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Lil Wayne denied UK visa ahead of Strawberries And Creem headline set

By | Published on Thursday 16 June 2022

Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne will no longer headline this weekend’s Strawberries And Creem festival in Cambridge after the UK Home Office rejected his visa application at the last minute because of his past conviction in the US on gun charges.

Promoters of the festival said in a short statement yesterday: “Due to extreme circumstances beyond our control or influence, we are very sorry to inform you that Lil Wayne is now unable to perform at the festival. Lil Wayne has been refused entry to the UK directly by the Home Office in a last minute decision. We are deeply disappointed by this sudden and negative ruling”.

Although the Home Office doesn’t usually comment on the specifics of any one individual visa application, a spokesperson did tell the BBC: “Any individual who has been sentenced to a custodial sentence of twelve months or more must have their application refused”.

Wayne was jailed back in 2010 having plead guilty the previous year to the crime of ‘attempted criminal possession of a weapon’. That related to an incident in 2007 when a police officer searched the rapper’s tour bus and discovered a .40 calibre handgun.

He initially denied owning the gun but changed his plea in 2009 after the prosecution said they believed they had DNA evidence that could link him to the weapon and it was confirmed that evidence would be admissible in court during any trial.

The rapper received a one year jail sentence in relation to the gun crime conviction. And although he only actually spent eight months in jail, because the sentence was for one year he has fallen foul of the UK Home Office’s rules.

If only Donald Trump was still President, maybe the US government would have intervened and put pressure on British ministers. After all, Wayne was facing new charges in the US in relation to the possession of illegal firearms which, because of the earlier conviction, could have resulted in a ten year jail term. But as Trump was on his way out of the White House he formally pardoned the rapper meaning that prosecution did not proceed.

But without Trump on hand to help guarantee Wayne’s entry into the UK, promoters of Strawberries And Creem have instead brought in Ludacris to head up its Saturday line-up.