Radiohead, New Order and other artists call for overhaul of post-Brexit touring rules | Music
British musical groups including Radiohead, the Chemical Brothers, Biffy Clyro and Annie Lennox are calling on the UK government to offer financial support to help artists tour the EU after Brexit.
The terms of the Brexit deal mean that performers of all kinds must now have a work permit to earn money from concerts in EU countries, and have a ‘notebook’ which allows the transport of goods such as musical instruments across borders.
UK registered passenger vehicles can now only make three stops in the EU before returning home, making hop-on hop-off tours unviable. Previously, UK businesses and artists could make money across the EU without hindrance.
Supporting the new Let the Music Move initiative, over 200 artists want the UK government to ‘do more to support the future of the music industry and mitigate the Brexit impacts of restrictions, costs and delays on European tours “. Other supporting musicians include New Order, Little Mix, Niall Horan, Wolf Alice, Idles, Kano, Peggy Seeger, and Nitin Sawhney.
Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits said: “Taking a van with your gear and performing across Europe is an essential start for the careers of many British musicians. Without immediate government action to remove the bureaucratic barriers put in place since January 1, a whole generation of musicians simply will not be able to start or continue their touring careers.
Skin, of Skunk Anansie, said: “After the extreme financial impact of the pandemic, [EU] tours can and will be a lifeline for many bands, artists and teams.
In addition to a short-term “transitional support package” to help artists fund the expenses of the new paperwork, the initiative calls for a renegotiation of tours, or at least new bilateral agreements with each country that will reduce costs and paperwork.
Earlier this month, the UK government trumpeted a new deal that allows unhindered touring in Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, something that has been looked down upon by many in the music industry. “The Icelandic population is roughly the same as Wigan’s,” Charlatans leader Tim Burgess said. “Liechtenstein has a similar number of inhabitants to Wilmslow. If it weren’t tragic, it would be funny.
A spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) said it “recognizes the challenges the sector still faces” and “works closely with member states to encourage them to adopt a more flexible approach “.
On June 29, Brexit negotiator Lord Frost is due to testify before a DCMS commission hearing on the government’s failure to negotiate visa-free work for British artists. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden previously said that during Brexit negotiations the EU rejected a “mutually beneficial deal that would have allowed performers to continue working and performing across the continent without the need for a work permit “, a claim disputed by the EU.
In May, Elton John met Frost, and later said on Instagram: “During our meeting Lord Frost said that trying to fix this problem was a long process. Unfortunately, our industry does not have the time. It is dying… we are in grave danger of losing a generation of talent right now to the gaping holes in the government’s trade deal.