Many music industry figureheads have called out the government’s recent “non-announcement” and accused them of “spin and misinformation” regarding the travel laws put in place after Brexit, meaning that many artists and musicians cannot tour on the continent.
When promoting his new collaborative album ‘The Lockdown Sessions’, Elton John criticised the government’s handling of the arts within the Brexit deal, saying: “As an artist, you learn your craft by playing live. I started out going to Europe; you’re in a different culture, which makes you a little fearful, but you embrace the culture, and the culture embraces you.”
He added: “[The current situation] is OK for Ed Sheeran and me, or The Rolling Stones – people that can actually afford to do this stuff. But for younger artists, it’s a crushing thing. We’re still trying to solve this problem; it’s a slow process because the Government is a slow process.
“The Government didn’t make any provisions whatsoever for the arts during Brexit. They’re more interested in f*****g fishing! Now, don’t get me wrong – fishing is very important, but it brings in £1.4 billion a year and the entertainment industry brings in £111 billion.
“They’re taking away young artists’ livelihood, and the way they grow as artists – because nothing makes you grow than the experience of going and playing in another place. It’s so shocking, and it’s so f*****g disgusting.”
The government announced in August that short term visa free travel without work permits will be given to musicians in 19 European countries, they said that talks are still ongoing with other nations. The statement caused uproar within the industry, with many accusing the government of “spin and meaningless posturing”, as the rules were in action even before Brexit, whilst no talks have happened regarding more major issues.
This month, there was more criticism aimed at the government and their approach to creative industries, as prohibitive costs and admin rules suggest that UK musicians can no longer afford to tour in Spain, which is one of the UK talent’s biggest markets.