point of purchase.”
Also dealing with the headache of finding a way to get to the California desert is Numan, who took to his Web site to give his fans a heads up that he might be forced to abandon his spot at Coachella.
“The last thing I expected this morning when I woke up was to hear that volcanic ash might be preventing us from flying to America,” Numan said. “At the moment the very best British Airways are offering us, and this without any guarantee, is to put us on a Sunday flight that gets into Los Angeles in the afternoon on Sunday.”
Of course that would mean a break-neck trip by car from L.A. to Indio, with no time to rehearse with American guitarist Robin Finck – if no equipment got lost or damaged during the trip that is.
The Cribs situation is similar to the one faced by Bad Lieutenant, except it’s compounded by the fact that the band’s set is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. PST tomorrow.
Luckily, several U.K. and European bands on the Coachella roster were fortunate enough to already be in the U.S. or on the way here when the volcano’s eruption threw a wrench into the works, including Muse, Hot Chip, The xx, Florence and the Machine and Echo and the Bunnymen.
Paul Tollett of Goldenvoice also told Pollstar earlier today that Friday headliners Gorillaz and Sunday headliner Thom Yorke were already in the States when flights were grounded.
Of course, what’s really going to make things interesting this weekend is there are a number of U.S. acts set to kick off European tours, including Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley’s “discovery” Evelyn Evelyn.
A representative for the conjoined twin sister duo told Pollstar, “The flight issue is affecting them. However, they are working to make arrangements to do their best to not have it affect the tour.”