Elton John and Culture Secretary discuss post-Brexit travel rules for musicians

Tom Horton, PA
·3-min read

Sir Elton John has taken part in a discussion with the Culture Secretary about post-Brexit travel arrangements for touring musicians.

Last month the singer was among a group of more than 100 musicians who criticised the Government in a letter which said performers have been “shamefully failed” by new visa rules.

Sir Elton and Oliver Dowden discussed ideas for how musicians will be able to tour the EU and other parts of the world going forward, the PA news agency understands.

The UK’s post-Brexit travel rules, which came into force at the beginning of the year, do not guarantee visa-free travel for musicians in the EU.

Sir Elton described their meeting as “positive”.

In a tweet, he added they “both agree that there is lots to be achieved by working together to find a solution to the problem, providing opportunities for the next generation of musicians to tour the EU without prohibitive red tape”.

Mr Dowden said it had been “great” to speak to Sir Elton and his husband David Furnish about “growing the UK music sector”.

He added on Twitter: “We had a v positive call where we discussed opportunities to help talented musicians tour both EU & rest of the world more easily.

“Lots of work going on in Govt on this. Grateful for your time!”

The Queer Bible
(Ian West/PA)

Discussing post-Brexit touring in an interview with ITV News on Wednesday, Sir Elton said that “we have to sort this out from now on”.

He added: “You make a decision to leave the EU, you’re stuck with what the consequences are, you have to deal with them and make sure that they can be improved, and they can be overcome.

“It was a democratic decision, I didn’t agree with it, but you’re left with the consequences and we have to deal with it, there’s no point in moaning about it now, it’s an irreversible decision and I’m an optimist and you have to be an optimist in the situation.

“It may be a bit prickly, the situation now, because it’s very raw.

“That doesn’t mean to say it’s not going to improve over the coming months.”

Elton John Aids Foundation – A Midsummer Party – Antibes
(Matt Crossick/PA)

Sir Elton added music is one of the UK’s “greatest exports” and the country is “at the forefront” of the industry.

“The arts are very important.

“Music is one of the few things that can bring people together,” he said.

He added music is “a huge thing for the British economy”.

A Government spokesman said: “We absolutely agree that musicians should be able to work across Europe.

“Though the EU rejected our proposals that would have allowed this, we are determined to work with the music industry on resolving any new barriers they face, so that touring can resume as soon as it is safe to do so.”