On Tuesday #CarryOnTouring took real life hard hitting evidence to the House of Lords. Invited by Lord Clement Jones CBE and in the presence of Lord German, Baroness Bull, Earl of Clancarty, Lord Berkeley, Lord Wallace, Kevin Brennan MP, Tommy Shepherd MP, Christina Rees MP,
After a brief round of introductions, Lord Clement Jones invited each of those present to give a brief talk about how post Brexit Creative Touring has been affected by being excluded from the TCA and the knock on effect for touring father afield.
There representing #CarryOnTouring were:
Noreen O'Riordan - Managing director and head of lighting, Entec Sound & Light
Angus Mackechnie - Executive director, Outdoorartsuk
Dave Webster - Head of International - Musicians' Union
Noel Mclean - Bectu
Chris Markland - Tour manager, Kaiser Chiefs, Rudimental, Tom Odell, Plan B, Billy Ocean, Meatloaf
James Eller - Bass player / composer, The The, Damien Saez.
James Kennedy - Rock solo artist / DJ / Producer, Owner of Konic Records.
Pat Fulgoni - Singer / Producer / Promoter, Camo & Krooked, London Elektricity, Technimatic.
Peredur ap Gwynedd - Guitarist - Pendulum, Freelance session musician.
Anabella Coldrick, CEO, The Music Managers’ Forum
Andrew Trendell, News Editor, NME
Martina Brunner, Vienna Club Commission
Matt Bold, UK Music
Pete Currier, Tour Manager
Rebecca Timms, Research Director, Independent Commission on UK-EU Relations
Simon Long, Cadence LLP
Gill Morris, DevoConnect
Ian Smith, Campaign Creator, Carry on Touring, and UKEARTS
Tim Brennan, Petition and Campaign Creator, Carry on Touring
- The main concerns for EU creative touring comes down to four main subjects:
- Work permits (extra red tape for people to be hired from the UK),
- Carnets and the lack of clear information as to how to use them and where to have them processed,
- Merchandise (how much can be taken?) Again a lack of clear information,
- 90/180-day access and the dire consequences of running out of time.
- Creatives are being knocked back from having opportunities to make a living.
- Younger Bands are being put off touring the EU and there's a risk that they will give up.
- Previously, there was no central place to find out information about touring rules – hence why https://ukeartswork.info was founded.
- Suggested a ‘creative passport’ to eliminate the 90/180 rule. Example of this issue: Drummer Steve Barney lost an EU tour with Anastasia, who he had worked with for 12 years, due to the 90/180 rule.
- The situation of varying permit free periods for creatives and their support staff in each of the countries that make up the EU membership is confusing and beyond the control of the EU. However, very welcome that those periods are there for all third country non visa nationals which UK citizens now are. The problem of continuing to work when anyone has exhausted their allowance to stay in the Schengen area ( reciprocated ) with the UK is the key problem. After which a Schengen visa for each country worked in has to be sought , there is NO Schengen wide work visa , it does not exist..
- Noted she is coming at the discussion from the perspective of an independent commission, not creative industries.
- Independent Commission on UK-EU Relations’ recommendations in a report published this week chime with that of the Music APPG’s recent report for a ‘cultural exemption’.
- The EU is losing out as much as the UK is due to this problem.
- Recent reports estimate that bookings of UK acts at European festivals have fallen by as much as 45%.
The report is linked below.
- Venue owners in Vienna/Austria are aware there are problems with missing out on UK acts.
- If UK acts do not get booked, there is a knock-off effect on the rest of the local economy – e.g. on surrounding hospitality.
- British music used to be the third largest export, but this whole status is being eroded.
- Highlighted the difficulties for artists to make a living – particularly because much of the work came from abroad.
- Touring the EU is too expensive for smaller bands and the red tape is a nightmare.
- From big multi-truck artists to small bands, this is a big problem.
- UK trucks can only make 3 movements in the EU before coming back to the UK, so they are no longer viable.
- There are massive amounts of customs paperwork to tour the EU, even for small trucks. Therefore, young bands may only tour the UK – but Covid-19 closed many of those venues.
- That if customs officials were to fully check every item on a carnet, then a tour would be severely delayed crossing borders.
- Surely in 2022 the carnet should be an online document, that doesn't need rubber stamping every time we enter/exit the EU.
Chris Markland shows a small flight carnet to the parliamentarians who were quite visibly shocked by the size of a small carnet.
- It is vitally important for the future of British music and culture that this issue is sorted.
"I’ve had my career, I’ve enjoyed working all over the world and many, many times in Europe, but my concern is for upcoming young bands and artists now, who are already struggling with a changing music industry. Touring in Europe was one of the most important steps that a young band could take to help their career progress to the next stage. It was easy and nearby, with the US always too expensive and far away for a band starting out. It was straightforward do a short tour to learn their stagecraft and hone their skills and sometimes to fund their next EP - one of which I know became their breakout record. Because of the hard brexit that has been imposed on us, and many other industries, we have lost this most important springboard.
Which leads me to a more general point. We are known the world over for our culture, we are truly world leading and our music is the most easily recognised symbol of that. Whenever I’ve met people in the US, Europe, Australia, Japan, they want to talk about Pink Floyd, The Clash, Arctic Monkeys, Oasis, Ed Sheeran, Stormzy, The Beatles, Stones, The Smiths - and I could go on, for days. Culture is our strongest soft power. Losing the ability to tour the EU damages it significantly."
