Current: More Brexit Woes For Touring Musicians

By Resonate | February 24, 2021
Words by Ben O’Regan

Another daily addition of the Masters of Incompetency podcast, recorded in the most politically senior chambers of our nation and hosted by everyone’s favourite narcissistic-milky bar-halfwit, Boris Johnson. This time, UK musicians are finding out a deal with the EU which would have allowed them visa-free working travel up to 90 days across Britain. The EU was snubbed by negotiators from Downing Street, despite their silage-stained statements that it was Brussels who sank our doomed musical battleship.

Once again, this government’s moment of uniting a post-Brexit Britain has fallen (unflatteringly) miles short on the repeated non-inclusion of the 5th largest UK sector in the economy – the arts and performance sector – who now face premium touring costs in European nations, on top of the ongoing desolating economic impact of Covid-19. 

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport officially addressed this by stating they had: “pushed for a more ambitious agreement with the EU on the temporary movement of business travellers, which would have covered musicians,” but the EU rejected this. Despite this consistent rhetoric from the government designed, on some level, to reassure, many figure-heads from the music industry such as Thom Yorke have called out this farcical government.

On top of this, an online petition was set up seeking “Europe-wide Visa-free work permits for touring professionals and artists” garnering over 250,000 signatures. It demands the UK government reassess and reimagine a free work visa for culture sector workers, relevant not just to musicians and artists, but those in television and sport who tour and perform within the EU nations. 

This senseless debacle can arguably be directly linked to the government’s pledge to bury “Freedom of Movement in Britain” and their anti-immigration stance of our self-declared “pedigree Anglican” Conservative Home Secretary Priti Patel. She remains stoic-like in her pure dedication to ensuring that all EU elements of culture such as Bono’s glasses, Zebra-like French mimes and the ever growing, heavily conditioned locks of Spaniard Raphael Nadal, would never set foot and roam on this sacred soil again unchecked, and vitally, untaxed. It is as if they either were unaware of, or simply just disregarded, the consequences that mean UK musicians now need 27 individual visas and equipment permits to exhibit our proud cultural value, within our nearest neighbouring countries. 

The Conservatives’ contempt for the arts is shameless and clearly ideologically engrained. This being one of many insults levelled following Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s comments urging creatives ‘to retrain’ as our industry was deemed ‘not economically viable’. Do not stand by and watch the torturous castration of the music industry you love and sign the petition below to voice your support for the freedom of movement for touring artists. UK Gov Petition Link: “Seek Europe-wide Visa-free work permit for Touring professionals and Artists”

To find more Current features, click here.