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No Deal Brexit might impact touring for UK musicians
Photography Danny Howe, via Unsplash

Here’s how a No Deal Brexit could make touring impossible for musicians

Music industry figures have warned that artists could suffer following the government’s publication of guidelines which detail potential new rules for touring Europe

We already know that a No Deal Brexit could lead to medicine shortages, increased supermarket prices, and widespread tension. Now it turns out it could also make it impossible for some UK musicians to go on tour.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has outlined its guidelines for touring Europe in the event of No Deal, with music industry figures telling the Guardian it might make it “simply unviable for many artists” who will face extra issues with documentation, travel, and the transport of goods.

As well as potentially needing visas and work permits, artists taking their own vehicles on tour will need a ‘green card’ to drive abroad, as well as a GB sticker, and possibly an International Driving Permit (IDP). HMRC would stop issuing forms that allow self-employed people to work temporarily in Europe, and musicians might need to pay local contributions as well as national insurance. European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) may not be valid after Brexit, meaning anyone travelling to the EU will need to buy insurance. Artists may also need to buy a carnet (a passport for merchandise) to bring goods into Europe, including publicity materials and work equipment, which costs £325.

Michael Dugher, the chief executive of industry-funded body UK Music, expressed his concerns to the Guardian. “Superstars who make millions and book their tours months if not years in advance are very much the exception,” he said. “Most artists operate on tiny margins and the prospect of extra cost and bureaucracy would kill their ability to tour, develop their talent, and build their fanbase.”

Dugher also warned that the need for a carnet could have a “hugely negative impact” when it comes to selling merch, and could result in an income loss of up to 40 per cent, “jeopardising future tours, damaging Britain’s export earnings, and threatening our talent pipelines”. 

The likelihood of a No Deal Brexit was reduced last month after a bill to stop it – put forward by the opposition and rebel MPs – became law. The bill forces Boris Johnson to seek a three-month extension from the EU (something he said he would never do) unless MPs approve a deal, or agree to No Deal. Johnson is required to send the extension request himself, and his refusal would likely lead to court action.

While the future of Brexit is still uncertain – who knows WTF is going on at this point – the detrimental impacts of No Deal are getting clearer everyday. Here’s hoping Johnson resigns as prime minister to focus on his new Snapchat influencer career.