The live music industry has welcomed chief Brexit negotiator David Frost’s admission that the trade deal he oversaw failed touring musicians and crew by creating unnecessary added costs and red tape. He said he had been “too purist” and that a deal removing excessive paperwork and processes should be pursued.
Frost said, “I think we have been too purist on this. We did in fact look last year as a Government at whether we should move to a more pragmatic position, but in the depths of the vaccine wars it was impossible. This time we should try harder.”
Frost was the UK’s Chief Brexit negotiator on both the Withdrawal Agreement and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
LIVE Touring Group chair Craig Stanley told Access, “We welcome Lord Frost’s recognition – albeit delayed – that it remains incredibly difficult for musicians to tour in the EU, with music having been a complete afterthought within the UK’s Brexit negotiations.
“Our hope is that he will now use his influence and connections to put things right for one of Britain’s greatest export success stories, and deliver an essential EU-wide exemption to allow bands to tour freely – something LIVE has argued for since the initial agreement.”
Musicians’ Union general secretary elect Naomi Pohl said, “This is a long overdue admission from Lord Frost that an arrangement to facilitate musicians touring would not undermine the Government’s immigration policy. We have said repeatedly that this is not an immigration issue and our members have unnecessarily faced two years of uncertainty. What we need is an EU-wide deal which enables our members to tour in Europe or bilateral agreements with individual territories. We have provided evidence and suggested solutions but very little progress has been made by the Government. Musicians need to be able to plan tours and accept work in the EU with confidence, particularly coming out of two dreadful years of pandemic closures.”