UK strikes visa-free touring deal with Romania

12 Oct 2021

Romania has been added to the list of EU countries that UK performers can tour in sans visa.

As has become customary, DCMS concealed the actual size of the achievement, updating an August announcement to say visa-free touring is possible in 20 EU countries.

In fact, arrangements were already in place with 19 of those countries two months ago. Talks with Spain, Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Bulgaria, Malta and Cyprus are ongoing - and in some cases have been since the UK left the EU.

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) said Tuesday's announcement gave "a misleading impression about the extent to which work in these countries will now be possible".

It called on Government to clarify what kinds of work are allowed for how long in each of the 20 countries.

DCMS says: "Discussions with these countries are ongoing, and we are also working with the sector to amplify each other’s lobbying efforts."

'Splitter vans' permitted for EU touring artists, DfT says

29 Sep 2021

British musicians touring the EU can now travel in the same vehicle as their equipment.

The Department of Transport has confirmed that so-called 'splitter vans' do not fall under the post-Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), meaning individual EU states make their own rules.

The Musicians' Union (MU) and Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), which have been lobbying for this arrangement, are delighted.

The TCA said people and equipment could not be transported in the same vehicle - "a disaster for touring musicians, particularly at grassroots level", the MU says.

National Organiser for Live Performance Dave Webster, said this is a relief and "a major step forward".

“A ban on splitter vans would have made European touring almost impossible for small to medium scale bands, especially given the costs of carnets, visas, work permits and Covid testing they are already bearing."

ISM Chief Executive Deborah Annetts said a visa waiver agreement is needed to remove the red tape.

"It’s great that on this occasion the industries’ campaigning work has paid off, but there is much more the Government should be doing."

Birmingham to open first city centre music venue in a decade

31 Aug 2021

Birmingham is set to open its first music venue and club in the city centre for over a decade.

Forum Birmingham, featuring a 3,500 capacity main stage and 350 capacity "rave box", will open its doors on September 3.

The venue has previously been known as The Ballroom, the Hummingbird and the Carling Academy Birmingham.

It has offered 1,000 NHS and key workers free entry for events scheduled as part of its autumn/winter programme.

Global Venues’ Billy Chauhan, a manager of the venue, said Forum Birmingham “looks forward to welcoming major events and contributing to valuable regional and national music tourism”.
 

Scottish Government pushes for EU visa-free touring

31 Aug 2021

Scottish Culture Secretary Angus Robertson has urged the UK Government to negotiate visa-free travel for the creative industry by the end of the year.

In a letter addressed to Oliver Dowden, Robertson calls for cooperation between the two Governments to “minimise barriers to recovery”.

He adds that touring visas and work permits are creating “insurmountable obstacles” for artists.

“Ultimately this could jeopardise the ability of some to continue working in the sector altogether”.

The letter follows a UK Government announcement that 19 EU countries have agreed to short term visa-free tours, an update condemned by music industry leaders as “nothing new”.

Brexit Minister offers few answers, defends record on EU touring issues

30 Jun 2021

DCMS had to wait for a green light from Lord Frost to begin bilateral negotiations on touring, few of which have been agreed in the six months post-Brexit.

'Major flaws' in ministers' post-Brexit touring claims

19 May 2021

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden says "some paid touring" is possible in 17 of 27 EU member states as renewed campaigns for a bloc-level deal seek legal advice.

Can we any longer justify our carbon footprint?

A person lying in a tree using a megaphone
11 May 2021

After a lifetime spent working in the arts across the world, Judith Knight considers the dilemma of meeting the demands of the climate emergency while retaining international collaborations.

‘Aftershock’ – orchestras preparing for an uncertain future

31 Mar 2021

The combined effect of Covid and Brexit will make significant dents in the financial viability of the orchestral sector, in spite of Government support so far. Mark Pemberton considers the challenges ahead. 

Cabotage crisis: Orchestras may be forced to tour illegally

03 Mar 2021

The Association of British Orchestras says there are three options moving forward: a new deal with the EU, financial support from the Government, or touring against the law.

UK has three months to save touring, sector warns

16 Feb 2021

DCMS hopes to start discussions with individual EU states in the coming weeks, but industry figures say time is running out to find practical and affordable solutions.

Mounting pressure for touring visas ahead of UK-EU meeting

09 Feb 2021

The sector is not giving up on EU touring visas. But ideas as to what to do next differ.

Touring visa offer 'not compatible' with Brexit goals

19 Jan 2021

DCMS Minister Caroline Dinenage says the EU did not offer work permits and the Government is focussed on navigating the new landscape rather than negotiating.

Fury and disbelief over claims UK rejected visa-free touring

13 Jan 2021

Parliament will debate whether visa-free work permits should be renegotiated as the Government blames Brussels for rejecting its "ambitious" proposals.

Fears build over immigration rules for incoming artists

08 Jan 2021

Complex rules, higher costs and visa requirements are set to place new barriers to EU artists working in the UK, even for short-term contracts or single gigs. 

Local venues could be key to keeping audiences engaged

Back to Blackbrick
22 May 2020

Rural touring could win back audiences first, as confidence in village hall venues is higher than for other types of auditorium, research finds.

Theatre company resists venue's ‘licence to change’ clause 

21 Feb 2020

If enacted it would allow the host theatre to refund ‘offended’ ticket buyers at the touring company’s expense.

My vision for a radical artist-led hotel

A photo of a man sleeping in a hammock
13 Feb 2020

We need bold new cultural infrastructures to tackle entrenched inequality in the arts, says Amahra Spence. Can a new project combine business nous with social justice?

Government offers hope of ‘comprehensive music strategy’

22 Jan 2020

Tax relief for venues and EU touring visas are also on the table, DCMS Minister Nigel Adams confirmed.

A truly national theatre? Exploring new ways to collaborate

A photo of a young man on a stage leaning against another actor
05 Dec 2019

National Theatre partnerships with theatres around the country are creating an opportunity for them to share and compare experiences and ideas across a mix of scales, locations and financial models. Lisa Burger explains what’s going on.

Musicians call for protections to limit Brexit damage

03 Dec 2019

A new manifesto says freelance workers have “little protection from exploitation” and warns of a grim future for touring performers.

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