Brexit update: February 2021

In recent weeks, as the situation for musicians became clearer, protecting the viability of performing in Europe has been a top priority for our External Affairs team. We have sought every possible opportunity to campaign for a reduction in the additional costs, delays and paperwork created by the Brexit agreement.

We know how concerning this situation is for our members and we are committed to finding collaborative solutions for a sector which is already suffering. That is why we have joined forces with the Musicians’ Union to maximise our impact. Our Chief Executive Deborah Annetts and MU’s General Secretary Horace Trubridge are working closely together and demonstrating a unified voice for musicians.

We were pleased to see Parliamentarians using our research to raise these issues during a debate earlier this week. They have also tabled written questions to government on our behalf:

In addition, we have made submissions to relevant inquiries in both the House of Lords and Commons while our Chief Executive will be giving oral evidence to the DCMS Committee. Being at the heart of conversations like this will be key to achieving meaningful change on your behalf in the months ahead.

Meanwhile, we have kept this issue on the media agenda by briefing journalists and arranging interviews with local, national and global journalist – including on BBC Breakfast earlier this week. The ISM’s research and policy recommendations have been at the forefront of shaping the international media coverage. This success has been due, in part, to the ability of our members to speak confidently and clearly about how Brexit has impacted them personally. Your individual testimony is so impactful for influencing policymakers in the UK and Europe as they consider the way forward.

In the weeks and months ahead, we will continue our efforts to ensure that musicians are still able to perform in Europe once touring resumes after the pandemic. We will continue partnering with supportive voices, both in our sector and beyond, with a focus on advocating for:

The UK Government and the EU to:

  • Negotiate a bespoke visa waiver agreement with the EU that is separate to the trade deal – exempting touring performers, creative teams and crews from needing to obtain a visa for up to 90 days paid work in a 180-day period.

The UK Government to:

  • Enter bilateral discussions with the individual EU Member States that require work permits for short term work.
  • Urgently clarify customs rules for musicians and whether they need to purchase documents like an ATA Carnet.
  • Secure a cabotage exemption for the creative and cultural sector – similar to the one that enables the Formula 1 industry to move large amounts of equipment across borders easily.
  • Provide emergency funding for the music industry to mitigate against the additional costs and loss of work due to post Brexit touring restrictions.