Musicians Touring EU visa

Musicians and orchestras have been unfairly overlooked in the conclusion of the Brexit deal

It’s emerged that, as part of the Brexit Deal talks, both the UK and the EU caved into time pressure and left open how to handle musicians touring in the UK. The two “sides” failed to agree on the truth of the negotiations, let alone a resolution. Now it is time to resolve this.

The EU claim the UK turned down an offer for UK Musicians to have the same deal that American musicians (and for that matter musicians from the rest of the world) enjoy. That is 90 days visa free work in the EU. The UK has a different story. Frankly the Time Party is bored of this “it wasn’t me” debate. This is not about politics, it’s about people’s lives.

It’s time to act to resolve this problem, which directly impacts the livelihoods of bands. It’s not about entertainment, even though we all know how important that is after months of lockdown. It’s about allowing people to earn a living and follow their passions.

It’ll be OK for big bands like Roger Daltrey’s The Who but the music business is very much a DIY business now, very different to how it was before we entered the EU when bands were signed to record companies who sorted out red tape for them.

Without a visa free deal it is almost impossible to make concert tours. The cost of visas can be high, but it’s the uncertainty which is the killer. With all the knock-on effects on logistics and equipment preparation and shipping.

Imagine multiplying the issue 12 times when musicians have to apply for visas directly in each EU Country they want to play in, which is what the UK Government are saying they need to do now.

Musicians' most important markets are in the EU because the quality of the markets, logistics and costs of playing there make sense.

There is also the cost of “carnets” to cover equipment, they must pay VAT on Merchandise (records, T Shirts etc) when they “export” them at the border even if we don’t sell them and have to bring them back.

On transport, they probably have to change to an EU transport companies mid-way during a tour.

It’s a nonsense which, now the time pressure is over of finalising this with other aspects of Brexit, which must be rectified.

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