Rock star Richard Ashcroft is refusing to play at this year’s Tramlines Festival because it is part of the Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP).

The former lead singer of The Verve said he withdrew from the event, which will be held in Sheffield later this month, some 10 days ago after being advised that he “could only appear subject to certain Government restrictions.”

Ashcroft told fans on social media that he demanded that Tramlines extend their refund window, claiming that organisers should have notified fans of his withdrawal sooner.

Even now, six days after Tramlines was confirmed as an ERP event, Ashcroft’s name is still on the list of headliners alongside The Streets, Blossoms and Dizzee Rascal on the Tramlines website and that of ticket seller Gigantic. On Tuesday morning, there is no mention on the Tramlines website or social media as to an extended window for refunds.

A statement on the singer’s Twitter account reads: “Richard wishes to confirm that in spite of the publicity issued by the Tramlines organisers he is not appearing at the Tramlines festival on July 24. He does not understand why he is billed as appearing. Once he was advised that he could only appear subject to certain Government restrictions he immediately advised the organisers that he would not appear under those circumstances. He apologises to all of his fans for the confusion but that was not of his making.”

Tramlines will take place at full capacity from July 23-25, with 40,000 fans set to attend Hillsborough Park. Under ERP rules, at entry, ticket holders, except children under 11, will be asked for proof of either a negative COVID result within the previous 48 hours or having received two vaccination doses.

Ashcroft’s decision to withdraw has been met with some opposition.

However, some fans have backed his stance:

Others are unhappy at a lack of communication from Tramlines:

Image: Simon Q / Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0) / Cropped to size