Andre Matos cancelled from ProgPower USA??


 
I’m waiting for an official note from the band, but here’s what was published…if this is true, it’s a shame. The US government has no idea how badly burnt their image worldwide is because of this unnecessary visa bureaucracy…
 
"After nine shows, I think I have earned everyone’s trust and the right to
speak brutally honest. In fact, I think this is what most fans want to
hear: the truth. Nobody wants to hear another lame two sentence
explanation about "visa problems." I will not hide behind anything.

I have been doing my own visa applications since ProgPower USA IV for 75%
of the roster. Hiring a professional company to do the visas for a single
performance is prohibitive due to costs. Imagine paying $36,000 just for
visas up front before any other expense is incurred. The process has
become so convoluted and intricate that it pushes me to insanity’s edge at
times. However, I have had no choice but to suck it up and deal with it in
order to maintain the festival. I have never had a problem prior to this
year with obtaining visas for bands that I have applied for myself. Think
of how many bands that is over the last six years. This is the same model
used by other successful festivals such as NEARfest. However, this year
has left me questioning whether or not to continue with the festival after
2010.

We started the visa application process back in early May. It takes three
weeks to obtain approval from AFM (American Federation of Musicians). Once
that approval is obtained, you send it in along with your 40+ pages of
paperwork for governmental processing. There is a 90 day window for this
decision process. I received approval for the majority of the bands in
early June. The process was moving regularly. I then received a request
for "further information" on the remaining four bands in mid-June. That
has happened once before about four years ago and I resolved it quickly. I
scrambled and sent in an additional 25 pages of documentation including
peer letters, reviews, etc. for each band in order to prove the
designation request that I have always used.

I just received notification on Monday that the visa applications for
Andre Matos, Vanden Plas, Tomorrow’s Eve, and Power Quest were denied.

Each individual case is reviewed by one person at the visa processing
center. Evidently, if you get the right person, you have no problems. You
get the wrong person and you get rejected. It’s as simple as that. There
is no possible way to speak to any officer directly involved with your
case to clarify, ask questions, etc. There is absolutely no method to the
madness. How else can you explain how the remaining bands were approved
with the standard documentation compared to the other bands that with more
that failed? How else can you explain that I have never had a problem in
the past using the exact same process and documentation? I have even had a
situation in the past with half of a band approved (different
nationality/consul) and the other half rejected initially based on the
exact SAME documentation. Yes, you read that correctly. That proves that
no two screeners follow the same reviewing standards.

Recently, there have been numerous articles on this same problem that all
promoters are experiencing. I invite you to read the following article
that describes this nightmare process:

http://thephoenix.com/Boston/News/63473-Immigrant-song/?page=2

I could appeal the cases. That costs an additional $700 per case and has a
30-60 day time frame for a decision. That would probably be money wasted
as it is too close to the festival date with absolute no guarantees. In
the case of Matos & Vanden Plas, I did seek out a professional
consultation and was willing to pay the additional costs to get the
processing completed within 30 days. They would seek out the a different
designation that is used in all touring situations. I was going to do
whatever it took to get them here. However, I just heard back from them
and they do not believe it would be a quick and easy case based on the
previous denial of the designation that I have been using for the past six
years! The visa consultants told me I have been "lucky." Evidently, I have
been lucky for six years straight? If someone would have failed me
previously, I would have done things a different way this year. I had no
reason to believe otherwise. Even if the band was approved, there is no
guarantee the visas would be received until mid-August. That would leave
the bands only 2-3 weeks to complete their interview processes in their
own country. In most countries, you must have the approval in hand before
you even schedule your interviews. Once again, there would be no
guarantees even if I spent an additional $5,000 per band on every possible
last ditch attempt.

These bands did nothing wrong. I attempted to play by the rules and the
government’s process failed me. A quick google search will find that I am
not alone. I cannot wait until the last minute to fix this and risk
further cancellations; nor will I do anything illegal to get a band in the
country. That is not fair to the bands or to the fans. Each of these bands
will be brought back in the future using a different process and
designation. That is the only fair thing to do. I do not see this as a
problem for the bands in the future. We are simply out of time for this
year.

I take pride in my work. I take pride in doing things the right way. I
take pride in this festival. I take pride in being honest with the fans
who are family to me. This situation has hit me hard and caused me many
sleepless nights. I sincerely apologize to everyone. All I can say is that
I promise to do my best in the future to prevent this from happening
again. I will make a decision on continuing the festival in 2011 based on
how smoothly 2010 goes. I simply cannot have this happen again.

That said, the show must go on.
 

Glenn Harveston"
 

About Janus

Janus Aureus is my recently-inaugurated personal blog (written in portuguese, but with some texts in english as well). Fiore Rouge is my old (but still very active - in fact, more than Janus :P) blog (I started it back in 2005). Mentalize is a fan-made website (since 2005). if you wish to contact me for any reason, visit my blog and leave a comment OR see email above (top left) - no, my name's not Andre - actually, I'm not even a guy! LOL Long story... O Janus Aureus é meu blog pessoal - escrito em português - ainda sem muito conteúdo, pois foi começado no final de dezembro de 2011. Já o Mentalize foi aberto em 2005 e está escrito em várias línguas *rs* Privilegio o uso do inglês ali porque o pessoal estrangeiro não tem muitas informações sobre o AM. Quem quiser entrar em contato comigo por qualquer motivo, deixe um comentário nos meus blogs ou use o email que está aí em cima à esquerda (e não, eu não sou o Andre - aliás, sou mulher!).

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