Musicians can tour Europe without visas after Brexit breakthrough

·2-min read
Elton John
Elton John

A Brexit breakthrough for musicians has been achieved after ministers secured an agreement on visa-free travel for touring artists within 19 EU countries

Sir Elton John was among the artists who accused politicians of “screwing up” visa-free travel for performers in Brexit negotiations, leaving musicians facing restrictive costs and red tape to tour on the continent.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has now announced that UK talents will be able to tour freely in 19 EU countries.

A statement from the DCMS said: “We want the UK’s fantastic performers and other creative professionals to be able to tour abroad easily.

“We, as government, have spoken to every EU member state about the issues facing our creative and cultural industries when looking to tour in Europe. We are now actively engaging with the remaining member states that do not allow visa and permit free touring.”

Despite the announcement of short-term, visa-free touring for 19 of 27 member states, campaigners have raised concerns that other issues have not been addressed.

The problem of cabotage - restrictions on tour vehicles driving kit across the EU - is yet to be resolved, meaning uncertainty for drivers and crew engaged in touring.

Campaigners are also concerned about rules on taking equipment and merchandise across borders, even if musicians themselves are able to travel freely.

A Musicians' Union spokesman said: “This looks like a positive development, but we need to see the detail to be certain about what it means for musicians. We will continue to push the Government to do more to sort these out.”

The Let The Music Move campaign stated that the deal still represented a “failure” as there was “no certainty around touring in almost a third of EU countries, eight months after the music industry was dealt a no-deal scenario”.

Musicians can tour in nations including France and Germany, but other destinations including Spain have not yet signed up to the agreement.

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