Government announcement on visa rules a 'cynical headline grab', says tour manager

5 August 2021, 17:49 | Updated: 5 August 2021, 17:54

By Tim Dodd

This tour manager tells LBC the government's announcement on visa-free EU touring for musicians is "a really cynical attempt to grab the headlines".

It comes after the UK government announced yesterday that musicians and performers do not need visas or work permits for short-term tours in 19 EU countries.

Eddie asked music tour manager Charles: "Before Brexit and Covid, what was your job like?"

"It was just easy, we could just go anywhere in Europe," said Charles.

"There were no restrictions. There were a few different tax arrangements with each territory but essentially we just crossed borders with no hindrance and [took] whatever equipment we liked with us."

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"What about now?" Eddie asked.

Charles replied: "[The government's clarification] is just a really cynical attempt to grab the headlines and say everything's alright, when it just isn't.

"It's been occurring with all these Covid test events... nobody ever finds out what the viability of the events are.

"I've arranged gigs throughout the summer where there's hundreds of thousands of pounds balancing on it and we're waiting on the government to make their mind up about whether they're going to let a festival proceed, and by the time they've made their mind up about anything the festival's had to cancel."

He added: "It's so annoying to try and package existing arrangements into some kind of victory over the European Union, when all they have to do is sit around a table and agree a reciprocal arrangement."

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Charles then said it's "no surprise" how musicians have been treated because they predominantly don't vote Conservative.

In their announcement, the UK government said: "We are now actively engaging with the remaining EU Member States that do not allow visa and permit free touring, and calling on them to align their arrangements with the UK’s generous rules, which allow touring performers and support staff to come to the UK for up to three months without a visa."

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