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More than 200 artists, including Radiohead, Blur and Wolf Alice, are behind a new campaign urging the Government to reduce the cost and red tape involved in musicians touring Europe post Brexit.

Five years to the day of the original referendum vote on Brexit, today (23 June) has seen the launch of a new artist-led music industry campaign, #LetTheMusicMove, pushing Government to help make full-scale live touring of Europe more feasible when the Covid-related restraints are lifted.

Simultaneous to the campaign’s launch, 50 UK music artists sent a letter to the prime minister requesting Government urgently engage with the EU and its member states to ease the burden of seeking permissions each time artists and their teams wish to perform in EU countries.

The UK is the second biggest exporter of music in the world, and Europe is its most important overseas market. In 2019, UK artists played almost four times as many shows across the EU than they did in North America, according to PRS For Music. The gigs and festival appearances sustained an estimated 33,000 British jobs.

Under new post-Brexit rules:

  • UK touring vehicles will be limited to only three stops in Europe before having to return home.
  • UK musicians will require an onerous goods passport (a “carnet”) in order to tour Europe, including a bond for their instruments and equipment.
  • Those planning to perform in Spain, the UK’s second biggest touring market, face an unprecedented burden of work permits, paperwork and travel costs making many shows and festival performances unviable.

Backed by a growing cross-section of the UK music industry, including the umbrella bodies LIVE and UK Music, #LetTheMusicMove is now calling on Government to deliver four immediate actions to help avoid an impending crisis:

  1. An urgent Transitional Support Package to cover new and additional costs for touring artists and crews in the EU.
  2. Measures to overcome restrictive “cabotage” rules on UK vehicles touring Europe.
  3. A viable long-term plan for UK artists and crew to continue working in all EU-27 countries, without costly permits and bureaucracy
  4. To ensure European artists have reciprocal freedoms and access to perform at UK venues and festivals

UK Music CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said, “European touring is crucial to thousands of British musicians and crew, and the immense challenges they now face need urgent attention. The #LetTheMusicMove campaign has fantastic support and shows how united and determined our sector is to resolve this problem.

“The Government has shown with their recent trade deal with Australia that visa barriers can be eased and trade given a crucial boost where there is enough will and political determination.

“It is vital that the Government now shows the same political will in its talks with EU member states to support our world-leading industry which contributes £5.8bn to the UK economy, £2.9 billion in exports and supports around 200,000 jobs.”

More information can be found on the campaign website here, with artists being encouraged to sign up and show their support. Among the many artists already supporting the campaign are The Chemical Brothers, IDLES, Skunk Anansie, New Order, Biffy Clyro and Annie Lennox are among the many to support the campaign.

Earlier this month, Elton John wrote to MPs on the DCMS Committee outlining how post-Brexit restrictions on touring the EU were a “looming catastrophe” for the UK’s music sector. Meanwhile, last week, new consumer research from Public First indicated that the UK public believes not doing enough is being done to address the issues.