Canada’s visa troubles have struck again, this time hitting the Nuits d’Afrique festival hosted in Montreal.
Yemi Alade, the headliner for the festival’s final closing concert, will no longer perform on Sunday.
The Nigerian Afropop singer’s visa application was refused shortly before she was set to arrive in Montreal.
The same was true for members of her band.
According to festival co-founder Suzanne Rousseau, the refusal was due to financial reasons, and for fear that the group wouldn’t leave Canada.
“Finally, we got an answer saying the musicians were refused, saying they have to guarantee that they have enough financial means that will make them go back to their country,” she said.
A second visa application, this one from Europe, went unanswered.
Rousseau said it’s not the first time visa issues have come up while organizing Nuits d’Afrique — but this year is the worst so far.
“The procedures are longer than ever,” she said.
“I know when they’re from Africa, it’s not easy to get them here and never guaranteed.”
Visa delays are also impacting the upcoming AIDS conference in Montreal next week, particularly for people from Africa, Asia and South America.
In response to backlash from international humanitarian groups, Ottawa announced it would begin fast-tracking applications for conference attendees earlier this month.
With Alade’s performance cancelled, a new artist will take her place: Sampa the Great, born in Zambia and based in Australia, will hit the stage Sunday at Quartier des spectacles.
Sampa the Great is already in the U.S.