Richard Ashcroft quits Tramlines festival owing to its Covid research

Richard Ashcroft has pulled out of his headline slot at Sheffield’s Tramlines festival later this month, as he opposes the event being used as part of government research into the transmission of Covid-19 at large events.

He wrote on Instagram:

Natural Rebel is the name of Ashcroft’s most recent album, lanzado en 2018, while They Don’t Own Me is a song from 2016’s These People.

Tramlines, desde 23 a 25 mes de julio, is set to be one of the largest festivals to take place in Europe since the pandemic began, hosting 40,000 fans in Sheffield’s Hillsborough park. Ashcroft was due to close the festival on the Sunday; festival organisers have said they will book a replacement headliner.

Attendees will not need to wear a mask, and there will be no social distancing, regardless of any official restrictions at the time. They will need to prove a negative Covid result from a lateral flow test taken within the previous 48 horas, or that they have received two vaccination doses, with the second received at least 14 days before.

Tramlines was given the go-ahead as part of the government’s events research programme, which monitors transmission of Covid among attendees.

Sheffield previously participated in the programme with the world snooker championships in April and May. Other test events took place in Liverpool and London, including the Brit awards, FA Cup final and an outdoor concert with Blossoms.

Solo 28 cases were discovered to have been transmitted from tens of thousands of attendees, though there were some concerns over the accuracy because lateral flow tests were used rather than the more reliable PCR tests.

Ashcroft joins a clutch of British indie-rock stars who oppose government intervention regarding Covid-19.

He received praise from former Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown, who said it was “a solid decision and a great statement, Comrade”. Brown has vociferously opposed vaccination and lockdowns, including in his song Little Seed Big Tree where he sang of: “A forced vaccine, like a bad dream / They’ll plant a microchip, every woman, child and man”.

En septiembre 2020, Noel Gallagher lambasted mask-wearing as “pointless”, y dijo: “There’s too many fucking liberties being taken away from us now.” In June, he said he had received the vaccine on medical advice, but added: “The people who are virtue signalling, their lofty wagging their finger at people who are declining it, can eff off. That’s how fascism starts.”

In a new interview this week with his nephew Sam Esty Rayner, Morrissey discusses civil liberties, including around Covid. Rayner tells him that “Covid society is also the precise description of slavery,” to which Morrissey replies: “Precisely. And more people are now forced into poverty, which is another form of slavery, as is tax and council tax and all the other ways in which we are pinned down and tracked. Our present freedom is restricted to visiting supermarkets and buying sofas. The government act like Chinese emperors … ‘We will allow you to live as we do if you behave yourself.’”

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