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Brexit raises costs, hassle for British musicians touring the EU

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After Brexit, UK citizens can not live and work freely in the bloc. Tourists do not need visas for stays of up to 90 days and some short business trips are allowed under a new agreement between Britain and the EU. But artists and musicians are not involved causing extra cost and hassle and both parties disagree on who to blame.

British musicians wishing to perform in Europe face a range of obstacles, including the additional cost of purchasing a customs document known as carnet for the movement of equipment and the possibility of additional work permits required in certain countries.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnsons’ spokesman Jamie Davies said London had demanded reciprocal rights for musicians and support staff to tour without a work permit, but that offer was rejected by the EU.

We will continue to make the case for a deal that makes the tournament easier, and our door remains open to the EU if they change their mind, Davies said.

Although the pandemic is currently preventing tours, the ability to plan is now vital, said Paul Pacifico, CEO of the Independent Music Association, which represents the UK independent music sector.

The red ribbons just around the sales tax will force smaller outfits to face a mountain of bureaucracy and extra costs, Pacifico said.

If you are a touring band and selling a CD in Germany, you will have to make a sales tax refund in Germany, he said. The same for France, Italy, Croatia, Belgium, Luxembourg, etc.

European bands hoping to play in the UK will also be affected.

Swedish Hives punk striker Pelle Almqvist said his band, which first found international fame in Britain, would now have to think twice before playing live there.

Well maybe he ends up doing (less) shows in the UK because there will be less economic stimulus, Almqvist said on Wednesday. I do not know, the worst case scenario game in the UK turns into a hobby.

British composer and member of the House of Lords Michael Berkeley, is also calling for a return to the negotiating table.

I would like them to return to the EU and prepare an agreement that would grant a 90-day visa, or at least a very substantial visa, in order to make it financially viable for a tour abroad, Berkeley said. .

He added that the cost of travel by instruments should also be addressed.

If you are a cellist, you can not do without your cello. And people have to buy a second seat on a plane, as well as a 400 pound ($ 550) carnet, Berkley said. It just becomes impossible. You know, there is not that much money, for example, in classical music to cover these extra costs.

The petition, created by independent industry expert Tim Brennan, calls for London to negotiate a free cultural work permit with Brussels by providing visa-free travel across the EU for tours of professionals, bands, musicians, artists, as well as TV celebrities and sports. It also requires carnet exceptions for tour equipment.

Jason Williamson of the English duo Sleaford Mods is optimistic that a solution can be found, but worries about the misery that are being caused in the meantime.

People are panicking about this, he said. It really could not have come at a worse time.

Sian Watson contributed to this story.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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