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UK culture minister: free movement “essential” for artists

The UK minister for sport, media and creative industries, Nigel Adams, has stated that the UK government will endeavour to support continued freedom of movement for touring musicians after the country leaves the European Union on 31 January.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday (21 January), Adams stressed the importance of touring – “the lifeblood of the industry” – and of freedom of movement for “musicians, equipment and merchandise”.

“Visa rules for artists performing in the EU will not change until the implementation period ends in December 2020. It’s absolutely essential that free movement for artists is protected post-2020,” said Adams.

Michael Dugher, former CEO of umbrella body UK Music, previously described the prospect of losing free movement as “a death knell for touring”, with many other industry figures raising concerns over the additional costs, delays and red tape artists would face in a post-Brexit world.

“It’s absolutely essential that free movement for artists is protected post-2020”

The minster also stated the government was committed to supporting the “fantastic UK music industry at home and abroad”, adding that a “comprehensive music strategy” needed to be implemented to ensure the industry “continues to be the envy of the world”.

The Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music, Conor McGinn, noted that the UK music industry “punches well above its weight economically”, citing the £5.2 billion it generates each year, as well as having a “profound effect on health and wellbeing”.

McGinn admitted that “challenges still exist” with regards to business rates for music venues – which were addressed both in the ruling Conservative Party manifesto and in the Queen’s speech – asking when relief would come in.

The debate was praised by Tom Kiehl, deputy CEO of UK Music, who says: “I would like to thank all the MPs from across the political spectrum who made such brilliant and heartfelt contributions about the importance of the UK music industry to our economy and society.

“We look forward to working with [Adams] on the new music strategy and a host of other areas to continue to grow our industry.”


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UK debates banning flares and fireworks at music events

The British parliament is to debate whether to ban the carrying or use of flares, fireworks and smoke bombs by audience members at concerts and music festivals.

Nigel Adams, the member of parliament for Selby and Ainsty in Yorkshire and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music, which provides a discussion forum between the UK music industry and parliamentarians, will argue the case today with a 10-minute rule motion in the House of Commons.

“I am very pleased to have the opportunity to bring this issue before the house,” says Adams (pictured). “Many people I talk to are stunned to find out that carrying and deploying flares and fireworks in the crowd at a live music event is not banned, unlike at football matches, where spectators can count on the protection of the law.

“It’s time we make the law on these dangerous articles consistent at both music and sporting events”

“This measure has support across the board – from fans wanting to focus on the music [to] performers wanting to put on a good uninterrupted show and organisers wanting to provide a safe event – as well as from MPs right across the house. It’s time we make the law on these dangerous articles consistent at both music and sporting events.”

There were 255 incidents involving flares and fireworks in music audiences in 2014 compared to three at football grounds in the same period.

The motion will not seek to ban allowing artists and promoters to use pyrotechnics in their shows.