UK artists and their crews will no longer need visas to tour in Greece from Monday 13 June, according to the Greek deputy minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis.
The move was the result of concerted efforts from the Greek government and figures from across the UK and Greek music industry, including LIVE touring group chair Craig Stanley, United Talent Agency agent James Wright and The Entertainment Agents’ Association Paul Fenn.
The move, which is subject to review at the end of the year, represents a considerable boost for the UK’s live music sector which has seen European touring become more expensive and more arduous because of Brexit. Artists travelling to Greece previously had to apply for and receive a Schengen visa, which made touring significantly more challenging.
Last year, LIVE and the Association for British Orchestras (ABO), alongside their Spanish counterparts Asociación Promotores Musicales and key industry players such as Live Nation Spain, also worked to waive visas for UK artists touring in Spain.
LIVE CEO Jon Collins said, “This is a huge victory for both artists and fans, representing a further step towards the frictionless touring ecosystem needed by the live music sector.
“The prohibitive costs and bureaucracy posed by visa regimes threaten the export and growth of budding talent from across the UK, and while issues such as cabotage and carnets remain, we will continue to work on behalf of the sector to resolve these alongside our international counterparts.”
Although the successful return of visa-free short-term work in Greece represents a positive step towards the return of international touring, touring artists still face restrictions on touring: a three-stop limit to UK touring vehicles before they have to return to home, and a hugely expensive goods passport (a “carnet”), including a bond for instruments and equipment.