Blog: Musicians share anger at rejection of Brexit “visa-free” touring deal – NME

Musicians have shared their anger online after news that the UK government has reportedly rejected a “visa-free” touring deal as part of Brexit negotiations.

Yesterday (January 9), it was reported that the UK have turned down a deal from the EU that would allow musicians to enter countries that belong to the union without a visa.

Boris Johnson‘s post-Brexit trade deal with the EU saw workers from some professions allowed to travel on business without the need to apply for a visa. However, musicians were not covered in the deal, adding huge costs to tours of the continent.

A new report from the Independent states that the proposal, which would exempt performers from needing a visa to enter countries in the EU for trips under 90 days, was turned down by the government.

The UK are reported to have turned down the offer because they do not want to give the same freedoms to EU artists visiting the UK.

Reacting to the news on social media, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke called the government “spineless fucks” over the decision, while Portishead‘s Geoff Barrow launched the hashtag “BorisKilledMusic”.

“Unbelievable,” Lily Allen added of the news on Twitter. “Actually, completely believable!” Shame added: “TODAY IN: THE LEAST SURPRISING NEWS EVER”.

“I think we are owed an explanation,” Tim Burgess added, tagging the accounts for the Prime Minister, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden.

See more reactions below.

A petition was launched after details of the deal and what it meant for musicians emerged last year. It called on the government to “negotiate a free cultural work permit that gives us visa-free travel throughout the 27 EU states for music touring professionals, bands, musicians, artists, TV and sports celebrities that tour the EU to perform shows and events and carnet exception for touring equipment”.

A government spokesperson previously told NME that it was Brussels that had rejected the idea of allowing artists to tour the EU on a visa-free basis. “The UK pushed for a more ambitious agreement with the EU on the temporary movement of business travellers, which would have covered musicians and others, but our proposals were rejected by the EU,” they said.

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