Real People, Real Lives, Real Jobs


Ready to go - nowhere to tour

Q. What is Carry on Touring?

Carry on Touring is the umbrella campaign which all those who tour – and rely on touring - can support and sit under. This public facing campaign brings together voices from across the touring, cultural and creative industries to secure cross-party support for Tim Brennan’s petition signed by nearly 300,000 people and campaign for a solution to help us get back to work and to be able to carry on touring. 

Our campaign is about real people affected by the Government’s failure to negotiate an exemption in the EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA). The strength of the Carry on Touring campaign is that it is inclusive and representative.  Carry on Touring brings together so many voices involved in the UK cultural and creative industries; trade and representative bodies and Parliamentarians across the UK and Europe.

Check out our blog to see how real lives, real people and real jobs have been affected.

Q. What’s the issue and why isn’t there an exemption for UK artists and professionals?

The UK Government’s failure to secure an exemption - or provision - in the Brexit negotiations for creative artists and touring professionals who go ‘on tour’ and who rely on touring for a living will have dire consequences for theUK creative sector if no resolution can be found.

They say they pushed for a more ambitious agreement with the EU on the temporary movement of business travellers - which would have included musicians and others who tour - but proposals were rejected. Culture Minister, Caroline Dinenage MP, has said repeatedly that “the door is open” if the EU was willing to “consider the UK’s very sensible proposals” on visa arrangements. 

But now we have left the EU, all those who go on tour will be required to obtain work permits in each European country they visit. The need to secure work permits and visas, when on tour, places an additional cost and unnecessary burden on a sector which is keen to get back to work. This will have a catastrophic impact on the UK public and performers alike.

Q. Isn’t this just about Musicians?

No. It’s about all creative touring professionals.

Failure to include an EU-wide cultural work permit and visa free travel for touring professionals and artists will have a huge impact on all touring art forms including theatre, dance, circus, visual arts and music and on both the UK's and EU's cultural economies. In particular, young and emerging artists will be affected - who simply won’t be able to afford to go on tour.

Q. Why is this such a big problem?

The UK’s creative industries are a massive success and contribute around £111.7 billion, equivalent to £306 million everyday (Source). Without touring, a large section of the creative industries could cease to exist.

·     All DCMS Sectors (excluding Tourism) contributed £224.1 billion to the UK in 2018

·     Accounted for 11.7% of the economy in 2018

·     The Music Industry contributed £5.8 billion to the UK economy in2019

·     £1.1 billion made in 2019 from Live Music alone

·     44% of UK Musicians earn up to half their income in the EU, largely from live events

The Government need to act now and show they support real people, real lives, real jobs.

Q. What is the Government doing to help?

Carry on Touring is calling for clarity, certainty and progress on this issue.  We need to know what’s happening for the real people, real lives and real jobs affected by this.

There is little clarity, certainty or progress being made. Speaking to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden MP revealed that he has spoken to every EU member state about the issue of Creative Touring within the EU Post Brexit, since the new rules came in back in January, and said he understood that “some paid touring activities” will be possible in 17 of the 27 EU countries. He added that the picture now seems“much more positive” than he first thought.

Oliver Dowden’s assertion that there is permit free access to 17 of theEU 27 is very misleading. He fails to acknowledge differential access rules and the need for work permits beyond allowances in those countries in terms of duration - which range from 7 days in any one year to 90 days in Germany and France as he acknowledges. But he simply does not recognise the highly difficult landscape we will have to navigate – even within those countries with some allowance.

Carry on Touring are calling on Oliver Dowden to give creative touring professionals some urgent clarity and certainty and to make swift progress towards resolution.  Our ask for a Cultural Passport (a VISAwaiver agreement and Schengen-wide work permit with free access) remains unchanged.

There are also talks about opening a UK Music or Creative Office. While this is welcome it does not solve the problems or remove the barriers that will exist for so many touring professionals and artists wanting to tour.

