Blog: Musicians won’t need visas for tours post-Brexit – it’s all a storm in a backstage teacup –

Nevertheless, a quick ring around of experts who actually work in the field suggests the Independent has got its facts in a twist. “The story doesn’t make sense,” according to Paul Fenn, an agent with Asgard Promotions and co-founder of the Entertainment Agent’s Association. “European musicians can still come into the country for 90 days under the new rules, so what is supposed to have been changed?”

The French Government confirmed today that UK citizens travelling to Europe to work for up to 90 days would not require visas. It also confirmed that temporary work permits would not be required for “sporting, cultural or scientific events.”

Fenn pointed out that under the new post-Brexit agreement, EU countries will treat British people as third country nationals, subject to the same rules that apply to Americans, Canadians and Australians. “Now, I make a living sending American artists around Europe and, with one or two exceptions, it’s easy, we have no problems. On the surface there doesn’t appear to be any changes for British acts going into Europe in 2021.”

Asgard’s clients include British artist The Waterboys and Ray Davies and American acts such as Emmylou Harris, Tom Waits and Alison Krauss. “We have been examining the (Brexit agreement document passed into law on December 24th) and asking our partners in Europe what differences they are aware of, and so far we’ve heard nothing. There are no issues.”

Neil O’Brien, an agent and promoter for artists including British reggae stars UB40 and American blues rocker Joe Bonamossa was similarly baffled by the story. “It has always been a slightly complicated procedure touring in Europe. Even within the European Union, every country has different rules about taxation, work permits and carnets (customs declarations covering musical instruments). There’s a huge amount of paperwork involved already. I’m not looking forward to it getting more complicated, but because of the pandemic we’ve got time work out what permits might be required. My understanding is that you can still tour for quite a lengthy period visa free. Switzerland is the only country in central Europe that still operates a carnet system, but bands still go there, although it can be a pain in the arse. Where there is money to be made, you make the effort. To be honest, it’s more complicated touring in France. There are local rules wherever you go, so you have to have good local connections, and then things get much simpler.”

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