Leave-voting Bruce Dickinson criticises government over Brexit impact on musicians

The Iron Maiden frontman previously said he was "quite relaxed" about Brexit

Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson has criticised the government’s failure to strike a post-Brexit touring deal, despite being a passionate supporter of the UK’s exit from the European Union.

The government has been accused of jeopardising the future of touring for the UK artists, after the Brexit deal secured with the EU failed to negotiate visa-free travel and Europe-wide work permits for musicians and crew.

It is feared that musicians and crew will face huge costs to future live music tours of the continent – which could create a glass ceiling that prevents rising and developing talent from being able to afford to do so.

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Dickinson, who previously said he was “quite relaxed” about the UK’s departure from the bloc, has now called on the government to immediately remedy the situation.

The 62-year-old singer said: “Don’t get me started on the government’s attitude to the entertainment industry. We are probably one of the UK’s major exports. I mean … come on. And yet we’re sitting here, we can’t do anything.”

He continued” “It’s very well known that I voted for Brexit. But, you know, the idea is after you’ve done it, you then go in and be sensible about the relationship you have with people. So, at the moment, all this guff about not being able to play in Europe, and the Europeans not being able to play over here and work permits and all the rest of the rubbish — come on! You know, get your act together.”

Dickinson’s comments mark a significant contrast to his past views, having claimed that “nonsense and scare stories” were being circled.

“Iron Maiden music is global music – we have fans everywhere,” he told L’Obs. “I don’t see any problem with touring Australia – that’s not part of the EU. There’s no problem with touring in Japan – that’s not part of the EU. I don’t see any problem with touring America. Oh, let me see – that’s not part of the EU. Do those musicians have problems coming to Europe? No.”

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The musician added he thought Brexit would make the country “more flexible”, which would be advantageous to people in Europe.

Responding to Dickinson’s comments, one user wrote: “So, when he supported leave, he was only expecting it to impact other people’s lives, not his own? This seems to be a common theme…”

Former LostAlone frontman Steven Battelle added: “Bruce is a hero to me but he voted for this when the industry he is a part of has been screaming out since 2016 that this would be a disaster. I’m glad he has understood now but it would be more beneficial if he explained that he got it wrong.”

Last week, over 200 artists including Wolf AliceIDLESPoppy Ajudha, Radiohead and many other music industry bodies also came together for the new #LetTheMusicMove campaign – calling upon the UK government to urgently take action on post-Brexit touring issues.

Organised by the Featured Artists’ Coalition, the campaign is asking for the government to cover new and additional costs of touring, stop restrictions on transporting instruments and stage equipment, and a pledge that EU artists will enjoy the same freedoms.

Elton John also recently criticised the government’s lack of action, branding them “philistines”.

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