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Brexit Negotiator Acknowledges Issues For Touring Artists
Christian Eede , March 22nd, 2022 19:26

David Frost accepts that it has caused "a whole set of problems"

British politician David Frost, who had the role of Chief Negotiator for Exiting the European Union during the Brexit negotiations in 2019, has admitted that the deal agreed has caused a wide range of issues for touring musicians.

As The Independent reports, while speaking during a recent lecture, Frost said: "There is a whole set of problems here that are making life difficult on both sides: youth mobility, movement of specialists like musicians and artists." Speaking further, he acknowledged that more should be done to solve these problems, and said they could "be solved" with a new deal.

A number of musicians, promoters and music industry groups have criticised the terms of the UK's deal with the EU to leave the group, saying it has created unnecessary bureaucracy with regards to paperwork, as well as costs to obtain working visas for some EU nations. This is also the case for international musicians, and their touring crew, from EU nations trying to enter the UK.

The government has repeatedly refused to negotiate new terms that might solve such issues, saying it would get in the way of the government's desire to remove freedom of movement and control immigration. Government figures also last year pointed to a number of EU nations introducing visa-free touring options for UK musicians and crew, though the problem still persists in some places.

Figures from across the music industry are still seeking a unified agreement on visa-free touring that will allow UK musicians, as well as their crew and equipment, to freely travel around EU countries to tour, and also allow those from EU nations to freely come to the UK for shows. This is not currently in place, with various short-term windows available without a visa across each nation, leaving musicians to work out each one for themselves and negotiate the various levels of bureaucracy that come with that.

Speaking in his lecture, Brexit negotiator Frost admitted that he "felt sorry that [creative workers] have to face this situation," and said of striking a new deal: "We should try to get to it. This time, we should try harder." The new deal, he added, could remove "excessive paperwork and process requirements."

Revisit tQ's January 2021 feature on why artist visas are more than a Brexit issue here. Find our piece in which DIY artists, record label bosses and record store owners discuss living with post-Brexit rules, from December 2021, here.