With the potential of another festival-free summer looming, Brexit has thrown yet another spanner in the works, prompting uncertainty over touring visas for UK musicians and crew. As the pressure mounts on the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to resolve the issue, there’s every chance that we could bear witness to a dramatic decline in some of our favourite artists, music producers and entertainers performing on international stages in Europe and the United States.
Just days ago, musicians had shared their anger towards the UK Government, as it was reported to have rejected a “visa-free” touring deal as part of Brexit negotiations. Amid fresh reports that say the UK government calls the claims ‘misleading speculation’, the Association of Independent Music has called for the two sides “to speedily return to the negotiating table”.
So what is the main issue? With free movement having been stopped at the end of last year, as a deal was reached in the Brexit ordeal between the UK and the EU, UK musicians and crews will need a visa for stays of longer than 90 days in a 180-day period. According to the Incorporated Society of Musicians, certain EU countries will also require additional work permits on arrival and further permits may be required.
It’s an unprecedented time for the music industry and all those involved – which is still at that mercy of the current pandemic. To take touring away from musicians is like taking away the very essence of why we love music. Touring makes up a huge portion of an artist’s life and the lion’s share of the industry’s revenues. Without it, the music industry as we know it may possess a different landscape altogether. Be sure to check back in as we keep you up to date with the visa dilemma. Here’s to a booming-festival summer this year.