Much more greener grass across the pond
August 05, 2021

U.K. musicians allowed to tour in 19 EU member states

The U.K.’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has announced that it has negotiated short-term tours for UK musicians and performers without visas and work permits in 19 EU member states, NME reports. These countries are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden. Trade bodies and unions representing British musicians say this changes nothing, insist "short term" is undefined, adding that there is still the issue of equipment transportation, Guardian reports. Formal approaches via officials and DCMS Ministers have been made to Spain, Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Bulgaria, Romania, Malta and Cyprus. The U.K. allows touring performers and support staff to come to the U.K. for up to three months without a visa.

Elton John has warned members of the UK parliament that their national music industry could lose "a generation of talent" because of post-Brexit restrictions on touring the EU. The biggest threat stands before young musicians, John warned on his Instagram - "this gravest of situations is about the damage to the next generation of musicians and emerging artists, whose careers will stall before they've even started due to this infuriating blame game. If I had faced the financial and logistical obstacles facing young musicians now when I started out, I'd never have had the opportunity to build the foundations of my career and I very much doubt I would be where I am today".

UK artists are already turning down shows and tours in parts of Europe for later this year and early next, as they have become unviable due to increased cost and bureaucracy - CEO of the Featured Artists Coalition David Martin told NME about post-Brexit tours of British acts in the EU. John Robb of Goldblade and The Membranes says now it's "just chaos in a vacuum. If we knew what we were working with then we could either pay, work a way round it or just choose not to go. At the moment, we have no idea what the options will be”. Things might be moving in the right direction, as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Parliament that music "is a massively important part of the economy" adding "we must fix it", the "it" being current system of touring rules, NME reports.

The island is floating farther away
February 15, 2021

Visa costs for UK musician to play in Spain - £600

British pianist Joseph Middleton describes the hassle he would have to go through to play a recital in Spain: "Even though I would only spend 24 hours there, my agent would be required to work on a raft of extra paperwork, my accountant to furnish me with documents giving proof of income, and my bank would need to provide me with recent certified bank statements (no pesky home printouts here, thank you). My passport would need to be submitted to the Spanish embassy and held there until the visa was processed, causing problems for when I had to travel for other work". And it's an expensive hassle as well - £600 just for visa costs.

Over 280,000 people signed a petition calling for visa-free touring for UK bands through the EU. The campaign was also debated in the parliament, but it all ended in the UK government essentially ignoring the idea and doubling down on the EU being at fault, NME reports. The Conservative Minister for Culture Caroline Dineage did not suggest that negotiating visa-free touring was an option and repeated that “the UK pushed for ambitious arrangements” but that “quite simply the EU rejected this and there was no counter offer”.

"Like Hamburg to the Beatles, Europe was crucial to our growth as a band. It allowed us to see ourselves untethered from our UK roots and to imagine a life in music that could reach audiences everywhere" - Radiohead's Colin Greenwood wrote in Guardian about the big bureaucratic wall now erected between the UK and the EU. Elton John, also in Guardian, is worried about young bands: "I don’t want to live in a world where the only artists who can afford to tour properly are those who have been going for decades and have already sold millions of records".

Brexit means isolation
January 26, 2021

What does Brexit mean for UK and EU touring artists?

DJ Mag breaks down what the current rules post-Brexit mean for the UK-based artists touring in the EU, the EU-based artists touring in the UK, as well as for the roadies and tour-bus owners. There are also changes affecting event promoters.

This country is an island!
January 20, 2021

British musicians: The government has shamefully failed us

Benedetti / Gallagher

"British musicians, dancers, actors and their support staff have been shamefully failed by their government" - the letter signed by over 100 UK musicians sent to their government said, after the official London confirmed it had turned down an EU offer that would have enabled frictionless touring. Sir Elton John, Liam Gallagher, Sir Simon Rattle, Sting, Brian May, Radiohead, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Roger Daltrey, Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis. and Nicola Benedetti are among 110 artists who have signed the open letter. Everyone on a European music tour will now need costly work permits for many countries they visit and a mountain of paperwork for their equipment, Sky reports.

It was the UK government's choice to end visa-free touring for musicians in the EU, officials in Brussels told the BBC. The EU says that it was London who "refused" a plan that would have let musicians tour without visas. "From last March, we made fairly ambitious proposals in terms of mobility, including for specific categories such as journalists, performers, musicians and others" - the EU's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said, but the UK didn't agree on it. Since Brexit, British musicians and crews may need extra work permits to play in certain European countries such as Germany and Spain.

The channel is mora of a gap
January 13, 2021

UK culture secretary: EU turned down a tailored deal for musicians

“We sought a mutually beneficial agreement that would have allowed performers to continue working and perform across the continent without the need for work permits" - the UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden told NME about Brexit negotiations with the EU regarding work permits for musicians. However, Dowden claims "musicians, artists, entertainers and support staff would have been captured through the list of permitted activities for short-term business visitors. This was a straightforward solution for our creative industries which would have benefited all sides. But the EU turned it down, repeatedly. It did not propose and wouldn’t accept a tailored deal for musicians and artists". The Independent got unofficial information from the EU side that it was the UK who didn't agree to a special agreement for musicians.

"Isolation comes from 'insula' which means island..."
January 11, 2021

EU offered visa-free tours, UK refused

The EU offered the UK visa-free tours by British musicians to EU countries, but the UK government refused it, the liberal London paper Independent reports. A “standard” proposal to exempt performers from the huge cost and bureaucracy for 90 days was turned down, because the government is insisting on denying that to EU artists visiting this country.

