If you are a foreign guest artist invited to perform in the UK, US or any other foreign country, it is wise to sort out any immigration issues including your visa petitions ,well in advance, so you don’t end up in a situation like Wizkid.
On May 11, 2016, Wireless Festival Music, one of the largest music festivals in the the UK, added Wizkid to its line up of impressive artists billed to perform July 8-10. Actually below are the artists that were billed to perform, including Wizkid, as of the aforementioned date:
99 Souls, A2, Action Bronson, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Angel, Anne-Marie, A$AP Ferg, Big Narstie, Big Sean, Bomba Estéreo, Boy Better Know, Bryson Tiller, Bugzy Malone, Calvin Harris, Chase & Status, Craig David’s TS5, Dawin, Dillon Francis, Disciples, DJ Semtex, Dua Lipa, Elf Kid, Father, Fekky, Fergie, Future, Geko, Ghetts, J. Cole, Jahkoy, Jay Sean, Jeremih, Jess Glynne, Jorja Smith, KStewart, Kehlani, Krept & Konan, Kurupt Fm, Kwabs, Kygo, Lady Leshurr, Logan Sama, Martin Garrix,
Maverick Sabre, Metro Boomin, Miguel, Nadia Rose, Natalie La Rose, Newham Generals, Petite Meller, Rude Kid, Section Boyz, Shakka, Sigma Live, Sonny Digital, Thomas Jack, The 1975, The Manor, Ty Dolla $ign, Vic Mensa, Vince Staples, Wilkinson Live, WizKid, WSTRN, Yelawolf, Young Thug, Yungen.
After the announcement, by June 6, 2016, Wizkid joined Chris Brown for Brown’s European tour, ‘One Hell of a Nite’. Nevertheless, almost two months later when it came time for the Wireless Music Festival show, Wizkid was nowhere to be found. Instead, he cited “visa issues” as the cause for a failure to perform. Interestingly, the organizers were forced to also post his reason on the day of the event.
Wizkid has performed in the UK on countless occasions, yet, for this event, “visa issues” precluded him from performing? Given the notice posted by the organizers, his recently completely Europe tour, among other factors, I believe the “visa issue” is partly if not largely the result of a lack of preparation on Wizkid’s part. I find it very difficult to believe that UK’s Tinie Tempah and his team at’Disturbing London’ who allegedly manage Wizkid wouldn’t have been able to secure a visa for Wizkid ahead of travels. The same holds for this festival’s organizers who have allegedly helped him secure visas in the past. Again I believe a big part of it had to do with preparation.
Artists, there are many steps involved in applying to perform as a foreign guest artist abroad, and most prudent artists start the process early to avoid or accommodate any issues, including visa problems. You should work closely with the promoters/ organizers have invited, and their lawyers, to sort out visa issues to avoid legal and reputation damage to your brand.
Listen to an AML interview I conducted a while back with an Immigration Lawyer colleague of mine, Fatmata Barrie, which addresses visa issues as a foreign guest artist.
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