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Van Morrison is forced to reschedule gigs planned for this weekend


Plans: Singer Van Morrison has had to rearrange two of his Belfast concerts

Plans: Singer Van Morrison has had to rearrange two of his Belfast concerts

Plans: Singer Van Morrison has had to rearrange two of his Belfast concerts

Sir Van Morrison has run into more scheduling problems caused by Covid-19 regulations.

Two more of the east Belfast singer’s gigs planned for the Ulster Hall in Belfast this weekend have been shelved.

Fans who paid between £79 and £137.50 for tickets were informed on Monday afternoon that the concerts on Friday and Saturday have had to be rearranged.

A note on Morrison’s official website said the move was ‘due to ongoing restrictions on live music in indoor settings’.

The message said the shows have been rescheduled for Thursday, July 29 and Sunday, August 1 and offered refunds to anyone for whom the new dates didn’t suit.

The website said two other shows on Friday (July 30) and Saturday (July 31) of the same week are not affected and will go ahead as planned.

The Northern Ireland Executive announced earlier this month that live music could resume on July 5 but ruled that indoor gigs had to be kept to an ambient sound level.

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However, sources close to Morrison said the relaxations would not allow his first two concerts to go ahead.

But it is expected an Executive meeting on Thursday will lift the last remaining restrictions on live music from next Monday, July 26, which would permit Morrison’s four concerts that week to proceed.

Morrison has been at the forefront of a campaign to oppose lockdown measures in Northern Ireland and he wrote a number of songs about his fury at the impact the restrictions were having on musicians.

He also caused a storm of controversy with a public attack on Health Minister Robin Swann at a cancelled concert last month.

At the time Morrison chanted “Robin Swann is very dangerous” on the stage of the Europa Hotel in Belfast where he had been due to play the first of a series of concerts.

The DUP MP Ian Paisley later joined him on stage and in the chant. Mr Paisley later apologised to Mr Swann for his actions.

Morrison fans took to social media on Monday to express their disappointment and frustration at the latest difficulties with his gigs.

One fan on Twitter said “I’m sure Van will blow a gasket.”

Another said: “I suppose he’ll write three or four new songs complaining about the rescheduling,” while yet another said he hoped Ian Paisley wouldn’t be appearing with Morrison.

Others questioned whether the Ulster Hall gigs will actually go ahead given the rapidly-changing nature of the coronavirus restrictions.

Several fans from England said they couldn’t come to Belfast for the rescheduled gigs and were furious that they could not get refunds on their airfares

A Morrison concert is due to take place in the Barbican in York on Tuesday night after being rearranged from May.

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