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The Charlatans postpone UK dates amid positive COVID cases and Omicron fears

The indie veterans have pulled the last five dates on their greatest hits tour

By Joe Goggins

Tim Burgess of The Charlatans performs live at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester, May 27, 2017.
Tim Burgess and co have curtailed their tour over Omicron fears. (Photo: Paul Heyes/Alamy)

The Charlatans have been forced to cancel the remainder of their UK tour after a number of positive COVID cases were confirmed among their crew.

The Northwich indie stalwarts had been on the road since November 22 on a greatest hits tour, in support of their new compilation ‘A Head Full of Ideas: The Best of Charlatans‘, including huge shows at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse and Brixton Academy.

Now, they’ve axed the final five nights of the run, beginning with tonight’s (December 16) gig at Rock City in Nottingham. They’ve also pulled shows in Leeds, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh. The band are aiming to reschedule for 2022.

In a statement shared by frontman Tim Burgess on Twitter, they also alluded to the skyrocketing number of COVID cases in Britain. “It’s the news we really didn’t want but we have absolutely no choice. Two more of our crew members have tested positive and it doesn’t feel right to gather people together with current numbers of infections around the UK.”

The statement concluded: “With that in mind we are postponing the rest of the tour with immediate effect. We know our fans will understand as safety is our number one priority.” In a follow-up tweet, Burgess urged fans to share the news with anybody who might be about to travel to Nottingham for tonight’s gig.

A second statement on the band’s official Twitter account also referred to the latest guidance from the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty. “In light of the current, rapidly evolving situation regarding the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 and the advice from the Chief Medical Officer not to “mix with people you don’t have to” we feel it is unfair for our audience to have to choose between exposure to the virus or to avoid the show,” the band said.

They added: “We are also aware with every extra day, the band and crew are further exposed so have decided it is in the best interests of all to postpone. Details of rescheduled dates will follow as soon as availability is confirmed.”

As the highly transmissible Omicron variant takes hold in the UK, a number of other tours have been cancelled, with Sam Fender, Paul Weller and Coldplay all having to scrap shows in recent days. 78,610 new cases of coronavirus were reported in the country yesterday, the highest daily rate since the start of the pandemic.

Fears are now rising over the long-term viability of grassroots venues, with revenues ravaged by COVID-enforced closures and, now, by virus fears causing a decline in attendance. An alarming report in The Observer last Sunday (December 12) suggested that no-shows at some gigs have reached up to 40 per cent of those holding tickets.

On Monday (December 15), the Music Venue Trust called for “decisive and immediate action” from the government to help stave off grassroots closures.