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‘Fears of new bureaucracy, rules and costs have come true’: Brexit makes touring Europe ‘unviable’ for UK artists | UK news

Music industry representatives are calling on the government to do more to remove barriers preventing UK artists from touring the EU after Brexit.

Last year, the government announced it had made visa-free travel available to around 20 EU countries.

However, artists say concerts there are often too expensive, with problems such as equipment checks, lost instruments and long delays at borders leading to cancellations of tours and concerts.

It comes after the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Music last month called on the Government to appoint a special ‘Tour Czar’ to tackle the issues.

Annabella Coldrick, chief executive of the Music Managers’ Forum, told Sky News that the extra bureaucracy, especially for newer artists, made performing in the EU financially unviable.

“A lot of the things we were worried about before Brexit, around the new bureaucracy, the extra rules, the extra costs, have come to pass, despite being reassured by the government many, many times that it wasn’t going to happen.

“We would like to see some really clear guidelines. I think right now it’s so complicated to know exactly what you should do and what you shouldn’t do. And it’s so easy to trip and get fined and get in trouble and get delayed.”

The organization says that live music accounts for up to 80% of an artist’s income.

Bristol-based singer Else Bailey usually travels to around a dozen EU countries each year – and has built up a large European fanbase.

But the complications have forced her to scale back her concert plans, with one tour already canceled this year.

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“I think there’s just an enormous amount of uncertainty right now. We have to prepare to be stopped, that we will be detained,” she said.

“In the past we would go on the day of the concert and be in Antwerp on the day of the show for hours. Now we have to go a day early.

“We have to factor in the extra hotel costs by taking a band on the road for an extra day, so with that there’s extra travel and band costs.”

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The APPG for Music – which is made up of more than 100 MPs and partners – published a report which included a statement from Sir Elton John warning that less established acts could risk “staying in Dover”.

“The government had a golden opportunity to fix the problem while COVID was shutting down the tour. Although some progress has been made, this opportunity has been missed,” he said.

“The heartbeat and future of our vital industry face being stranded in Dover through no fault of their own.”

Sir Elton John performed a concert in New York after reports that his private jet had to make an emergency landing in the UK. Photo: Greg Allen/Invision/AP
Image:
Sir Elton John has warned that some artists are ‘stuck in Dover’

London-based band White Lies had to cancel the first show of their European tour in April because their truck was held up for checks in Dover.

The band’s drummer Jack Lawrence-Brown told Sky News it was a financial and emotional blow.

“It’s also difficult for our fans because many, many White Lies fans will be traveling from all over Europe to come to the first day of the European tour and even further afield,” he said.

“Before Brexit we managed to get on a tour bus and then our truck was loaded with all our gear. We would drive to Dover, straight into France, and immediately start performing without any real issues or problems.

“I think that any decisions that are made by the government going forward, they should aim to get the system as close as possible to what it was before Brexit.

Read more:
‘Every barrier in the world went up overnight’: Some groups skip UK over Brexit
Elton John warns smaller music companies are at risk of being ‘stuck in Dover’ due to Brexit red tape

The group Best for Britain – which previously campaigned against Brexit – claimed the number of British acts booked for European festivals this summer was down 45% compared to 2017-19.

In a statement, the government told Sky News: “We are supporting the UK’s brilliant musicians to adapt to the new arrangements and make touring easier, and we have made the case to every EU member state about the importance of touring.”

“Twenty-four EU member states, including the biggest touring markets such as Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands, have confirmed that they offer visa-free routes and work permits for UK artists and other creative professionals. We are continuing dialogue with those few remaining countries that do not offer visa-free routes or work permits.”

‘Fears of new bureaucracy, rules and costs have come true’: Brexit makes touring Europe ‘unviable’ for UK artists | UK news

Source link ‘Fears of new bureaucracy, rules and costs have come true’: Brexit makes touring Europe ‘unviable’ for UK artists | UK news

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