The British music industry wants the government of Prime Minister Johnson to come up with money, because going on tour in Europe has become much more expensive due to Brexit. Since January 1, the industry has been facing a lot of costs when performing in the EU, say more than 200 artists, including Radiohead, Katie Melua and Annie Lennox, on the website letthemusicmove.org.
“Performing in Europe with your van and your gear is an essential starting point for the careers of many British artists,” says Mark Knopfler, best known for Dire Straits. “Without immediate government action against the barriers, an entire generation of musicians will not be able to begin or continue touring careers.”
An estimated 30,000 Britons earn their living through live performances. About 80 percent of tour buses in Europe are registered in the United Kingdom.
Costs that the artists and their managers face include those for visas and work permits. This leads to fewer performances, with all that entails for artists and support staff. A temporary support package helps to cushion the blow, the artists say, but more needs to be done.
It is preferable to make new agreements with the EU. Failing that, the UK government will have to make separate arrangements with the countries that have the most expensive visas and work permits or the most restrictive ones.
In addition, British trucks carrying technicians and equipment for performances must be able to travel freely across the EU. Conversely, these types of trucks and foreign performers should be allowed into the UK without restrictions.
The British Ministry of Culture told the BBC that British artists in 17 EU countries, including France, Germany and the Netherlands, do not need a visa or work permit. But according to entertainment union Bectu, there are still “various” forms of bureaucracy that artists face.
Labor councilor and Blur drummer Dave Rowntree told the BBC that the government had assured it before leaving the EU that it would solve it. “They didn’t.”
When Brexit was a fact, the industry again turned to the Johnson administration. “Boris said, ‘Don’t worry, I’m just as worried as you, I’ll fix it’. The fishermen got £27 million. We were going to get something like that. We got nothing.”