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Brexit is a disaster for British music

وصف ديمون ألبارن عضو فرقة "بلر" خروج بريطانيا من الاتحاد الأوروبي بأنه "مأساة" للموسيقيين (غيتي)
PLR's Damon Albarn described Brexit as a "tragedy" for musicians (Getty)

Nearly half of British artists have had fewer work opportunities in Europe since the UK left the European Union, a survey has found

The devastating impact of Brexit on British musicians' overseas gigs has been revealed by a major survey of the struggling sector - which has seen some artists forced to abandon their careers.

Almost half of UK musicians (47 per cent) said their job opportunities in Europe had diminished since the country left the EU, while more than a quarter (28 per cent) had not had any work opportunities in the EU at all since then. .

The new report from the Independent Society of Musicians (ISM) warns that the bureaucracy resulting from former Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal has left a "deeply damaging" impact on British bands and singers.

Major British music stars - including Damon Albarn and Sir Elton John - attacked the government for failing to remove barriers to concert tours. Finally, the "Blar" star described Britain's exit from the European Union as a "tragedy."

For her part, British mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston said Tuesday that “Brexit” is “silently killing the distinguished music sector,” and she blamed the Conservative government’s “unwillingness” to renegotiate with the European Union regarding visas and other bureaucratic policies related to concert tours. .

Calling for a new visa-free travel deal, the singer added: “It is time for the government to do something and reverse some of the damage that has been done before it is too late.”

The survey of 400 musicians for the ISM report found that one in four British musicians (25 per cent) have had their jobs canceled in the EU since Brexit due to issues with visas and work permits, extra travel costs and paperwork needed to transport musical instruments and equipment. .

Some musicians said that Brexit actually destroyed their careers. One unnamed musician participating in the survey said: "The work has stopped. The European tour shows are simply over. My band can't earn enough to survive in the small UK market, so the band is practically finished as a working band."

Another British musician said he applied for an Irish passport "just to try and get around all the red tape and issues that Britain's not being in the EU."

The artists also pointed to the additional time and cost involved in traveling across borders with complex equipment. Under the Schengen visa exemption system, the time allowed for workers in the music sector to spend within European Union countries is limited to 90 days within a period of six months.

ISM urged ministers in Rishi Sunak's government to negotiate with the European Union a dedicated visa exemption agreement that would allow British artists to work anywhere in the EU for up to 90 days in a 180-day period.

They also called on the government to work to exempt musical instruments and equipment from transportation rules, as well as to exempt creative professions from “navigation” rules - which govern the transportation of goods between two places in the same country.

Deborah Annetts, chief executive of ISM, said: “British music is a great success story and we are proud of it. The government is oblivious to its work – they could have tackled many of the issues facing the music sector themselves and made Brexit a success. They chose not to.”

She added: "Brexit was never meant to mean that musicians couldn't freely share their talents with our closest neighbours. We call on the government to take action and make Brexit work [properly] for the wellbeing of musicians and our economy."

The Independent revealed in 2021 that the Conservative Party government rejected an offer from the European Union to allow musicians to tour in all countries of the Union without a visa, despite the government blaming the European Union for obtaining the required permits.

A proposal to exempt artists from administrative costs and procedures for 90 days was also rejected, drawing criticism from Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess, Laura Marling and others.

Responding to the ISM report, independent opera singer Paul Carey-Jones said: “As always, it is those who are at the beginning of their career, without the support [of] an established reputation, who will suffer most.”

The government was contacted to comment on the matter.

The Independent



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