‘Unsustainable’ musical tours in EU: British stars slam government for ‘gaping hole’ in Brexit trade deal


Some of Britain’s biggest music stars from the pop and classical worlds are among more than 100 industry figures who have blasted the UK government for a ‘gaping hole’ for musicians in the post-Brexit trade deal with the ‘EU.

In a letter to The Times, they say the end of visa-free touring in Europe “will make many tours unsustainable, especially for emerging young musicians” already struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“The deal with the EU has a gaping hole where the promised free movement of musicians should be: everyone on a European music tour will now need expensive work permits and a mountain of paperwork for their equipment “, indicates the letter. “This negotiation failure will tip many artists overboard.”

The signatories of the letter include figures from across the musical spectrum and from generation to generation: from Ed Sheeran, Sting, Sir Elton John and the Sex Pistols to conductor Sir Simon Rattle, violinist Nicola Benedetti and composer. Judith Weir.

They are calling on the government “to do what it said it would do and negotiate paperless travel to Europe for British artists and their equipment”.

The conditions should be the same for artists on both sides of the Channel, add the musicians. “For the sake of UK fans wishing to see European artists in the UK and UK venues wishing to host them, the deal should be reciprocal,” the letter concludes.

A notable signatory is Roger Daltrey, singer of The Who and a prominent supporter of Brexit.

“As if we hadn’t toured Europe before the fucking EU,” he retorted to a journalist in 2019 when asked about the likely effect of Brexit on European tours.

Musicians and music teams were not among the professions exempt from the visa requirement for business travel under the Brexit deal.

With the UK now outside the European Union and its Single Market, artists and staff may need visas for certain countries and expensive permits for equipment. European musicians visiting the UK will also be affected.

The failure to strike a deal for performers has sparked a war of words between the UK government and Brussels.

The EU draft legal text published in March 2020 provided for a clear exemption from the restrictions for “artists performing an activity on an ad hoc basis”.

EU officials said the UK had refused to consider a chapter on “mobility”. “I very much regretted that when it came to mobility between the two sides, the British did not show greater ambition. We had a number of initial proposals on this,” told the Financial Times the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier. the week.

The EU offer on musicians “would not have been compatible with the government’s clear commitment to regain control of our borders,” British Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage said on Tuesday.

A petition calling on the UK government to negotiate revised rules for musicians on tour in the 27 EU countries attracted more than 250,000 signatories last week, including UK artists Laura Marling, Louis Tomlinson and rockers Biffy Clyro .

Below is the full list of Times letter signatories:

Roger Waters; Sir Simon Rattle; Dame Sarah Connolly; Sir George Benjamin; Sir Harrison Birtwistle; Nicola Benedetti; Steven Isserlis; Stephen Hough; Sir András Schiff; Judith Weir; Roderick Williams; Amanda Roocroft; Amelia Freedman; Nash Ensemble; Anna Meredith; Anna Patalong; Benjamin Boulanger; Bond Quartet; Brindley Sherratt; Professor Catherine Martin; Catherine Wyn-Rogers, Catriona Price; Chichi Nwanoku; Chris Stark, Christian Curnyn; Claudia Huckle; Dr Mark Taylor; Elizabeth Wallfisch; Gabriella Swallow; Gina McCormack; Gregory Walmsley; Harry Bicket; Hilary Summers; Jeremy Huw Williams; Jess Gillam; Joseph Middleton; Kate Royale; Lauma Skride; Levon Chilingirian; Mahaliah Edwards; Martyn Brabbins; Michael Chance; Miloš Karadaglić; Nicolas Collon; Nicky Spence; Paul Cassidy; Peter Robinson; Professor Nicholas Daniel; Professor Julian Anderson; Professor Julian Lloyd Webber; Professor Peter Fribbins; Rakhvinder Singh; Raphaël Wallfisch; Rosa Mannion; Ruth Rogers; Sean Shibe; Sheku Kanneh-Mason; Tasmin Small; the Kanneh-Mason family; Sir Elton John; Ed Sheeran; Roger Daltrey; Bob Geldof; Midge urea; Prick; Robert Plante; Pierre Gabriel; Rag’n’Bone Man; Nick Mason; Aitch; Alex Kapranos; Beabadoobee; biceps; Brett Anderson; Brian Eno; Brian May; Bryan Adams; Captain Sensitive; Charlie Burchill; Chris Difford; Danny McNamara; Dave Stewart; Friars; Gary Kemp; Gary Numan; Glass animals; Grace Carter; Hayden Thorpe; Hot chip; Hugh Cornwell; Iron Maiden; Jayda G; Jim Kerr; Joss Stone; Jungle; Kasai; Kero Kero Bonito; Kim Wilde; King Krule; Priest of LA; Liam Gallagher; Mark King; Mick Hucknall; Nik Kershaw; Priya Ragu & Japhna Gold; Radiohead; Rick Wakeman; Roger Taylor; Ross of friends; Rusty Egan face; Sex guns; SG Lewis; simian mobile disco; SK Shlomo; Steve Normand; Superorganism; Terry Britten; The 1975; Darkness; Will Young; Dame Evelyn Glennie; Julia Haferkorn; David François; Karine Polwart; Peewee Ellis; John J. Williamson; Sam’s leak; Michael Eavis; Emily Eavis; John Gilhooly; Paul Mandry; Fielding Hope, James Clutton; Deborah Annetts; James Ainscough; Alasdair Tait; Annabella Coldrick; Ashutosh Khandekar; Atlas management; Barbara Osborne; Carole Main; Carole Langue; Claire Owen; Daniel Miller; Danny Keir; David Martin; David Taylor; Donagh Collins; Dr Aoife Monks; Felix Howard; Graham Sheffield; Howard Goodall; James McAulay; John Gidding; Keith Harris; Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp; Lucy Heyman; Marie-Alice Stack; Patrick Woodroffe; Professor Chris Collins; Rod Smallwood; Sandra Schembri; Sir David Bell; Tom Travis; Vick Bain


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