Visa-free touring granted for UK artists in 19 EU countries including France, Germany, and Italy

Image credit: ActionVance

After pressure from musicians and those in the live music industry the Government has negotiated a deal to allow for short-term visa free tours for UK musicians.

The UK government has announced that visa-free touring has been secured for UK artists in 19 EU member countries, including France, Germany, and Italy. 

The past seven months have seen loud criticism in the handling of visas for musicians and logistics for touring for UK artists post-Brexit. Artists such as Elton John, Roger Daltry (who was initially very vocally pro-Brexit), and more called upon the UK government to negotiate a better deal for touring artists. Other artists such as IDLES, Wolf Alice, Poppy Ajudha, and Radiohead joined the #LetTheMusicMove campaign which called upon the government to take action to resolve the ‘No Deal’ that has landed upon British music.

The fear was that the new rules and red tape would lead to musicians and crew facing exponential costs when touring mainland Europe. Not to mention making it impossible for emerging and independent musicians to do so, who already struggle to fund their passion. The UK government was accused of treating the £6 billion music sector with disdain whilst it focused on the £1.2 billion fishing industry during Brexit talks. 

However, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has announced that visa-free travel will be allowed for musicians and performers in 19 European countries, with talks ongoing with the remaining nations. 

A DCMS spokesperson said about the agreements: “We, as government, have spoken to every EU Member State about the issues facing our creative and cultural industries when looking to tour in Europe.” Adding: “From these discussions, 19 Member States have confirmed UK musicians and performers do not need visas or work permits for short-term tours. These countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Sweden.”

They continue: “We are now actively engaging with the remaining EU Member States that do not allow visa and permit free touring and calling on them to align their arrangements with the UK’s generous rules, which allow touring performers and support staff to come to the UK for up to three months without a visa. Formal approaches via officials and DCMS Ministers have been made to Spain, Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Bulgaria, Romania, Malta, and Cyprus. We are also working with the sector to amplify each other’s lobbying efforts.”

Although this is positive news it still doesn’t resolve the financial cost that roadies and crew will incur nor carnets, which is the transportation of instruments and equipment. Each EU member state can have its own charge not to mention the paperwork, it will be a laborious and in some cases a costly task. As we have already mentioned, this will be incredibly damaging to the emerging music scene, of which many find themselves touring the EU. 

Music journalist and photojournalist based in Cornwall.

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