Elton John joins artists lambasting Brexit negotiators over deal for British musicians

Wednesday, February 10
Ciarán Mather

The deal made by Brexit negotiators over the ability of artists to tour without visas has been controversial, with many artists now lobbying the UK government to reassess their decision.

Well-known musicians such as Sting, Bob Geldof and Radiohead's Thom York have expressed their dissatisfaction over the UK's new law; and now, they can count Elton John amongst their ranks.

The I'm Still Standing singer told The Guardian: 'Either the Brexit negotiators didn’t care about musicians, or didn’t think about them, or weren’t sufficiently prepared. They screwed up.' 

'It’s ultimately down to the British government to sort it out: they need to go back and renegotiate.'

He added: 'The situation we’re currently in is ridiculous. Music is one of Britain’s greatest cultural exports.' 

'It’s a £5.8 billion industry that got left out of the Brexit trade negotiations, when others weren’t.'

Concerns first arose about the UK's new ruling at the start of the year, with many expressing concerns that it would give British artists no choice but to pay for expensive and arduous country-specific visas and equipment carnets when touring Europe.

The news follows just as the UK's Culture Minister, Caroline Dinenage, is set to soon face questions as other MPs debate the issue on Monday, following a public petition signed by 280,000 people entitled 'Seek Europe-wide visa-free work permit for touring professionals and artists.'

Another musician who criticised the UK's proposal last month was Ronan Keating, who publicly appealed to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for a meeting with him in order to facilitate a discussion over the new law.

The former Boyzone singer recently added that the new rules are 'devastating to the live industry' and further described them as being 'ridiculous.'

In addition, a recent study found that 76 per cent of UK musicians will stop performing in Europe post-Brexit.