After years of back-and-forth drama and debate, United Kingdom and European Union officials finally reached an agreement on a Brexit trade deal on Christmas Eve. With the U.K. officially set to leave the European Union on January 1st, professionals across several industries will be permitted to enter the E.U. for work purposes without a visa. Unfortunately for the arts industry, that won’t apply to touring musicians, as British artists hoping to tour Europe will now have to apply and secure work visas for each European country they want to perform in, making international touring that much more difficult especially for emerging artists with limited budgets.

Earlier this year prior to the news of the Christmas Eve Brexit deal, a petition was launched in hopes of convincing the British Parliament to allow a visa-free work and travel permit throughout the 27 E.U. states for touring musicians following the transition period.

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The petition created by freelancer Tim Brennan reads,

We would like the UK Govt to negotiate a free cultural work permit that gives us visa-free travel throughout the 27 EU states for music touring professionals, bands, musicians, artists, TV and sports celebrities that tour the EU to perform shows and events & Carnet exception for touring equipment. 

The UK has a huge music/event touring industry which has suffered immensely due to Covid. After the end of the transition period, we face further hardship when trying to tour the EU on a professional basis, with potentially each country asking for its own visa, that would be valid only for one trip, As a freelancer I and many like me travel through the EU countless times a year on different tours and events, this will become impossible due to cost and time if we do not have visa-free travel.

As of Monday (12/28), the petition has collected an impressive 97,325 signatures from across the U.K., leaving it just 2,675 names short of the 100,000 required to be considered for debate in Parliament. Click here to read the petition.