American indie artist Colleen Green It used to be that visiting musicians were buttonholed as soon as they got off the plane by eager reporters keen to know what they thought of . These days, they just get thrown in the slammer.
That, at least, was the fate that befell American indie artist Colleen Green, whose n tour has been called off following her detention and deportation by immigration and border control officers in Melbourne.
Green had been scheduled to kick off her short n tour in Byron Bay on Friday night, with gigs in Brisbane, Sydney, Wollongong and Melbourne to follow, before winding up the tour with a show in Ballarat on Sunday September 10. Alas, it was not to be.
Green posted about her experience on Facebook on Friday afternoon, describing the past few days since leaving Los Angeles as “emotional, exhausting, and tumultuous”.
She arrived in Melbourne this week, via Auckland, with no guitar but a few pieces of merchandise in her luggage. That was enough to make the immigration officials suspicious.
“The promoter of my n tour told me he had secured a visa for me and to just say I’m visiting friends and everything would be fine,” Green writes. “I really had no reason to doubt this as I have travelled all over the world to perform and have done so many times under the pretence of ‘tourism’ with no incident.”
However, “after a very thorough search of my bags, the officers decided I was lying. They took my iPad, phone and passport. They looked up my tour dates on the internet … they took me to an interrogation room where I waited, was interrogated on tape, waited more, was interrogated more, waited more, and finally was told that my visa was being cancelled.”
About seven hours after stepping off the plane, Green was driven to an immigration detention centre (presumably in Maribyrnong, though she says only that it was about a half-hour journey), where she was photographed and fingerprinted. She has no complaints about her treatment, saying “the officers at the centre were actually really nice and fun”.
The following morning, she was taken back to the airport for deportation.
Being escorted by half a dozen immigration officers determined to make sure she left the country wasn’t all bad, Green admits, “because I didn’t have to wait in any of those wack ass lines, and I also got to board the plane first”.
But it wasn’t all good, either. “I felt like a totally busted criminal dummy, when all I had been trying to do was play music and see a new country.”
A spokesman for Bone Soupsaid the small promoter was “deeply saddened” by this situation, and said refunds were being automatically sent to all ticket buyers.
He added that Bone Soup was “deeply embarrassed” that it had failed to arrange the appropriate documentation in time.
“Letting down an artist and having her experience what she has, as well as letting her fans down, is a terrible thing,” he said.
“This has been a harsh lesson and we have made a mistake that we will never make again. We are doing our best to allay the situation and reschedule a tour for the future.”