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​Government criticised for lack of clarity on post-Brexit touring

The government is being urged to make “immediate, decisive action” in “critical” situation

  • Gemma Ross
  • 20 May 2021
​Government criticised for lack of clarity on post-Brexit touring

More than five months since the Brexit deal was agreed, the government has been scrutinised over the lack of clarity given to those working in the music industry which has now put many in a “critical” position.

The criticism came ahead of this week’s UK/EU #CarryOnTouring summit where the concerns over post-Brexit touring will be discussed. The government have yet to give an indication on how touring will look in the coming months for musicians, which could put many UK jobs in danger.

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A study this week showed that 94% of people working in the music industry have been negatively affected by Brexit. The deal has restricted touring musicians from freely working in the EU, now having to navigate a new complex system of migration and visa requirements.

The #CarryOnTouring Day Of Action summit will take place online today, May 20. According to the official description, the event will be held in a bid to “to demonstrate support for creative touring professionals and artists,” and to “call on the UK Government and EU representatives to get a deal done that supports real people, real lives and real jobs."

CEO of Featured Artists Coalition, David Martin, told NME that despite the ongoing discussions between government officials, including the Prime Minister, “warm words won’t save artists’ careers or other music businesses.”

Earlier this week, Boris Johnson gave indication that artists would be able to tour ‘visa-free’ in 17 of the 27 European countries, but no more light has been shed on the situation since the deal was struck in January.

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The deal has been said to negatively affect artists not just in the UK, but also across Europe. To continue bringing “pleasure to millions” with live music, the summit will go ahead in hopes of a better outcome for the music industry.

The original petition was penned by Tim Brennan, a freelance video technician who called for visa-free musician and crew passports after Brexit. The petition received over 280,000 signatures from people all over the UK, but was later rejected by the government.

Speaking to NME, Brennan said: “We’re no wiser now than we were in January. I think there are things afoot and forms of discussion between industry bodies and the government, but I don’t really feel like there have been any major steps forward with regards to the EU. Every time we ask for progress, it’s just like a broken record. It doesn’t inspire me.

“Time is marching on. It’s fine to sit and discuss this, but if it wasn’t for the COVID nightmare we wouldn’t have been able to do any work anyway. We still don’t know what we’re doing.”

David Martin added to NME: “Government must take immediate, decisive action by providing a financial, tour support package and must fulfil their promises by rapidly agreeing more sustainable, long-term solutions.”

Register to attend the #CarryOnTouring Day Of Action summit here.

Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

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