Musicians face EU tour catastrophe, says Sir Elton
London – Sir Elton John has warned members of Parliament MPs that the United Kingdom music industry could lose “a generation of talent” because of post-Brexit restrictions on touring the European Union (EU).
The musician accused ministers of being unwilling to fix a “gaping hole” in the current Brexit deal which means artists need costly visas to play in the bloc.
The government says the EU rejected its attempts to negotiate visa-free travel, while the EU claims the opposite.
Sir Elton called the situation a “looming catastrophe” for the UK.
“I want to be clear that the issues of visa-free and permit-free touring aren’t about the impact on me, and artists who tour arenas and stadiums,” he said.
“This gravest of situations is about the damage to the next generation of musicians and emerging artists, whose careers will stall before they’ve even started due to this infuriating blame game.
“If I had faced the financial and logistical obstacles facing young musicians now when I started out, I’d never have had the opportunity to build the foundations of my career and I very much doubt I would be where I am today.”
The star’s statement was read to MPs during a hearing by the Digital, Culture, Media (DCMS) and Sport Committee on EU visa arrangements for those in the creative industries. Sir Elton later posted the letter in full on Instagram.
The DCMS committee was also due to hear from Brexit Minister Lord Frost – but he pulled out unexpectedly, drawing fierce criticism from committee chairman Julian Knight.
“Parliamentary scrutiny in front of select committees is of crucial importance in our democratic system and is particularly important when we have a government with a majority of over 80,” he said in a statement, calling Lord Frost’s failure to attend the hearing unacceptable.
“I, and this committee, look forward to Lord Frost joining us at the rearranged date and we will not truck any further cancellation.” (BBC)