Q. Why can’t the UK Government go back to the negotiating table?

Arguably they could. Trying to agree 27 different bi-lateral agreements with 27 EU countries is not going to provide much clarity in practice. As we were not included in the TCA, there is no real reason why the UK Government could not negotiate a special cultural passport for creative touring professionals.

If there isn’t an exemption or solution found, what will be the impact on artists and professionals’ ability to carry on touring in the EU?

Without a return to the negotiating table many jobs and livelihoods will be lost.  There will be a massive impact on crew, haulage and production – who will not be going anywhere - at a time when the sector desperately needs a lifeline. Due o the extra cost of red tape and the time involved, it is probably that only major artists will be able to tour – but even for them the cost and red tape will be disproportionate.

This is not an issue that just affects the UK. Europe has experienced many challenges and upheavals in recent months and years. The value of this cultural exchange is huge to both economies and social wellbeing. We should be working to resolve this issue together and to create rich new collaborations for the generations to come. 

Q. What is the solution?

It could be simple. Carry on Touring want to see a pan European EU visa and work permit waiver – a Cultural Passport. We believe that this needs to be negotiated urgently.

A ‘Cultural Passport’ will help all creative artists and professionals carry on touring freely. The current impasse needs to be unlocked. We believe our ability to carry on touring will only be addressed, in any meaningful sense, via a visa waiver/cultural passport agreement with the EU, which exempts touring performers, creative teams and crews. 

Q. Who is supporting Carry on Touring?

We have some great supporters. See what UK politicians, artists, techs, dancers, performers, musicians & composers, industry and the trade bodies are saying.

Together we can work it out.

What’s next?

Following on from our successful UK-EU Summit on Thursday 20th May, we have written to Lord Frost the Brexit Minister, calling for urgent resolution to the post Brexit creative touring crisis.

The letter was signed by 1135 supporters of the Carry on Touring Campaign in just three days, including Members of Parliament from the House of Commons & the House of Lords, Industry suppliers and freelancers, artists, actors, musicians and members from all sectors of the creative industries.
We await his response.

Carry On Touring UK-EU Summit

The UK-EU Summit was recorded and the videos are available to watch on our YouTube channel using the link below.

What Have Carry on touring achieved so far?

1/. From a standing start in late December, Tim Brennan's petition was signed by 286,794 signatories, debated in Parliament and brought the post Brexit Creative touring issue into the limelight with the help of some great celebrity support.

2/. We held an EU/UK Summit with hundreds of attendees from across Europe to demonstrate support for creative touring professionals and artists. Speakers included cross party Parliamentarians and industry figures from across the UK and EU.

3/. We sent an open letter with 1135 signatories to Brexit Minister Lord Frost to demand Government fix the issues touring faces.

4/. We have leveraged cross-party support for our campaign and received support from high profile politicians.
5/. We've brought together the different parts of the creative industry to speak with one voice, including music, fashion, acting, dance, theatre, advertising & all the support staff that go with them.

6/. We've engaged with various groups across the EU, including Impala, UNI-MEI, Cross Border Services, Pearle, FIA, Vibelab, to help highlight the issues we face.

7/. We hold / attend regular meetings with various groups within the industry, including, Live!, RHA, C.R.E.W. Coalition, and our own Advisory group:

8/. We've pulled together useful information from various sectors of the creative industry into a Info Hub.

9/. Provided a platform for people from across the creative industries to be able to tell us their stories on how they are being affected by the post Brexit touring crisis.

10/. We offer advice for creatives struggling to find the right information necessary to work within the EU27 through various Facebook Forums.

We are the creative industry, this is what we do!

How you can I support the Campaign?

3 steps you can take today…

1.  Tim’s Petition is now closed but you can show your support by signing up for our news letter.

2. Follow us on Twitter and re-tweet our material.

3.  Signup to our mailing list to keep up with the Campaign news 

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