Sir Van Morrison has cancelled a number of concerts in the Ulster Hall next week, blaming “draconian” delays from Stormont on relaxing live music restrictions.
Singer Ryan McMullan has also cancelled his gigs at the Belfast venue next week as well.
It had been expected that theatres and concert venues would be able to open from Monday, but the Executive confirmed on Thursday they will be meeting again next week to make a decision.
In a statement, the singer said he now had no choice but to cancel the dates.
Sir Van said that the decision impacted everyone from musicians and crew to those that have purchased tickets and made travel arrangements
“It’s time for a real plan and real leadership. I have tried to be constructive over the past sixteen months, engaging with government to propose practical suggestions as to how we bring back live music events based on robust individual health and safety risk assessments,” he said.
“This week, I played the York Barbican in front of a live audience but I can’t play in my hometown to a limited audience.
“We now have the most draconian restrictions of any region in the UK. Where is the scientific or medical evidence to support such measures? After over a year, they still haven’t provided the evidence.”
A spokesman for Ryan McMullan confirmed his Ulster Hall gigs had now been cancelled and refunds were being issued.
He added that he was hopeful the gigs could be rearranged to an outdoor setting in the future if the current restrictions remains.
The spokesman added: “We can’t keep moving them to work within the NIE’s roll out plan which keeps changing.
"There’s thousands of jobs and careers in the arts that are on their hands and knees and are truly suffering.”
Later, Mr McMullan posted a video update on Instagram venting his frustration.
“Our government are just so incompetent. We can literally get on a plane, fly to England, go to a night club (at) full capacity, fly home and that’s OK.
“But we can’t just go to the Ulster Hall at 25% capacity. So the gigs are cancelled, everybody will get their tickets refunded.
“But if they won’t let us do a gig inside, we’re going to do a couple outside. So stay peeled and hopefully you still wanna come to a show.”
Sir Van has been a vocal critic of lockdown restrictions, particularly last month when he caused controversy onstage at the Europa Hotel by chanting that Health Minister “Robin Swann is dangerous” alongside the DUP MP Ian Paisley.
His promoter Joe Dougan commented: “It is disappointing, after many months of work, to have to cancel these sold-out events, and to disappoint so many fans. It is my strong belief that these reduced capacity seated concerts are considerably safer prospects than many social settings that are already fully permitted under the law.
“Numerous appeals were discounted or ignored, and unfortunately we were left with no other options but to cancel outright.”