Sir Elton John has said musicians face an ‘imminent catastrophe’ due to post-Brexit travel restrictions on touring the European Union.
At the beginning of this year, new travel rules came into effect that do not guarantee visa-free travel for musicians in the EU.
The Rocketman hitmaker, 74, revealed he met with Brexit secretary Lord Frost, his husband David Furnish and Craig Stanley, an agent at the Marshall Arts tour agency, last month to discuss the matter.
Candid: Sir Elton John has said musicians face ‘imminent catastrophe’ due to post-Brexit travel restrictions on touring in the European Union (pictured last month)
His statement was read by Mr Stanley at a hearing of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on EU visa schemes for people in the creative industries.
Sir Elton’s statement said: ‘Basically, we are currently in great danger of losing a generation of talent as a result of the gaping holes in the government’s trade deal.
New and emerging artists will not be able to tour Europe freely – an essential part of their training and development – due to the prohibitive costs of visas, carnets and permits.
“Despite this impending catastrophe, however, the government seems unable or unwilling to close this gaping hole in their trade deal and is blaming the EU instead of finding ways to get out of this mess.”
Music icon: new travel rules came into effect at the beginning of this year that do not guarantee visa-free travel for musicians in the EU – with the music icon, 74, speaking (photo 2020)
He added that his concerns are “not about the impact on me and artists touring arenas and stadiums.”
“We are fortunate to have the support staff, finances and infrastructure to cut through the bureaucracy caused by Lord Frost’s no-deal,” he said.
“The most serious situation is about the damage to the next generation of musicians and emerging artists, whose careers will stall before they even start, because of this annoying blame game.
“If I started out with the financial and logistical hurdles that young musicians face, I would never have had a chance to build the foundation of my career and I very much doubt I would be where I am today.”
Speech: His statement was read by Mr Stanley at a hearing of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on EU visa schemes for people in the creative industries
Heartbreaking: Sir Elton’s statement reads: ‘Basically, we are currently in grave danger of losing a generation of talent through the gaping holes in the government’s trade deal’
At the start of the committee hearing on Thursday, chair Julian Knight criticized Lord Frost for not attending.
Mr Knight said he was “dismayed” at the move, adding that it “raised an eyebrow or two” as he blamed the G7 conference in Cornwall for the cancellation, an event he says was not. was ‘unexpected’.
In a statement, he added: “Parliamentary scrutiny for selected committees is critical in our democratic system and is especially important when we have a government with a majority of over 80.
It comes into focus even more when the government chooses to appoint members of the House of Lords to the cabinet. Ministers in the Cabinet of the House of Commons have control over questions, Urgent Statements and Departmental questions. They are responsible every day. It is unacceptable that Lords are not responsible when they hold high office.”
Elton Honored: Elton received the prestigious Icon Award at the iHeartRadio Awards last month honoring his decades in the music industry
In January, Sir Elton, along with fellow musicians including Roger Waters and Ed Sheeran, signed a letter criticizing the government’s Brexit deal for not including visa-free travel for musicians.
Last month, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said artists can tour without visas or work permits in at least 17 of the European Union’s 27 member states.
He told the Committee on Digital, Culture, Media and Sport that he has been talking to every EU country on the matter since January.
However, Noel McClean, leader of the entertainment union Bectu, told the committee there are still “various degrees of bureaucracy still associated with those 17 member states.”
Mr Dowden’s comments “do not quite match the expectation that you can do what you could before,” he added.
There have been calls from across the performing arts industry for a cultural work permit agreement between the government and the EU, with a petition on the matter garnering more than 280,000 signatures.
A government spokesperson said: ‘We want musicians and other creative professionals to easily tour abroad.
‘Short, temporary visits for paid performances by British musicians are possible in at least 17 EU countries, including France, Germany and the Netherlands, without the need for visas or work permits.
“However, we recognize the difficulties the sector still faces. That’s why we’re working closely with individual Member States to encourage them to be more flexible, in line with the UK’s own rules, making it easy for creative professionals to tour here.”
Promote: He added that he is trying to ‘promote young artists’ because ‘they need exposure’, adding that he’s had his ‘time in the sun’