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EU Travel Limits For Touring UK Musicians To Be Relaxed
Christian Eede , May 9th, 2022 15:08

Issues around visas and touring in the post-Brexit landscape still remain, however

A new dual registration policy will enable British specialist hauliers, including those that transport equipment for concert tours and cultural events, to travel freely between the UK and the EU post-Brexit.

The new rule, which will come into effect from late summer, is a boost for UK musicians heading out on tours of EU countries with music equipment, with hauliers now set to be able to make unlimited international trips. Previously, British specialist hauliers had been limited to only three EU stops per tour since the UK left the EU. Under new rules, haulage companies will also not be required to pay Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) in the UK for six months.

While the policy change has been welcomed by various music and events industry bodies, it still does not solve other problems thrown up by the failure of the UK government and EU negotiators to reach an agreement around visa-free touring for musicians when the full terms of Brexit were decided in December 2020. British musicians continue to face ongoing bureaucracy and costs related to touring around the EU as a result of this.

Industry experts have also said the new policy comes with some significant limits in that it only applies to haulage companies with a base in both the UK and abroad. The Department for Transport said this will allow companies to transfer their vehicles between both operator licences without the need to change vehicles or have their journeys limited. Smaller operations, only based in the UK, will not have this privilege.

Music industry group UK Music said the rule change was "important progress for UK musicians and crew looking to tour the EU," but the organisation's chief executive, Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, told the BBC that issues still remained around the transportation of musicians and equipment between the UK and EU. He pledged that UK Music would continue to work with the government to resolve this as it is "vital that UK musicians and crew can tour and work freely in the EU."

In March, British politicians and Brexit negotiator David Frost acknowledged that the Brexit deal ultimately agreed between the UK and the EU had caused a wide range of issues for touring musicians.

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.