Music stars, including Elton John, Sting, Bob Geldof and Ed Sheeran, said last week that the UK government “shamefully failed” creatives with its post-Brexit trade deal and urged it to reach an agreement with the European Union to ensure visa-and bureaucracy-free tours.
The letter, published in The Times and backed by Sting, prominent Brexiteer Roger Daltrey, Liam Gallagher and Queen’s Brian May, says “British musicians, dancers, actors and their support staff have been shamefully failed by their government. The deal done with the EU has a gaping hole where the promised free movement for musicians should be.”
One key concern is that under the trade pact touring musicians and their teams need separate visas for each of the 27 EU member states.
They highlighted that this leads to “extra costs” and work that would “make many tours unviable, especially for young emerging musicians who are already struggling to keep their heads above water owing to the COVID ban on live music.”
The letter adds: “This negotiating failure will tip many performers over the edge.”
It urges the Government to “do what it said it would do” and negotiate paperwork-free travel to Europe for British artists and their equipment.
The deal should be reciprocal, the letter says.
Last week a minister said “the door is open” if the EU was willing to “consider the UK’s very sensible proposals” on visa arrangements for musicians.
Culture minister Caroline Dinenage said the EU rejected the UK’s plan, but said the Government is willing to discuss the situation again.
Ms Dinenage said a 90-day visa-free travel period for musicians was not offered by the EU, contrary to previous reports.
An online petition calling for a visa-free travel cultural work permit with the EU has so far attracted more than 263,000 signatures.

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