Die Jungs von ACROSS FIVE APRILS hatten ziemliche Probleme bei ihrer UK-Einreise, nun sind sie weider in der Heimat. Hier die ganze Geschichte aus erster Hand:
"As some of you already know we will not be able to do our European tour.
It is a total bummer but for once, this is not our fault. We have been
working on this Europe thing for going on 6 months now and were very excited
to do it.
I feel that this story must to be told.
We were treated like criminals.. lied to on several occasions..mislead.. and were over given the worst six hrs stuck in a containment cell because apparently we are criminals and should be treated as such.
Let me start this story by saying that we have had our tickets bought and paid for almost 2 months in advance. We all got our passports and were ready for our trip to Europe. We spent days, as a band figuring out what we can and cannot take to the UK, causes there are rules on weight and what not on a plane are very strict.
2 days before we left for the UK I called the London Embassy in the US to ask them some questions to make sure I was on top of everything and anything I needed to know about international travel. During our conversation I asked "Now we will be playing shows in the UK and be traveling around in a van going to different venues and will have merch on us that we are taking over with us is there anything special I need to do to make this ok?"
To which her reply was "No, you should be 100% o.k. long as your merch is promo'd and unwrapped and holes are punched on the Bar codes" which we did and had all packed up ready to go.
On the 9.5 hr plane ride, there we were all stoked and excited to visit the UK and do our thing.. we were a little loud on the plane but it was due to us being excited.. we had no complaints...in fact drew made a friend of some cute European on the plane.
Our excitement was short lived.
We got off in London Gatwick (sp) and went straight to the passport counter in which he said.."passport..And why are you here in the UK?" To which I causally replied, "We are a band and we are hear to see Europe and play music".. This is what starts our 6 hr battle with the immigration office..
He immediately said well you need work permits. I told him we were not making money.. And he said something sarcastic under his breath, we were told to sit on a bench and wait further instructions.. they had to go get Drew cause he was given the ok to go..but one of the officers whispered something into his passport checkers ear and he was quickly put with us for our wait....
4 hrs later... we were gotten by 2 Indian men who did not look happy..we were searched.. all of our bags were turned inside out and unpacked so they could see what horrible things we were taking into Europe...there was nothing out of the ordinary.
As soon as they were done they bombarded us with questions like.."How are you going to survive in the UK on 800 dollars?" I was took aback.."Well I am a pretty low maintainace man.. plus were only in the UK for 7 days.." He was trying to get us to say that we were making lots of money at all of our shows.. which was not true..and get us in trouble. "what can you tell me that is going to make me believe you are not making any money?" he said..my reply "I dont know..I promise we arent" he called us liars. and we packed our things and went to a holding cell where we were treated like criminals.. laughed at.. pointed and chuckeled at..called names like "liars..and silly" we were each interviewed and answered the same questions the same way..
Then we were all put together. Were at almost 5 hrs now..we were nice and calm and answered all of his questions..to which he replied "I dont believe you.. you are lying.. I am not giving you clearance into the UK.. the immigration law of 1971 states..." and he went on to tell us that his hands were tied.. it is illegal for us to come and play music in the UK ..even if we werent making money. (lie number 1)
I asked what if we were whistling down the sidewalk.... he told me yes that was against the law and we could be deported..I later read that this is not true.. On the UK embassy website is states "You do not need a work visa..it depends 100% on the immigrations officer weather or not you are to be permitted entrance into the UK."
Basically, he made a judgment on the people we were..americans...young..talented.. honest.. everything this man wasnt and because of whatever reason..he denied us entrance.
We asked what he wanted to do to get us back the 3400 dollars we spend to get there.. he laughed and said why is that our responability.. I said well how are we getting home .. he said .. at 1 pm you are getting on a plane and going straight back tot he US..
at this point I made it abundantly clear that we could not afford this to which he said and I quote
"THIS IS ON US.. DONT WORRY ABOUT THIS.. YOU JUST GET ON THE PLANE AND GO HOME" (lie number 2).."your passports will be given to you as you get on the plane"(lie number 3)
We were each given papers that had a checklist of the reasons we were not granted clearance to enter ..and they were all different.. mine had no checks at all.. what does this mean? Am I free to go?
No explanation was given
I guess while they were busy lying and making fun of us they forgot to do their job, which he made out to be the only reason we were being detained.
Then the only "helpful" lady we encountered..Whos job apparently was to smooth over all the crap that had just been thrown on us offered us Sandwiches and sodas.. to wish we asked for some.. and were given none..Perhaps another lie
They did not recheck our bags.. They just led us to the plane as if we were convicts...and when we were told that our passports were put in brown official envelopes and we were told that we could not touch them until we landed on American soil.
9.5 hours later we landed back in atl..almost exactly 24 hours spent in transit.. we then had problems because they didnt recheck our bags we almost had them sent back to London.. Good thing we asked..or their incompetence once again would have caused us a loss of more time and money.
So we all go our separate ways to figure out what we need to do.. you would think that it would be all said and done..youd think that..
I start reading about all the things we were told and how almost all of them were lies.. then I talked to the US head of state and he told me it happens all the time.. that because they are such crummy jobs and they pay so little that the only thing they get out of their jobs is a power trip. He must have been having a bad day and thought that screwing us out off almost 4000 dollars would make him feel like a man. This is not my problem.
I then called our flight booking agency to see if I could somehow use the 5
returning flight tickets we should still have left to some how credit us for one of the trips either to or from the UK and see if maybe we could get some work permits and pay some extra and get back to the UK. our booking agent shocks me with the next statement..."you have already used them"
How is this? They were for May 8th.. its not may 8th yet.. where did they go?
"Imagrations must have used them to get you home" Why? he told me and I quote..and its on video "this is on us..dont worry about this just get on the plane and go home" this is a direct lie and theft..we were not told that he was going to use our tickets, we did not approve anything like that, we would have said no and figured it out from there..this is not his right ..It was unfair and deceitful and an act of a thief.
Where are our tickets? thats almost 2000 dollars..Ive called everyone.. Delta.. our booking agent..the UK embassy.. the us head of state.. the delta customer care center for international travelers.. and apparently is everyone elses fault..
So as it stands we will not be touring the UK any time soon and its due to the fact that one poorly paid Indian immigrations officer had a bad day and or was envious of whatever it was we had that he didnt.
Jelle of reactor has never had this problem.. when I spoke to him.. he and none of his promoters have ever heard of this or had this problem. The other bands are over there 100% ok.. but apparently this happens..we spoke to Still remains and the Apple Seed Cast and they have had similar problems .. the ASC have been sent home from their as well.
So all I have to give you today is 2 things..
1. An apology to everyone we were to play for.. to everyone we were to play with.. to everyone we were to meet and befriend. I cant tell you how upset we are..If any of you have an extra 4000 dollars and want to get us over ..please feel free.. we will name the tour after you..haha
2. Here is a phone number you can call and complain to on our behalf..this is the LONDON HEAD OFFICE OF IMMAGRATION..
Feel free to call them and tell them how disappointed you are in how unprofessional/rude/deceitful/and crass their employees are.
01144 207 272 065
We hope to make it over again.. However, we probably wont be able to afford it anytime soon
Thanks Brandon and Across Five Aprils"