Radiohead and Annie Lennox among acts asking the Government to make it easier to tour in the EU

·3-min read
 (PA Archive/PA Images)
(PA Archive/PA Images)

Radiohead, Chemical Brothers and Annie Lennox are among the artists calling on the Government to make it easier for musicians to tour in the European Union.

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

The group of musicians have warned that UK acts face “insurmountable financial and logistical barriers created by Brexit” and call on the Government to “save” EU touring.

The #LetTheMusicMove campaign is urging action to ensure an end to “Brexit-related cost, paperwork and bureaucracy currently preventing EU touring”.

Blur drummer David Rowntree is also supporting the campaign.

He told the PA news agency: “Gigs are starting up again, musicians who haven’t worked for a year are now looking to see if they can put some gigs in the diary and yet there’s still nothing in place.

“We have no agreement across the EU which means there’s a different regime in every country, a different visa to buy, a different set of rules to follow.”

He added bands like Blur “will be fine”, but those who are just starting to forge a career in the music industry will be worse affected.

Rock band Skunk Anansie, who are also supporting the campaign, said in a statement: “EU touring and the need to get the right process in place for simple and economical access to Europe is crucial at this time more than ever.

“It is the life blood of bands and artists, not just financially, but to expand their fanbases and deliver their art to a wider audience and the home of many bands to hone their crafts.

“Especially now, after the extreme financial impact of the pandemic, this touring can, and will be, the lifesaver for many bands, artists, and crews.

“We need action, we need support, and we need access.”

Primal Scream bassist Simone Butler added: “It’s essential that bands, artists, musicians and DJs can travel Europe at every level of their career.

“Europe is part of the geographic working space.

“To make it financially and logistically unrealistic to do shows and festivals will be halting the livelihoods and careers of generations of musicians.”

Last month, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said artists will be able to undertake some touring in at least 17 of the 27 European Union member states without needing visas or work permits.

He told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee he has engaged with every EU country on the issue since January.

There have been calls from across the performing arts industries for a cultural work permit deal to be reached between the Government and the EU, with a petition on the issue securing more than 280,000 signatures.

A Government spokeswoman said: “We want performers and other creative professionals to be able to tour easily abroad.

“Short-term, temporary visits for paid performances by UK performers are possible in at least 17 EU countries, including France, Germany and the Netherlands, without needing visas or work permits.

“However, we recognise the difficulties still being faced by the sector.

“That is why we are working closely with individual member states to encourage them to adopt a more flexible approach, in line with the UK’s own rules which allow creative professionals to tour easily here.”

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