Ed Sheeran has signed the open letter calling on the Government to take action (Picture: Getty)
More than 100 celebrities, including pop singers to classical composers, have signed a letter saying performers have been ‘shamefully failed’ by the post-Brexit travel rules.
In the open letter published in The Times, the stars call on the government ‘to urgently do what it said it would do and negotiate paperwork-free travel in Europe for British artists and their equipment’.
It has also been backed by the likes of Sting, Roger Waters, Roger Daltrey and Queen rocker Brian May, who say there is a ‘gaping hole where the promised free movement for musicians should be’.
They argue that the resulting costs for work permits and other red tape 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,’ they add.
Concert violinist Tasmin Little OBE urged the Government to ‘understand the nature of a touring musician’s life’.
Little continued: ‘Touring is a complicated business with a huge amount of admin attached. You’re often on the road for days on end, criss-crossing borders and playing in many countries within a very short span of time.
Sir Elton John is among the 100 celebrities who have signed the letter (Picture: Getty Images)
‘We need to be able to travel around in order to pick up work… The government has let this industry down very, very badly.’
Gary Numan, who is also a signatory, told Sky News that the snub was ‘demoralising’ and ‘disappointing’.
The musician said: ‘I’ll be ok. I will be able to carry on touring. But it will have an effect… But people down the ladder, it’s going to be horrible for them.
‘The majority of people think of touring bands as being well off, earning lots of money… But the truth is very different to that. The vast majority of bands do not make a lot of money from touring.
‘And it’s not just the bands themselves. It’s the crew that go with them, it’s the merch people, your trucks, your vans.’
Earlier this week, a minister said ‘the door is open’ if the EU was willing to ‘consider the UK’s very sensible proposals’ on visa arrangements for musicians.
For almost a year, artists have been able to travel and tour due to the coronavirus pandemic shutting arenas and other venues. With England still in its third lockdown, it’s unclear when restrictions on concerts will begin to lift.