Post-Brexit Musical Tours: Pressure Mounts on Government to Accept EU Concert Conditions | Ents & Arts News


The government is increasingly criticized for failing to reach a deal that would allow musicians and performing artists to work and travel freely in the EU after Brexit.

A petition calling for travel without red tape is due to be debated in parliament on Monday after collecting more than 280,000 signatures.

In January, more than 100 artists and designers, including Sir Elton John, Liam Gallagher and Glastonbury co-organizer Emily Eavis signed a protest letter with similar demands.

Blur drummer Dave Rowntree (3rd from right) says “a real problem is brewing”

Dave Rowntree, the drummer of Fall out and now Labor adviser, warns that there is “a real problem brewing for musicians on tour”.

He told Sky News: “A lot of people who were planning on touring Europe will find that they cannot. The next generation of bands who are already living day to day are going to find that writing, recording and releasing music is not viable because they cannot tour enough to support it. “

Live music contributed £ 1.3bn to the economy in 2019 and £ 86m to exports, according to industry group UK Music.

The organization says 845,000 foreign music fans visited the UK that year and 45,633 jobs were supported by music tourism.

Classical violinist Tasmin Little OBE said the government had “very, very seriously failed the industry.”

She told Sky News: “We have been told that they understand our needs and the very specific nature of what we do and how we need to be able to travel to find work.”

Gary Numan poses for a portrait in New York City to promote his album, Savage.  Photo: Scott Gries / Invision / AP
Gary Numan says an established artist can survive, but new talent will suffer. Photo: Scott Gries / Invision / AP

Musical tours rely on the ability of artists and teams to travel between many countries in a short period of time.

Brexit put an end to the free movement of Britons in Europe, adding huge costs, paperwork and work permits to tours in many of the 27 member states.

The British government and Brussels blame each other for not solving the problem, each saying the other side rejected their proposals.

Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage later admitted that the EU’s offer of a 90-day exemption from red tape would ‘not have been compatible’ with Brexit pledge to take back control of our borders.

Violinist Jess Murphy is the organizer of a social media protest this weekend under the hashtag #LetMusicMove.

She explains: “We are desperate for the government and the EU to come together, but there seems to be a stalemate.

“What we’re saying is please come together and make it happen or we’re not going to rebuild it.

“The music industry doesn’t work without freedom of movement. It’s a complicated infrastructure. It’s not like we can all join a local orchestra and everything will be fine.”

Joel Stanley is a production manager who has toured the EU for Stormzy, visiting 15-20 European countries on a grand tour.

He is more optimistic than many in the industry. He says: “In the short term [the industry] will see damage. Not only from the pandemic, but also from Brexit.

“It will look like a struggle. And then eventually we’ll get back on our feet. We’re one of the most resilient industries in the world and we’ll always make the show happen.”

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However, the musician Gary Numan told Sky News it was the smaller or emerging artists that would be missing.

“People like me will be fine … But for people a little lower down the ladder it’s going to be horrible for them – really, really hard.

“Most bands don’t make any more money making records … For most bands, the only significant money they can actually make is playing live. If you put more barriers in front of that, you take away the only livelihood that many musicians [have]. “

MPs will discuss the petition demanding paperless travel for professionals and touring artists in the House of Commons on Monday afternoon.


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