Help Musicians to provide new funding, advice and services for touring artists affected by Brexit

The charity is aiming to help those artists whose touring plans are being affected by "the excessive red tape of the Brexit deal"

Help Musicians has announced details of a new fund which will help realise UK artists’ domestic, international touring and live performance plans.

The financial support has been set up in response to the much-criticised Brexit deal – which, former minister David Frost recently admitted, presents “a whole set of problems” for touring musicians and their crew – and to help reset the live music industry following the COVID-19-enforced shutdown of recent years.

Help Musicians has today (March 29) announced that it will be providing £250,000 in financial support for touring musicians, with artists eligible to receive up to £5,000 each towards “their plans to drive their careers forward and propel their forthcoming releases”.

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The financial support is expected to help cover touring expenses, session musician and crew fees, PR and marketing, merchandise, a proportion of international administration fees (such as visas and carnets) and more.

Help Musicians is also seeking to provide advice to musicians by funding 30-minute consultations with Viva La Visa, a service pioneered by the Incorporated Society of Musicians and The Musicians’ Union.

“Through this support, the charity aims to help musicians re-build their careers post-restrictions and provide practical advice to musicians wishing to tour,” a press release further explains. “The service will help them better understand the complex requirements from working/traveling abroad, and mitigate against the financial risks now associated with touring, especially in Europe. Calls can cover the likes of visas, work permits, carnets, customs regulations, rules relating to movement and more.”

Help Musicians say that they are committed to supporting the touring advice service for the next 18 months, “with the hope that, in the meantime, the government will negotiate better touring arrangements with all of the EU, as Lord Frost has now said they should do”.

You can find out more about Help Musicians’ new funding announcement here.

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James Ainscough, Chief Executive at Help Musicians, said in a statement: “It is vital that musicians start touring again, at home and abroad, to get back to live performance, grow their fanbase and earn much-needed income. Tours are costly and risky, so our £250k will support musicians who are ready to take the plunge and drive their careers forward.

“In addition, musicians now need extra support to arrange international tours because post-Brexit there is much complexity which can lead to career-ending consequences if the admin is not done right. Widening access to Viva La Visa’s service empowers musicians to make well-informed choices which should reduce risk, improve decision-making and increase confidence to tour internationally.

“I am very grateful to The ISM and The MU for allowing us to open up this service beyond their memberships – it demonstrates their commitment to see all musicians thrive. My plea to the government is to use the 18 months of cover that this service provides to negotiate and put in place all that is needed to ensure friction-free touring for musicians in the EU. The UK’s musicians have always been brilliant global ambassadors for our country and they deserve the easiest possible access to the global stage.”

Back in January, Jacob Rees-Mogg defended the government’s Brexit approach towards musicians while adding that he had never read NME.

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