The Department of Culture, Media & Sport yesterday revealed that touring musicians will be allowed short term visas without work permits. The visas will cover 19 EU countries and will allow performers access to their audiences on the continent. Talks are also ongoing with the remaining EU countries.
However, Elton John, who has been critical of the government’s post-Brexit touring rules in the past, has criticised the announcement, describing it as a “rehash of what we already know”.
In a Twitter post, Elton John described how his excitement for The Department of Culture, Media & Sport’s announcement had “quickly turned to disappointment” when he realised few changes had actually been implemented. He wrote: “There needs to be far more clarity on exactly what progress has been made. There is a small window of opportunity to get this right to ensure the next generation of musicians and emerging artists have the ability to tour. Speed is of the utmost importance. We need to sustain momentum to enforce change.”
John made his concern for the future of Britain’s musical talent clear, arguing that: “There must be solutions, short and long term, or we risk losing future generations of world-beating talent.”
But it’s not just Elton John who has a bone to pick with the UK government. Ian Smith of the #CarryOnTouring campaign has also criticised the details of the announcement, stating: “Yes, we have visa and permit free work in 19 countries – however, what has not been said is that those free periods range from seven days in any one year to 14-30 days to 90 days, all with different reporting requirements,” he explained. “This means reporting said work to either the border police or local authorities prior to entering to work.”
Elton John has been committed to securing effective touring rights for musicians for some time now. Back in July, John and his husband took part in a virtual meeting with EU representatives to argue the importance of free movement and visa-free arrangements for artists. The couple stated that they would: “continue to fight for all artists, especially those at the start of their career, who are losing out because of the gaping holes in the UK Government’s disastrous trade agreement with Europe”.