Music organisations pen joint letter to government on “misleading” Brexit touring claims

"This announcement has done nothing to correct the misleading information from August"

A number of leading organisations in the music industry have penned an open letter to the UK government criticising “misleading” new claims about the status of post-Brexit touring in Europe.

Last week (October 19), figures from the live music industry hit back at the government for another “non-announcement” of “spin and misinformation” concerning the ability for British musicians to tour on the continent.

Back in August, the government ‘announced’ that “short term” visa-free travel without work permits will be allowed for musicians and performers in 19 European countries, while talks are ongoing with the remaining nations.

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This led to a huge backlash from the industry, who accused the government of “spin and meaningless posturing” given that these rules were already in place pre-Brexit, while no real negotiations had been made to solve the major issues. All of this is compounded by today’s report that one in three jobs in music were lost during the pandemic.

Brexit

More anger followed after another announcement, with the government claiming victory over 20 EU states after adding Romania to the list.

Reacting to this statement, the new letter, signed by the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), the Musicians’ Union, the Music Managers Forum, the Featured Artists Coalition, the Association of Independent Music, Carry on Touring and ukeartswork, calls the claims “misleading”.

Addressed to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the letter calls the statement “extremely disappointing” and adds: “This announcement has done nothing to correct the misleading information from August and, more worryingly, is being shared widely online without question or qualification.”

Read the letter in full here.

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Earlier this month, a number of figures from the music industry spoke to NME about how new visa rules, as well as prohibitive costs and admin rules, meant that many UK artists could no longer afford to tour in Spain – cutting off one of the biggest markets for UK talent.

Rising post-punk bands Squid and Black Country, New Road are among those to have recently pulled out of Spanish shows “without any hint of rescheduling their respective tours” – as promoters Primavera Sound noted.

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