Lib Dem peers unite musicians from Elton John to Iron Maiden over Brexit visa problems

Liberal Democrat peers have organised a letter to the Times signed by over 100 very well known musicians and others in the industry outlining the problems they are now facing as a result of the Brexit deal.

The letter has united Ed Sheehan, Iron Maiden and the Sex Pistols with just about everyone in between.

Significantly, the letter is also signed by Roger Daltrey, who was a prominent campaigner for Brexit.

The Times(£) has the details and quotes Lib Dem peer Paul Strasburger.

Lord Strasburger, the Liberal Democrat peer, said that while the government was “predictably” trying to blame the EU, Britain’s creative artists had been “left high and dry”

He added: “The artists who signed this letter are either furious or fearful for the future of their business, or both. If the Conservative government cares about these industries and the economy, they must get back around the negotiating table and get this sorted pronto.”

The basic problem is that up until 31 December, musicians could just go to any of the other EU countries and perform with zero hassle. Now they have a mountain of paperwork and visas to deal with.

The deal done with the EU has a gaping hole where the promised free movement for musicians should be: everyone on a European music tour will now need costly work permits and a mountain of paperwork for their equipment. The extra costs will make many tours unviable, especially for young emerging musicians who are already struggling to keep their heads above water owing to the Covid ban on live music. This negotiating failure will tip many performers over the edge.

We urge the government to do what it said it would do and negotiate paperwork-free travel in Europe for British artists and their equipment. For the sake of British fans wanting to see European performers in the UK and British venues wishing to host them, the deal should be reciprocal.

You can find out more in an article on the Lib Dem website which describes how musicians have been left high and dry by the Brexit deal.

The EU Trade deal makes it extremely difficult for touring artists because they now need a costly work permit and face a mountain of paperwork for their equipment.

The extra costs will make many tours unviable, especially for young emerging musicians.

This could make many tours unviable, particularly for younger, upcoming artists who don’t have big teams and big money behind them.

The same applies to EU-based artists wishing to perform in the UK.

That means disruption not only to seeing our favourite foreign bands and orchestras but income to festivals and all the benefits of creative co-operation too.

Reciprocity is good for Britain and should not be holding back a deal for artists.


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in News.


  • I don’t know if I am being cynical but I can’t help feeling this is deliberate by the government. This is an industry which promotes the message “F*** Boris” and “F*** the Tories”.

    Maybe Boris took the opportunity to “F*** them” first?

  • My daughter is me of those, non professional, group members who has had to stop touring the EU, increased costs make it financially unviable.
    The real loss is cultural, many small groups came here as well as home grown groups going to the EU. Certainly in my daughter’s case there is a loyal following in many EU countries as a result of the ability to tour the EU without politicians getting in their way. (I don’t believe our governments bleating about lack of EU cooperation).
    We all lose out, yet again.

  • My view is that we have celebrities bleating because they may make less profit. I don’t care.

    I wonder what agents and manager actually do. I assumed sorting out these sorts of issues is what they are employed to do.

  • Mario Caves 22nd Jan '21 - 7:58pm

    Surely visas and freedom of movement should be the same for everybody? Musicians are not the only profession that’s being adversely affected from no longer being in the EU. I note that they’re only arguing for their own trade, and not for anyone else. It’s divisive.

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