Over 200 acts, including the likes of Radiohead, Wolf Alice and IDLES, have come together for a new campaign, #LetTheMusicMove, calling upon the Uk government to urgently take action to resolve the touring issues created by Brexit.
The governments failure to negotiate visa-free travel and European wide work permits for musicians and their support crew in their Brexit deal has caused multiple issues for the live music industry, leaving artists left facing huge costs in order to tour the continent. That risks creating an environment where only the biggest or wealthiest can afford to perform there, holding back a vital market for developing talent.
The government has previously rejected a petition calling for them to seek visa-free touring for artists and crew, despite it gathering a huge 280,000 signatures.
Five years to the day from the original referendum vote on Brexit, the new artist-led campaign is pushing for a reduction in costs and red tape faced by UK musicians and music businesses when full-scale touring in Europe resumes.
The campaign states the UK is currently the second biggest exporter of music, with Europe its most important overseas market. In 2019, UK acts played nearly four times the number of shows in the continent as they did in North America, sustaining 33,000 British jobs.
This is at risk due to regulations brought in post-Brexit, including UK touring vehicles being limited to only three stops in Europe before returning home, goods passports (or carnets) being required for instruments and equipment, and various work permit rules which make touring uneconomical.
LetTheMusicMove are calling for government to deliver:
- An urgent Transitional Support Package to cover new and additional costs for touring artists and crews in the EU
- Measures to overcome restrictive “cabotage” rules on UK vehicles touring Europe
- A viable long-term plan for UK artists and crew to continue working in all EU-27 countries, without costly permits and bureaucracy
- To ensure European artists have reciprocal freedoms and access to perform at UK venues and festivals
“EU touring and the need to get the right processes in place for simple and economical access to Europe is crucial at this time more than ever,” said Skin of Skunk Anansie, who is also supporting the campaign. “It is the lifeblood of bands and artists, not just financially, but in order to expand their fanbase and deliver their art to a wider audience.
“EU touring also opens up the windows of touring on a global scale with surrounding countries and continents, with the knock-on effect of the impact that bands and artists have that tour there. We need action, we need support, we need access, and we need it now!”
Blur drummer Dave Rowntree added:“Blur played our first gig outside the UK in Rotterdam in February 1991. We just jumped on a ferry with no restrictions for us or our gear. That August we were back in the Netherlands, followed by dates in Germany, France and then on into a full European tour.
“If we were starting out today trying to do the same, there would be a vast range of bureaucracy and costs, with different regimes in every country. We simply wouldn’t be able to afford it. The UK Government has to take this issue seriously and support touring artists. The future of British music is at stake.”
You can learn more about the #LetTheMusicMove campaign here.