Radiohead, Elton John, Sting, & Other UK Musicians Sign Open Letter About Post-Brexit Touring Woes
Brexit has changed the UK’s relationship to the rest of the world in many ways. Here’s one: It’s a lot harder for UK musicians to tour Europe now that they’re no longer part of the EU. This has not gone unnoticed by the country’s superstar musicians, quite a few of whom have signed a new open letter condemning the government’s alleged failures in this area and urging UK leaders to come to an agreement with the EU regarding touring visas.
Although the letter was published in The Times behind a paywall, the BBC reports that it was signed by 110 musical artists including UK royalty such as Elton John, Sting, Radiohead, Ed Sheeran, Liam Gallagher, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Kim Wilde, Roger Daltrey, Glastonbury organizers Michael and Emily Eavis, and Judith Weir, Master of the Queen’s Music. It was organized by the Society of Musicians and the Liberal Democrats.
The core of the letter’s complaint is that touring Europe has become prohibitively expensive for many performers due to the various permits needed. “The reality is that British musicians, dancers, actors and their support staff have been shamefully failed by their government,” the letter reads. “The deal done with the EU has a gaping hole where the promised free movement for musicians should be. Everyone on a European music tour will now need costly work permits for many countries they visit and a mountain of paperwork for their equipment.”
The EU rejected one proposal from the UK government on this issue and submitted an alternative proposal that has in turn been rejected by UK leaders. Per the BBC, UK culture minister Caroline Dinenage said earlier this week that the EU’s “very broad” offer “would not have been compatible with the government’s manifesto commitment to take back control of our borders,” but “the door is open” if the EU wants to reconsider the UK plan.