We’re just a few days into Brexit and already the UK and EU are clashing over a trade deal that Boris Johnson said would be easily tied up in less than 12 months following the UK leaving the European Union on 31st January 2020. An historic triumph for some, a devastating blow for many others. The EU has said in order for the UK to secure a free trade deal with the block, the UK must agree to certain EU laws, whereas the Tories say this defeats the object of Brexit in the first place. Throughout the vast majority of discussions with the EU, and British MP’s alike, the future of musicians, or the arts, has barely been uttered amongst the walls of Westminster, so where does that leave touring musicians after the 2020 transition period? Well, at the moment, it leaves most of them with an amp short of a kettle lead.

we want to cover road crew, technicians and all the other staff necessary
- Stephen Doughty MP

One MP has been fighting for the right for UK musicians to continue touring the EU - and vice versa - with the aid of a musicians passport that would initially last up to 2 years before it would need to be renewed. Stephen Doughty MP has been serving Cardiff South and Penarth since 2012 and in December 2019 he tabled a motion for the government to consider working with the EU on a musicians passport that would not only cover musicians but also anyone involved with the tour. “We want to get rid of the need for carnets and other permits, and, of course, we want to cover road crew, technicians and all the other staff necessary for musicians to do their job,” Doughty said.

During the transition period “Visa rules for artists performing in the EU will not change until the implementation period ends in December 2020. It’s absolutely essential that free movement for artists is protected post-2020,” said Culture Minister Nigel Adams. However, the current government doesn’t exactly have a love affair with the arts. With grassroots venues closing up and down the UK due to increased business rates and property development, the government rarely steps in to help the independent music scene. Not to mention the fact that it’s estimated the UK will lose up to £345M in EU local arts funding, which will no doubt see even more creative communities suffer.

The official tabled motion read as follows: “That this House recognises the importance of the music industry to our economy and the work, talent and expertise of musicians from all four nations of the United Kingdom; acknowledges that musicians rely on touring and performing in the other 27 nations of the European Union to make a living; appreciates that touring can mean visits to multiple countries, often crossing borders on a daily basis with very little notice; supports calls for visa and customs rules post-Brexit that account for this unique of working; expresses support for, and solidarity with, the Musicians’ Union and its members; and pledges support for an EU- wide live music touring passport that will last a minimum of two years, is free or at least affordable, covers all member states of the European Union, annuls the need for carnets and other permits and covers road crew and technicians.”

The reality of the situation though is this issues will be very far down the list of trade negotiations as far as the Tories are concerned, so don’t hold your breath.

Author Bio: AC Speed

Senior Editor

I started my career as a music journalist in 2013 and have been involved in the music industry as a touring musician, studio engineer and artist consultant since 2002, as well as previously being a signed artist. My passion for delivering high quality, informative music-related news is a daily driving force behind the content I create. Also a huge gaming nerd! Born in the United Kingdom and currently living in Sweden. Skål!


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