Carry On Touring campaign gathers momentum
Tuesday, 9 February 2021
petitionThe campaign is seeking visa free travel throughout the 27 EU states
UK - Artists including Sir Elton John and Radiohead are putting pressure on the government to resolve the problems around post-Brexit EU touring. UK artists will face red tape and fees for visas to play in some EU countries.
Sir Elton John told The Guardian: "Either the Brexit negotiators didn't care about musicians, or didn't think about them, or weren't prepared."
But Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage said the government had "pushed" for a solution and the door was still "open". She told MPs on Monday that the government had put forward a "very straightforward" plan to allow musicians to travel without work permits, drafted "in consultation with experts from the UK to creative sectors". She added: "Quite simply the EU rejected this proposal."
Brussels has previously argued the opposite, saying it was in fact the UK that turned down its offer.
Meanwhile, a growing number of MPs and Peers are rallying behind Tim Brennan’s petition and call for visa free travel for touring artists and professionals
Brennan’s Carry on Touring campaign seeks to secure free EU movement for touring artists and professionals. Carry on Touring is calling on the Prime Minister and the UK Government to take action and re-open negotiations.
Tim’s petition which has almost 300,000 signatures. asks the UK Government to negotiate a free cultural work permit to allow touring professionals visa free travel throughout the 27 EU states and to secure a Carnet exception for touring equipment.
“Support for my petition has been phenomenal,” says Brennan. “Freelancers and touring professionals like myself desperately need MPs and the Government to fight our corner and re-negotiate the current Brexit deal for this industry. This is an issue that has a huge impact on my life and my ability to earn and pay tax through my work in an industry that brings pleasure to millions of people.”
Gill Morris, campaign co-ordinator said: “Clearly, Tim’s petition has chimed a chord with the public and the many UK artists and professionals who tour in the cities and nations across Europe. To put it simply, failure to include an EU-wide cultural work permit and visa free travel for touring professionals and artists will have a catastrophic effect across all touring art forms.”
Carry on Touring wants to see the Government to go back to the negotiation table and secure reciprocal arrangements for specified work between the EU and the UK. It says this could be established through a similar system to ETIAS which the EU will bring into place on the 1st of January next year.
The campaign also calls for Government to ensure that complicated and costly carnets will not be required for portable musical instruments, and that systems are put in place also to provide grant support for the additional costs of Carnets that may be incurred by bands, groups of musicians and touring professionals travelling together.
Tracy Brabin, Shadow Culture Minister and Labour’s candidate for West Yorkshire Mayor said: “Our music and creative industries have had a terrible time due to the Coronavirus pandemic and really the last thing they need are these restrictions and red tape on their ability to tour.
“The Government must get back around the table with EU and find a solution to this problem urgently. If musicians and creatives cannot tour Europe easily there will be a significant cultural as well as economic hit which we must avoid. The time for posturing is over, let’s back our creatives.”

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