Winnipeg's Royal Canoe cancel U.S. tour due to visa backlog

Juno-nominated indie rockers Royal Canoe cancelled their American tour because of U.S. delays in processing their visa application, the band announced Thursday.

Cancellation costs thousands of dollars in potential earnings, singer says

Winnipeg band Royal Canoe announced Thursday they had to cancel their U.S. tour because their visa application was still not approved by American officials. (Supplied photo)

Juno-nominated indie rockers Royal Canoe cancelled their American tour because of U.S. delays in processing their visa application, the band announced Thursday.

Singer, guitarist and keyboardist Matt Peters said the cancellation represents thousands of dollars in lost earnings for the band, and he has no idea why processing the visa is taking so long.

"We did the application exactly the same way [as in years past], and I'm certain when they receive the application …[U.S. authorities] will approve it," he said. 

"It has nothing to do with the actual application. It's just about the processing time."

The Winnipeg band was supposed to leave for the United States on Tuesday, with their first show in New England on Friday night. Royal Canoe thought they gave U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials plenty of time to process their application.

Royal Canoe sent off their visa application Sept. 1, member Bucky Driedger said. Their union, the American Federation of Musicians, recommends Canadian bands send in applications at least 50 days before a U.S. tour; Royal Canoe sent theirs 63 days in advance of their departure.

"It's just money down the drain. It's very frustrating," said an exasperated Peters. "You put all of this time into promoting the tour ... you do everything you thought you needed to, and it still doesn't go through."

While the band still held hope they could save the tour, they contacted Premier Greg Selinger and Canada's outgoing ambassador to the United States and former Manitoba premier Gary Doer, Peters said. Neither was able to help speed up the process.

"When these things happen ... you have to do whatever you can," he said.

Royal Canoe plans to reschedule the American show dates as soon as their U.S. visa is approved, which could be very soon, Peters said.

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