Twice affected by Brexit and Covid, British touring musicians


Representatives of the industry warn that the future of European touring is at risk unless red tape for artists is removed.

According to industry leaders and artists calling for improvements to the trade agreement with the EU, British musicians are being struck by a’ double whammy’ of Covid 19 limitations and expensive post-Brexit red tape that could decimate European touring.

Post-Brexit, British musicians who want to perform in Europe now have to get work permits on a tour of each country and face extra red tape when it comes to transporting equipment and crew.

Naomi Pohl, assistant general secretary of the musicians’ union, said that when touring with larger classical groups, work permits would be a specific issue. “You’re talking about 70 musicians who need work permits when you’re working with an orchestra.

So it’s a big issue,’ she said.

There have also been high-profile online petitions calling on the government, with supporters including Dawn French, KT Tunstall, Ronan Keating and Gary Kemp, to negotiate a free cultural work permit for British artists in the EU.

Pohl notes that there are also several other uncertain points in the new deal, such as whether musicians from other parts of the UK would need a carnet, also known as a ‘goods pass’ for instruments. A trip to Northern Ireland.

Kathryn McDowell, CEO of the London Symphony Orchestra, which organizes more than 120 concerts in a typical year for a group that performs, said the new agreement ensures that British orchestras will reduce the number of European countries they tour in order to reduce administrative costs.

“She said, “I imagine that the actual approach to what we do in continental Europe will have to change. For longer periods of time, we might go to locations.

But that’s a lot of paperwork when you do a week-long residency.
All overseas tours brought in £ 14.4 million in income for orchestras in 2019, according to a survey by the Association of British Orchestras.

Tours to EU countries produced more than half of that, with Europe being the most visited region for British orchestras, accounting for three-quarters of international performances.

The City of London Sinfonia’s Managing Director, Matthew Swann, said a new financial strain was emerging for smaller ensembles trying to introduce European artists to the UK. It has always been hard to recruit someone on very short notice, but I think it’s going to be even more complicated now,”Hiring someone on very short notice has often been difficult, but I think now it’s going to be even more complicated,”

Other musicians who will be hit hard include freelance orchestral artists who may have taken on strange jobs in the EU, and touring bands, especially those who use international gigs to create a fan base at the beginning of their careers.

Black Land, New Road is a band that is going to release its debut album in February. The group’s saxophonist, Lewis Evans, said that before Brexit, touring Europe as a seven-piece band formed the band and put it in a position to be signed.

He shared fear that the logistical burden will not be able to be met by organizations doing the same thing in the future. We’re in a lucky place, but in terms of their careers, the bands who are maybe a year behind us, that’s the most heartbreaking thing.

These are the people who have too much to say and are not going to be able to do it,’ he said.

The loss of the European gigs will be a huge financial blow, Stephanie Phillips of the punk trio Big Joanie said. We were getting quite a few offers from different European festivals before Covid-19, and now we just don’t know how that’s going to work out,”Before Covid-19 we were getting quite a few offers from different festivals in Europe, now we don’t really know how that’s going to work out,”

“Also, why would they book a British band when they can just book someone much easier and much cheaper from a European country? It doesn’t really make sense.”
The U.K. said the Department for Digital Media, Entertainment and Sport They proposed a “more ambitious agreement with the EU” on the temporary movement of business travellers, including musicians, but their ideas were not approved.

We acknowledge that some additional processes may exist for those employed in the creative industries, but we have ensured that longer-term business travel visa application processes are clear to provide certainty and clarification,”We recognize that there may be some additional processes for those working in the creative industries, but we have ensured that visa application processes for longer-term business travel will be transparent to provide certainty and clarity,”


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