Musicians and administrators on impact of U.K.’s Brexit restrictions on touring

Posted on: January 22, 2021

“We have seen enough over the past three weeks of the impact of Brexit on fishermen, haulers, wine merchants and a host of businesspeople,” writes Sophia Rahman in Thursday’s (1/21) Arts Desk (U.K.). “Some politicians and members of the public seem to believe that when [musicians are] touring we’re on a kind of permanent holiday.” Rahman cites regulations stating that touring musicians may perform and undertake work-related activities without visas and permits “if they are not being paid” beyond expenses or prizes. Rahman: “UK musicians are not on holiday…. This is their job, which they need to do in order to pay the bills. The profession of music is their livelihood, of which they are suffering an immediate and long-term loss as a direct result of the Brexit ‘agreement.’ Coming after—and alongside—the death-by-a-thousand-cuts of Covid restrictions, this is the final blow for many.” The article includes statements from musicians and administrators including Mark Pemberton, director of the Association of British Orchestras; violinist Samuel Staples; cellists Steven Isserlis and Robin Michael; Clare Thompson, violin professor at London’s Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance; Robert Plane, head of woodwind performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama; and Aliye Cornish, violist and CEO of the Irish Baroque Orchestra.