Over 100 British music stars warn Brexit threatens European tours

Photo credit: Spencer Davis

More than 100 British musicians warn that Brexit threatens future European tours.

Musicians of all genres have gathered to comment on the situation. Ed Sheeran, Sting, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd and even Simon Rattle have spoken out on the current state of Brexit in a letter to The Times newspaper.

The musicians accused the government of breaking a promise to negotiate for them. An earlier agreement would have allowed British musicians to perform in the European Union without requiring work permits or visas. The letter calls for another deal to allow paperwork-free travel for British and European artists on tour.

“The agreement made with the EU has a huge hole where the promised freedom of movement for musicians should be. Everyone on a European music tour will now need expensive work permits and a mountain of paperwork for their team, ”the letter says.

These British musicians are also not wrong in their assessment of the post-Brexit European touring situation.

Brexit officially came into force on December 31, 2020. One of the direct consequences is that British and EU citizens can no longer travel freely between the two territories. The additional costs of obtaining paperwork for the artists and equipment will be passed on to the average viewer.

“The additional costs will make many tours not viable, especially for young emerging musicians who are already struggling to stay afloat due to the COVID ban on live music,” the letter continues. The UK is now working on a new COVID-19 shutdown ordered by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The agreement reached with the EU is much smaller than what most artists expected when it was announced. It allows UK and EU musicians to tour visa-free for 90 days out of any 180-day period. However, work permits are still required to perform in some countries, including Spain and Germany.

Several other technical rules have altered the way British artists can even plan European tours.

The new rules on road transport mean that British trucks must return to the UK after two loaded trips in the EU. That makes it impossible to organize a multi-stage tour of Europe without breaking these rules. Both the British and European governments point to each other for the current state of affairs.

The European Commission says Britain’s decision to end the free movement of EU citizens to the UK has consequences. Business travel is restricted and no longer as easy as pre-Brexit rules, leaving artists with little to no recourse.

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