Leading figures in the music industry have voiced concern that the post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and the EU could have a negative impact on touring artists and professionals, not least the necessity for musicians to get an individual visa for each country where they perform.
UK Music CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin emphasised the continued need for touring artists to be able to move freely around Europe: “The Prime Minister has promised there will be no non-tariff barriers, so it is vital that Government delivers on this promise and ensures there are no barriers to British musicians working and touring through Europe. We will be seeking urgent reassurances on this from Government.
He added, “There is a real risk that British musicians will not be able to bear the cost of extra bureaucracy and delays which would put some tours at risk.
“If musicians and creators from overseas face barriers and costs getting into the UK, audiences here could miss out on seeing some of their favourite acts.”
Meanwhile, the Musicians’ Union said the Government’s Brexit deal did not adequately cover arrangements for touring musicians and issues include the concern that musicians do not come under the exemptions for short term business visitors; that the ninety-day maximum for short term business visitors in Europe has possible implications for touring musicians; and carnets at a significant cost be required to circumnavigate customs for professional equipment.
MU general secretary Horace Trubridge said, “Over the past few years we have told the Government in every possible way that a Brexit deal needs to make provisions for touring musicians. Hundreds of MPs have spoken on behalf of our members in parliament and Ministers have assured us over and over again that they will ensure that touring musicians will not be subject to extra cost or admin post Brexit.
“We now see that this deal does not address any of our concerns. In the short term, we urge the Government to add musicians to the list of ‘Independent Professionals’ at the earliest opportunity. In the longer term, we will be lobbying for a reciprocal arrangement with the EU that will allow musicians to work unimpeded.”
A petition calling for Europe-wide visa-free work permits for touring professionals and artists has been signed by more than 220,000 people.