Van Morrison concerts called off over Covid rules

A series of sold-out Van Morrison concerts have had to be cancelled due to the Northern Ireland Executive’s decision to postpone further measures to ease coronavirus restrictions.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 23rd July 2021, 8:43 pm
Van Morrison
Van Morrison

The Stormont government had planned to reduce the legal requirement for social distancing to one metre indoors, and remove it altogether for outdoor activities and public transport from Monday.

But ministers opted to postpone the reopening during a meeting of the Executive earlier this week.

Sir Van Morrison, and promoter Joe Dougan, have now said they have been forced to cancel a series of concerts that had been due to take place at the Ulster Hall next week.

Van, who has been a frequent critic of the handling of the pandemic by Northern Ireland health authorities, said: “I have tried to be constructive over the past sixteen months, engaging with government to propose practical suggestions as to how we bring back live music events based on robust individual health and safety risk assessments.”

He continued: “This week, I played the York Barbican in front of a live audience but I can’t play in my hometown to a limited audience.

“We now have the most draconian restrictions of any region in the UK.”

Mr Dougan said: “It is disappointing, after many months of work, to have to cancel these sold-out events, and to disappoint so many fans.

“It is my strong belief that these reduced capacity seated concerts are considerably safer prospects than many social settings that are already fully permitted under the law. Numerous appeals were discounted or ignored, and unfortunately we were left with no other options but to cancel outright.”

Van Morrison hit the headlines last month when a video emerged showing him onstage at the Europa Hotel chanting that Health Minister “Robin Swann is dangerous”.

Appearing alongside the performer in the video from the Europa Hotel was DUP MP Ian Paisley, who appeared to join in the chant.