Richard Ashcroft drops out of Tramlines Festival after it becomes government pilot event

The former lead singer of The Verve said he had decided "months ago" that he would not be playing any shows with government restrictions.

The Manc The Manc - 6th July 2021

Richard Ashcroft – former lead singer of Wigan band The Verve – has pulled out of Tramlines Festival after it became a pilot event for government testing.

The musician was due to play a headline slot at the Hillsborough Park festival later this month – which has been permitted to take place at full capacity as part of the government’s Events Research Programme.

But on Monday (July 5), Ashcroft confirmed he would not be playing the event.

The singer shared a screenshot of an announcement revealing Tramlines was going ahead but appeared to cover up his own face from the image.

“Apologies to my fans for any disappointment but the festival was informed over 10 days ago that I wouldn’t be playing once it had become part of a government testing programme,” he wrote.


“I had informed my agent months ago I wouldn’t be playing concerts with restrictions. The status of the festival was one thing when I signed up for it, but, sadly was forced to become something else.”

He also added the hashtags #naturalrebel and #theydontownme.


Messages sent from Ashcroft’s official Twitter account also confirmed that the singer would not appear at Tramlines.

A spokesperson said: “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 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.”

All restrictions on mass gatherings including festivals are set to end on July 19 – four days before the first day of Tramlines.

However, the festival will still form part of the Events Research Programme as the government looks to trial the use of the NHS app for COVID-status certification on a larger scale “to inform how crowds can return to live events safely”.

According to the Tramlines website, all ticket-holders will be required to show proof of a negative COVID result from a lateral flow test taken within the previous 48 hours, or two vaccination doses, with the second received at least 14 days before.

There will be no social distancing or mask-wearing requirements at the event.


The festival will also feature Dizzee Rascal, The Streets, The Kooks and Blossoms.

In March, Ian Brown also pulled out of a festival over government restrictions – claiming he would no longer play Neighbourhood as he “refused to accept vaccination proof as condition of entry.”

The former Stone Roses lead singer was replaced by the band James.

Featured image: Simon Q / Flickr