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Over 300 arts organisations urge Boris Johnson to act on post-Brexit touring crisis

Musician's Union, Music UK and National Union of Journalists have signed the letter

Hundreds of arts organisations have signed an open letter to Boris Johnson about the post-Brexit touring crisis.

In January, the UK government denied claims that it rejected a deal offer from the EU that would allow musicians to enter countries that belong to the union without a visa following the completion of Brexit. A report by the Independent, quoting an unnamed source close to the negotiations, that a “standard” proposal that would exempt performers from needing a visa to enter countries in the EU for trips under 90 days was turned down by the government.

Now, over 300 arts organisations have signed an open letter to UK prime minister Boris Johnson, highlighting the lack of a "clear plan" and support for musicians following Brexit. The letter, organised by the Incorporated Society Of Musicians (ISM), proposing four measures to guarantee the survival of the music sector:

  1. The government to negotiate a bespoke Visa Waiver Agreement (VWA) with the EU for the sector, covering all creative professionals including technical and support staff as well as journalists
  2. The government to negotiate bilateral agreements with key individual EU Member States that do not currently offer cultural exemptions for work permits, or which are the most important financially for creative workers
  3. An emergency funding package to be put in place to support creative professionals given the level of additional costs they now face as a result of undertaking work in Europe
  4. The government to take steps to reduce the adverse impact of the new road haulage and cross-trade rules that has made it impossible for UK established touring companies to facilitate pan-European tours

Among the organisations to sign the open letter are Musician's Union, Music UK and National Union of Journalists, alongside Dazed Media, the BBC and Universal Productions.

You can read the letter in full here.

Last month, Labour MP Harriet Harman unveiled a 10-point plan of proposed measures, supported by organisations such as Musicians’ Union and UK Music, to allow British musicians to tour Europe without visas. 

DJ Mag has been covering what Brexit could mean for music on an ongoing basis. Read up on advice for European DJs playing British dates, our take on British DJs playing European dates, then dive into official UK guidance for artists touring the EU.