- Feedback from small independent bands to big bands such as Iron Maidan is negative.
- The carnet, 90/180 rule and lack of guidance is the biggest issue. People will not be employed if they can only go for 90 days while a domestic tour can do the entire leg.
"I am one of those artists who has cancelled their European touring plans, as have many of my friends. Those of my friends who are still out there doing their thing, are in bands like Iron Maiden - i.e. the biggest bands on the planet - and I spoke to one of their crew members last month about their recent tour of Europe and I was told that it was one of the most difficult tours they'd ever done. So if they're struggling, what chance do the rest of us stand. Obviously my attachment to this is a musician but this is not just about musicians, it's about the crew - the lighting techs, the drivers, the sound techs, haulage, all of it. At this point in the hearing, I'm mostly going to be repeating what's already been said but essentially I think it comes down to a few main points. The first is the carnet. Everyone hates the carnet. And it's not just that it's a lot of paperwork, it's the chaos of it. It's not an exact science. It's all very well filling the thing out but then you turn up in France and where's the customs guy? Bands are regularly spending hours waiting around at airports, looking for the right customs official who may or may not want to check through all their equipment & faff with the carnet - when they're meant to be on stage in 3 hours time.
Peredur ap Gwynedd,
- Read out a submission from Steve Barney, drummer for the likes of Anastacia and Jeff Beck. He lost a place in Anastacia ’s band due to the 90/180 rule.
- Read out a submission from Anastacia ’s manager.
Band managers and tour managers are now actively seeking band and crew members with EU passports rather than UK passports.
- The whole industry has been devastated – not just artists, creatives and sportspeople – it is thousands.
- The UK will lose its world-leading status.
- The solutions the likes of the Music APPG are asking for are essential.
- DCMS keep asking the MU for case studies.
- There are a huge amount of resources available on the MU & ISM websites linked below.
- A lot of collaborative work has been done by the music industry to keep this issue high on the agenda.
There is a need for us as an industry to engage with the Partnership Council.
- Gave examples of ways some creatives can tour the EU – for example, without instruments.
"OutdoorArtsUK is off to FiraTarrega in Spain to take part in an outdoor arts marketplace, supporting a number of artists and companies to sell their work there. But sadly, these days it's more like begging than selling - while international producers are very supportive of the work, they are reluctant to book UK artists because of the costs and work involved.
This has a massive impact on the budgets of small companies and their touring viability.
We note that there are more and more touring 'workarounds' - building sets in mainland Europe to avoid transportation issues, cutting all design and technical aspects to the work to allow for touring, recasting touring companies without UK artists or even pretending they are not travelling to perform. These compromise the work and feel like emergency solutions.
Andrea Leadsom noted 'we always said there will be winners and losers' but that is not good enough to cast UK artists as losers and leave them to muddle their way through the mess. We have a general sense of being abandoned here and that there are no real discussions taking place, we really implore politicians and commissions to take these discussions seriously and look for solutions that will work for us."
- Bands used to be hired for last-minute cancellations – this is no longer possible.
- European festivals are showing fewer UK artists.
- There is a notion culture is a luxury – but it is essential. There is also a massive knock-off effect – on taxi drivers, hotels, bars, etc.
- A huge knock-on issue is that, if bands do not tour the EU, they may not get enough points to get a Visa to tour the United States – the biggest market.
Simon Long, Cadence LLP
- Gives an example of one artist who is set to be dropped by their record label because they could not tour Europe.
Noel McClean, BECTU
- Emphasises it is not just about music – other elements of the cultural scene are affected, including theatre.
- The industry is united on the solution to this problem: a cultural exemption. What is missing, and needed, is the political will to make it happen
Kevin Brennan MP, Chair, Music APPG
- What has occurred is an unnecessary tragedy. During Brexit negotiations, the Culture Minister said they would ensure a cultural exemption.
- In time, the EU will benefit from moving British jobs to EU domestic jobs.
- No one in Government is taking it upon themselves to solve this issue. There should be a Minister to negotiate on behalf of the Government and to pull Departments together.
- The challenge is to get this on the Government’s agenda.
Lord David Hannay, Member of European Affairs Committee, House of Lords
- The European Affairs Committee have begun a new inquiry into the future of UK-EU relations. Culture will be a chapter within this. It closes for submissions at the end of October.
The Earl of Clancarty, Nick Trench, House of Lords
- Data must be gathered to demonstrate the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of Brexit, which will be helpful to Government.
- Highlighted the particular issue of young people.
- Claimed 2026 would be too late. But this Government does not wish to speak with the EU about anything which could get in their way.
- The Northern Ireland protocol is stopping negotiation on anything else.
- This is damaging to the UK economy – which must underpin any evidence given. What is being lost which can be justified and tested?
- This issue has a lot of attention in the House of Lords – including on the Conservative benches.
- It was also raised at the UK-EU Partnership Council.
- The UK says the EU did not want the exception and vice versa. It is time to down tools and work together.
- Government encouraged lorries to register in Europe so they could tour before coming back to the UK. The impact is that jobs are being lost abroad.
- We now have a new Government, and it is necessary to try again. Get in touch with the logistics industry – as they are extremely frustrated.
CALL TO ACTION Lord Clement-Jones CBE
- The key will be the mechanisms to deliver change – case studies, the Lords Select Committee, letters to the new Government, etc. We need to work together.
- Thanked everyone for coming.