After many months of high-profile frustration in the live music industry following the Government’s failure of its Brexit trade deal with the EU to secure visa-free touring for artists, the DCMS said Government has secured agreements with 19 EU countries allowing visa-free, short-term, touring for UK artists.
DCMS said the Government had spoken to every EU member state about the issues facing the UK’s creative and cultural industries when looking to tour in Europe.
Following the discussions, the following member states have confirmed UK musicians and performers do not need visas or work permits for short-term tours: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Sweden.
DCMS said it is currently engaging with the remaining EU member states that do not allow visa and permit free touring, and calling on them to align their arrangements with the UK’s rules, which allow touring performers and support staff to come to the UK for up to three months without a visa.
It said formal approaches via officials and DCMS ministers have been made to Spain, Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Bulgaria, Romania, Malta and Cyprus.
In a statement DCMS said, “We recognise challenges remain around touring, and we are continuing to work closely with the industry. We want to ensure that when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, touring can resume and our world-leading creative and cultural artists can continue to travel widely, learning their craft, growing their audiences and showing the best of British creativity to the world.”
On 23 June, the fifth anniversary of the referendum vote on Brexit, 200 artists including Radiohead, Blur and Wolf Alice, launched the #LetTheMusicMove campaign to urge the Government to reduce the cost and red tape involved in musicians touring Europe post Brexit.
The campaign group, which is now consists of more than 1,000 artists, issued a statement dismissing the DCMS announcement as “spin”.
It said, “We continue to cooperate in good faith with Government and officials on the critical issue of EU touring, however the latest announcement is nothing more than we already knew. It remains that the UK’s music industry is in a far less advantageous position now than it was pre-January.
“Despite the spin, this statement represents an admission of failure. Failure to fulfil the promises made by Government about securing our industry’s future during negotiations, failure to “fix” the issue, as per the PM’s statement of March this year, and failure to provide certainty around touring in almost a third of EU countries, eight months after the music industry was dealt a no-deal scenario.
“We launched #LetTheMusicMove in June which saw thousands of artists sign up to highlight the crisis that our industry finds itself in. Yet, there has been no political representation in the meetings on the issues for months, let alone any signal that the Government is “straining every sinew” to help our £6bn sector.
“If there is a serious intention to fix the problems created by the Government’s failure in negotiations, they must start by being honest with our sector and the public about the current status regarding EU touring. As a start, the Government must publish full details on a country-by-country basis, outlining the exact requirements for touring performers and crew across all 27 member states.”