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UK bands get “reality check” on Brexit legislation

White Lies and New Pagans are among the latest artists to report a myriad of issues on European tours, caused by the post-Brexit trade deal

By IQ on 08 Apr 2022


image © Flickr/Hovefestivalen

With the restart of international touring, UK bands say they are getting a “reality check” on the challenges presented by the post-Brexit trade deal.

A year on from the deal and the live music industry is still battling to resolve issues around immigration, social security, carnets, cabotage and VAT.

London-hailing band White Lies yesterday (7 April) cancelled a show in Paris after their equipment was detained by Brexit legislation.

In a statement titled “Sad News” the band wrote: “To our dear fans here in Paris, We and our crew have arrived safely this morning to start our European tour. But our equipment has been detained by Brexit legislation leaving England, along with countless other trucks.

“We are aware this happened to [another] British band last week. We’re devastated to say that without our equipment we do not have a show, and tonight’s has to be cancelled and rescheduled. It’s heartbreaking to be here in this wonderful city, and unable to perform due to such a trivial issue.”

Elsewhere, Belfast-based band New Pagans, who have returned home from a European tour with Skunk Anansie, says: “Brexit and Covid have truly done a number on small bands.”

“To break even on a tour, or even come home with a little profit was always the goal… to come home from a tour having accumulated massive debt is now the reality for many small and independent bands in 2022,” reads a tweet from the band.

“Fuel costs, tolls, venues taking 25% of merch, buying a carnet to get through customs: just a few things conspiring against you.”

Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) CEO David Martin recently told IQ that “for smaller artists, the cost of the carnet and the bond are prohibitive when it comes to touring”.

While Craig Stanley, tour producer for Marshall Arts and chair of the LIVE touring group, called the carnet process a “bureaucratic nightmare for smaller artists”.

Read more about the issues around immigration, social security, carnets, cabotage and VAT for UK touring musicians here.

 


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