Due to Brexit and the ensuing trade agreements between Spain and the UK, touring from the UK to the European Union (EU) member states, has become complex and extremely costly.
It was reported that Visa-free travel and Europe-wide work permits for musicians were not fully considered during the Brexit negotiations — and the UK government was criticized for insufficiently dealing with cultural industries, according to The Guardian.
After months of collaboration between Spain’s Asociación Promotores Musicales (APM), UK’s Live Music Industry Venues and Entertainment (LIVE), and Association for British Orchestras (ABO), a lobby from both sides passed — Spanish visas would no longer be needed for short-term engagements.
Previously, as stated by LIVE Touring Group, artists and their production teams were required to wait for over a month for a decision on a proposed tour, making long-term scheduling, a vital component to successful international tours, problematic.
Until now, artists had to make applications for short-term visas entirely in Spanish and provide itinerary details including accommodation, flight allocations, and proof of earnings of up to almost £1,000. Costs could amount to over £10,000 for an ensemble to tour Spain for just five days.
“We are delighted that our hard work has paid off and the Spanish Government has agreed to lift the restrictive visa process for touring artists, ending the complicated and painful process of expensive visa applications,” said Craig Stanley, Chair of the LIVE Touring Group. “A whole host of people came together both here and in Spain to fix this situation and this shows what we can achieve as an industry when we work together.”
While the Spanish government’s change on post-Brexit visa requirements is a welcome decision to the UK’s music industry, the latter are aware of certain issues still remaining which will render many tours unable to go ahead.
Issues for UK artists touring in Spain involve matters of transporting equipment and cabotage rules, which permit vehicles traveling from the UK to make only one stop in the EU state before a maximum of two more in just seven days before returning home.
“We are calling on the Government to follow our lead and urgently work to fix the rules with the remaining member states so that we can continue to tour across the entirety of the EU,” Stanley added.
According to a recent tweet from Nadine Dorries, secretary of state for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) regarding the news of the policy change in Spain, “21 [EU] Member States now offer visa and permit-free routes for touring performers,” and there are “six more to go.”