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December 18, 2014

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Canadian folk singers stopped at border, can’t perform in Las Vegas

Fearing an attack on the United States by a troupe of Canadian folk singers, Homeland Security won’t allow The Buccaneers to cross the border to perform at a house concert in Las Vegas this weekend.

“They have to get a work permit to come down here,” says Richard Stewart, who frequently plays host to concerts in his garage on the north side of town.

“We’ve never had a problem in the past, the process has always gone smooth. But Homeland Security has gotten very slow in issuing the permits lately and the musicians didn’t get them in time – they’ve expected them for the past few weeks.”

No work permit, no gig.

“We have to cancel the show,” Stewart says.

The show was to have been Saturday at Garage-Ma-Hal – the 1,800 square foot metal building behind Stewart’s home that has been converted from a garage into a showroom.

Six or seven concerts a year are held at the unusual venue. Past performers include actor/folk singer Ronnie Cox, Mark Rodney, Traffic Jam, Dave Potts, Hot Club of Las Vegas and Michael Soli, who runs the acoustic guitar nights at House of Blues at Mandalay Bay.

Fans donate money for the concerts and the money goes to the performers, many of whom follow a home concert circuit across the country.

The Buccaneers have been around since 1997, and have never been accused of terrorist activity – but they have been described as playing “aggressive Canadian folk music.”

Perhaps Homeland felt it was a bit too aggressive. Maybe the feds thought the three musicians were hiding instruments of mass destruction on their tour bus.

Stewart says he thought all along The Buccaneers would get the necessary work permits so didn’t line up a substitute.

The next scheduled concert will be May 2, featuring folk/Americana/acoustic musicians Bev Barnett and Greg Newlon.

“I may try and book something before then,” Stewart says. “Maybe a local act.”

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