Industry collective #WeMakeEvents has sent an open letter to transport secretary Grant Shapps to push for exemptions relating to post-Brexit touring productions.
#WeMakeEvents has been joined by over 150 artists, producers, managers and other industry workers to co-sign the letter aimed at preventing the “collapse” of the UK’s touring industry.
The letter has been sent due to the current post-Brexit EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), whereby specialist transport vehicles and UK artists are being restricted from touring in the EU.
The group said that transportation is restricted and “rendered inoperable” under the TCA, which has stopped the 30 companies in the sector from returning and UK artists from being able to tour. Instead, it said the TCA is opening up opportunities for trucking companies to be set up in the EU and “sacrificing” specialist jobs.
The group said that the industry currently faces another competitive disadvantage against EU-based competitors and that without sleeper bus and splitter van businesses, the UK’s position as a recognised global leader in live events will be threatened.
It added that almost two thirds (62%) of survey respondents view the new EU relationship as another barrier for business and income.
Among the 50 artists to co-sign letter are Frank Turner, Two Door Cinema Club, Maximo Park, Blossoms, Ghostpoet, Public Service Broadcasting, Melanie C and Jamiroquai.
The letter follows another recent #WeMakeEvents Brexit related survey that revealed almost a third of respondents generated 30% or more of their revenues from Europe in 2019. It also found that 62% see the new EU relationship as a problem for business and income and 36% are expecting increased EU competition.
Following the recent open letter, #WeMakeEvents steering committee member Duncan Bell said, “The UK is geared up to hold around 85% of Europe’s touring capacity in terms of the live event supply chain and without solutions to the EU Touring obstacles we face, these businesses and individuals are in jeopardy.”
He added, ”Over one year down the line since tours were taken from under our feet, we are witnessing an imminent destruction of the UK’s position as a supplier of skills and technology to touring. Without urgent intervention, we may well see the invisible army of touring staff have to permanently sacrifice their beloved careers and choose more stable jobs.”
Tarrant Anderson, founder and director of touring vehicles company Vans For Bands Ltd, said, “What we need the government to recognise is the irreparable damage that will be imposed upon touring production unless counteractive support to new EU laws is made accessible.
“The Brexit deal means the only work companies like ours can now do in the EU is make one delivery stop, one interior move in that location, then one more movement within the EU before being forced to return to the UK.
“The pandemic has exacerbated this in taking away all touring work before the law was imposed. In normal circumstances Vans For Bands services over 100 tours per month and transports around 10,000 musicians and crew every year – not being able to do what we do best, even when lockdown restrictions ease, will be devastating.”