The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 4 June 2019
Visa Summit - The Scottish government has announced its intention to hold a summit exploring concerns around the visa difficulties faced by foreign artists performing at cultural events including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
The announcement of an “international festivals visa summit” came from cabinet secretary Fiona Hyslop during a debate at Holyrood on the impact of the UK government’s hard-line visa controls on Edinburgh’s festivals. Hyslop has responsibility for both culture and external affairs, including immigration. She said: “The current visa application processes for visitors coming to Scotland for international events is lengthy, complex and costly, with attendees sometimes spending thousands of pounds on visas and associated costs for a visit that might only last a few days.”
The debate was led by MSP Gordon MacDonald, who earlier this week warned that a “hostile immigration policy” in the UK was putting festivals such as the fringe at risk by forcing artists to cancel appearances if they could not obtain visas.
During the debate, several instances were given of the difficulties artists face in attempting to secure visas, despite Edinburgh’s festivals having so-called “permit-free” status, meaning individuals do not need to apply for a work permit to perform.
Noting the forthcoming government white paper on immigration, Hyslop said: “A better solution for visiting artists, performers and others must be integral to any future immigration system. That is particularly important if freedom of movement is to end and the UK leaves the EU, and European visitors are made to comply with the Home Office’s increasingly burdensome and complex rules.”
Noises Off - A band criticised for calling on members of the Conservative Party to be killed have had their Glastonbury Festival booking cancelled. Killdren were invited to appear at Glastonbury's Shangri-Hell International TV stage on 28 June. One of their songs is called Kill Tory Scum - which the Jo Cox Foundation said has "completely abhorrent" language.
In a statement, Shangri-La said it was "incredibly saddened" at the attention the Killdren booking received. It added: "We in no way condone violence and will not allow this matter to overshadow the incredibly inclusive spirit of Glastonbury. As a result we have taken the decision to withdraw the booking.”
Korean Rock - BTS have made history by becoming the first South Korean group to headline Wembley Stadium. The boy band blasted through 24 songs on Saturday, assisted by quirky props, glitter cannons, jet sprays and 60,000 fans screaming their approval. The septet, who said they "grew up watching videos of Live Aid," even paid tribute to Freddie Mercury. "You guys always had the greatest artists, historically, in the music industry - The Beatles, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Adele. We don't even have to make a list," declared group member Kim Nam-joon.
The gig was the first of two sold-out nights at the stadium. It capped off a successful year for the band, who topped the UK album charts in April with Map Of The Soul: Persona, played Saturday Night Live and Britain's Got Talent, and scored their biggest hit single to date when Boy With Luv entered the UK top 20.
(Jim Evans)
4 June 2019

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