Brexit: Visa-Free Travel for Artists Saga Continues

Brexit: Visa-Free Travel for Artists Saga Continues

In recent months, the British government has come under heavy fire from high-profile artists and prominent producers across the music industry. 

Without an agreement allowing performers to tour visa-free in the EU, live performances will be a “struggle” even for established UK bands. When the UK was part of the EU, entering Europe was straightforward. However, things changed post-Brexit, making travel between events a lot harder and costly.

Concerns about obstacles to UK performers and crews travelling to and performing in Europe and vice versa are increasing, with the live shows and foreign travel now on the horizon after being on hold during the pandemic.

Demands for Visa-Free Access

A signed letter from notable icons in the music industry has accused the British government of causing ‘chaos and confusion’ after its Brexit deal with the EU failed to secure the necessary provisions for musicians, creatives and their crews to tour, perform and work across Europe without incurring huge additional costs.

The letter was organised by the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), and the signatories include the British Fashion Council, the Association of British Orchestras, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society and Shakespeare’s Globe theatre.

The creative industries generate £111bn for the UK economy every year and “add hugely to the UK’s profile and soft power”, they said.

According to reports, a meeting has been scheduled for June 2021 where the UK’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee is set to question Cabinet Office Minister Lord Frost over the UK government’s failure to secure visa-free travel and Europe-wide work permits for UK musicians and their touring crew post-Brexit.

The DCMS committee will question Lord Frost in June about what the government is doing to avoid ‘irreparable damage’ that is being caused to the performing arts sector and related businesses.

A press release issued by the DCMS confirmed that MPs on the Committee will be searching for answers on why, as it has been widely reported, the government was seemingly ‘content to allow the entire music industry to suffer when the EU refused to accept the opening offer’.

A similar petition started at the beginning of March also demanded visa-free access to the EU for British athletes.

On-going Saga

The issue of visa-free touring for British musicians across Europe has been an ongoing saga, which intensified after it was revealed that no deal had been struck as part of the UK’s Brexit agreement with the EU.

Both the UK and the EU have vehemently denied being responsible for failing to find a solution. Meanwhile, those involved in the music industry have continued to apply pressure on the government to find a resolution or risk doing severe harm to the future of British music.

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What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you agree with exempting the creative industry from visa requirements post-Brexit? Talk to us in the comment section below.

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