I love you but I've chosen Brexit
January 07, 2021

European tours of British artists at high risk

Black Midi not going to cross the Channel anytime soon

Under the Brexit deal, British musicians planning to play in Europe will now have to secure work permits for each individual country on a tour and face further red tape when it comes to transporting equipment and crew - Guardian reports about worries of industry figures and artists after the UK has finally divorced from the EU. Work permits were going to be a particular problem when touring with larger classical groups since there could be dozens of musicians needing to get a work permit. UK artists have already been calling for the government to possibly renegotiate a free culture work permit for UK performers in the EU.

The UK government has announced that it had tried to secure better conditions for UK touring musicians during the Brexit negotiations, but the EU rejected its proposals, BBC reports. From 1 January, free movement of people between the UK and the EU will end, which means that touring musicians and their technical crews will face new rules, and could be subject to additional visa costs and paperwork. UK nationals will need a visa for stays of longer than 90 days in a 180-day period, and there will be restrictions on their activities. Spain, Italy and Denmark will require additional work permits.

Down to Dua and Ed
November 06, 2020

No Deal Brexit = no UK bands in EU

A No Deal Brexit will have a potentially "catastrophic" impact on the UK music industry because most of the British musicians would be unable to afford to tour the EU, NME reports. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that the UK should prepare for a No Deal Brexit when the transition period ends on January 1, which would mean new rules, tariffs and restrictions, making it much harder for smaller and middle-size bands to cross the channel.

Acts wishing to play in the UK post-Brexit must pay £240 for visas for each member and prove they have savings of around £1000... Where will that leave us? Just another medium-sized European market with its own internal favourites, little more important to conquer than Hungary or Montenegro but, for many foreign acts, impossible to even have a crack at. Once a world-leading hub and haven for pioneers and visionaries, reduced to an unwelcoming island of shrinking relevance - Mark, My Words predicts the future of the UK live music scene.

Musicians from EU countries will require work visas to play in the UK starting from next year, following the end of the Brexit transition period this December. The rule means that bands, DJs, solo musicians and their crews will all require Tier 5 visas in order to play gigs, festivals and club nights in the UK. It costs around £1,000 per band member from the UK/EU to obtain a visa, which takes a lot of preparation and can take months to get approved.

No club is an island
February 06, 2020

Mark, My Words: The 100 Club is saved, the UK isn't

Savages at the 100 Club

A report in 2015 revealed that the UK had lost 35 per cent of its live music venues in the previous eight years because, on its own, the venue is but a solitary minnow squaring up against a school of sharks... But when their isolated individual voices combined with the help of the Music Venues Trust, they were saved - NME's columnist Mark Beaumont writes, defeatistically, about UK's exit from the EU, and how UK's clubs were saved on the very principle of unity.

The band lost its cool guy
February 04, 2020

Brexit will be "devastating" for British bands

Extra expenses and added paperwork relating to Visas, taxation and transporting equipment and merchandise, caused by the UK's exit from the EU, will make touring Europe “completely unviable” for new and mid-level British artists. Tens of thousands have already signed a petition by the Musicians’ Union calling for a new passport that will allow acts and crew to travel freely between EU member states, ridding them of new required permits.

At the end of August at the London patron pub Amanda Palmer saw her friend Maxim play "this very hilarious song" that was written by his cabaret friend Sarah-Louise and she suggested they make a record of that song and a ridiculous video, Patreon writes. So they did and finished it (unlike Brexit itself). Proceeds […]

UK bands could be badly hit by the need for visas, carnets and documents if UK leaves the EU without an exit-agreement. Bands would face extra issues with documentation, travel and the transport and sale of goods as they go to the EU. Guardian goes into details: European health insurance cards may not be valid […]

“I’m ashamed of my country for what it has done. It’s torn people apart" Elton John said on his concert in Verona on his last ever world tour. He continued: “I’m sick to death of politicians, especially British politicians. I am sick to death of Brexit. I am a European. I am not a stupid, […]

“It is not an inviting idea … and then, yes, there will be the notion of coming to Europe and the ease of travelling from one country to the next. That is part of what makes touring possible for lots of artists,” Kamasi Washington told the Guardian about what happens with UK exiting the European […]

The whole thing about deal/no-deal Brexit is ridiculous, so why not just - sing to it, which is exactly what The Guardian did. They made a list of 50 songs about Europe, ranked, offering Ella Fitzgerald, Sex Pistols, Jacques Brel, David Bowie, Kraftwerk and more. A charming list.

From customs holding up CD and vinyl deliveries to visa issues putting roadies out of work, the UK music industry is nervous about what Brexit may bring - Guardian analyses what will UK leaving the EU mean for British musicians.

"Don’t you care about the bands that will struggle to tour Europe?” - that's the question journalists should have asked The Who's Roger Daltrey who said "as if we didn’t tour Europe before the fucking EU!”, after being asked about Brexit. "Because clearly Roger hasn’t given a second thought to the bands, roadies, tour managers […]

Acclaimed British musician, artist, producer and writer Matthew Herbert is releasing his new album, 'The State Between Us' on the 29th of March, Brexit day (which is being postponed). The album is being released under the name of the Matthew Herbert Great Britain and Gibraltar European Union Membership Referendum Big Band, and it features over […]

On the 40th anniversary of Gloria Gaynor’s 'I Will Survive' topping the charts – and as the UK blunders towards its own acrimonious divorce, The Guardian makes a list of 20 greatest breakup songs, from Gang Starr's 'Ex Girl to Next Girl' to Roy Orbison's 'It's Over'.

The organiser of Womad has said the world music festival is struggling to book artists because many fear they might have difficulties entering the country due to Brexit, Guardian reports. “Lots of artists are finding they can get to Europe but fear taking the next step to the UK, particularly if there is there is […]

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