Brexit: The Chemical Brothers, Blur and Radiohead urge government to help musicians tour the EU
Written by Hitmix News on 23 June 2021
The Chemical Brothers, Blur, Primal Scream and Radiohead are among the artists urging the government to make it easier for British musicians to tour in the European Union post-Brexit.
The musicians warn that UK acts face “insurmountable financial and logistical barriers” following the UK’s departure from the EU and call on ministers to “save” EU touring.
It comes after new post-Brexit rules which came into force at the beginning of 2021 mean that artists are not guaranteed visa-free travel in the EU.
Image: Artists say extra costs required for them to travel to the EU post-Brexit should be scrapped
Many have joined forces as part of the #LetTheMusicMove campaign which urges the government to end the additional costs and “bureaucracy” which they say stands between them being able to tour across Europe.
Primal Scream bassist Simon Butler said touring the EU at present is “financially and logistically unrealistic” for UK acts.
“It’s essential that bands, artists, musicians and DJs can travel Europe at every level of their career,” he said.
“Europe is part of the geographic working space.
“To make it financially and logistically unrealistic to do shows and festivals will be halting the livelihoods and careers of generations of musicians.”
Another supporter of the campaign, rock band Skunk Anansie, urged immediate action from officials.
Image: Artists are calling on Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to ‘save’ their industry
“EU touring and the need to get the right process in place for simple and economical access to Europe is crucial at this time more than ever,” they said in a statement.
“It is the life blood of bands and artists, not just financially, but to expand their fanbases and deliver their art to a wider audience and the home of many bands to hone their crafts.
“Especially now, after the extreme financial impact of the pandemic, this touring can, and will be, the lifesaver for many bands, artists, and crews.
“We need action, we need support, and we need access.”
Scottish singer-songwriter Annie Lennox has also backed the campaign along with Blur’s drummer David Rowntree.
Mr Rowntree, now a Labour councillor, previously warned there is “a real problem brewing for touring musicians”.
Image: Artists are no longer guaranteed visa-free travel to EU countries
He told Sky News: “A lot of people who had plans to tour Europe will find they can’t. The next generation of bands who are already living hand-to-mouth are going to find that writing and recording and releasing music isn’t viable because they can’t do enough touring to support it.”
The government has come under increasing fire for failing to reach an agreement that would allow musicians and performing artists to work and travel freely in the EU after Brexit.
A petition demanding paperwork-free travel was debated in parliament in February after attracting more than 280,000 signatures.
In January, more than 100 artists and creatives including Sir Elton John, Liam Gallagher and Glastonbury co-organiser Emily Eavis signed a protest letter with similar demands.
Live music contributed £1.3bn to the economy in 2019 and £86m in exports, according to industry group UK Music.
The organisation says 845,000 overseas music fans visited the UK that year, and 45,633 jobs were sustained by music tourism.
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Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood said the government needs to ‘put things in place to help UK artists’ with post-Brexit touring, adding that it is a ‘massive source of taxable revenue’ for a lot of hospitals in the UK.
Music touring relies on artists and crews being able to travel between many countries in a short space of time.
Brexit brought an end to free movement for Britons in Europe, adding huge costs, paperwork and work permits to tours in many of the 27 member states.
The UK government and Brussels blame each other for failing to resolve the issue, each saying the other side rejected its proposals.