UK DJs and musicians will be able to tour Spain visa-free under new deal


British DJs and musicians will be able to tour Spain visa-free under a new deal hailed as “a big win”.

Throughout 2020 and 2021, representatives of the music industry in Britain have expressed concerns about the high costs, complex rules and onerous visa requirements created by the UK’s departure from European Union, effectively making touring the block unaffordable for many artists.

Spain is one of the biggest overseas markets for UK artists, thanks in part to major festivals such as Primavera Sound and Sónar. It was therefore a priority for the two countries to reach an agreement.

It has now been confirmed that talks between UK touring body LIVE, the Association of British Orchestras (ABO), the Spain-based Asociación Promotores Musicale and the Spanish government have resulted in an agreement which means any touring in Spain with a duration of less than 90 days will no longer be subject to visa rules.

“We are delighted that our hard work has paid off and that the Spanish government has agreed to lift the restrictive visa process for touring artists, ending the complicated and painful process of expensive visa applications. are coming together here and in Spain to address this and it shows what we can achieve as an industry when we work together,” said Craig Stanley, President of LIVE Touring Group.

However, some complications remain, including those related to freight transport and cabotage. Currently, transport trucks from the UK are only allowed to make one stop in an EU state before they have seven days to return home, with two additional stops allowed during this time. This means that the crew, instruments, stage equipment and other elements encounter extreme problems within the block.

“We call on the government to follow our lead and work urgently to set the rules with the remaining member states so we can continue to travel across the European Union,” Stanley added.

“It’s super frustrating having to pay customs to bring your merchandising items into the EU. You have to get carnets for all your equipment and all the costs that weren’t there before add up,” said Ina Tatarko . NME after the manager’s band, Squid, canceled the Spanish legs of their upcoming tour.

“For emerging artists, these are costs that they cannot meet out of nowhere. A supporting European tour would be a great way to raise their careers and profiles, but that filters a lot of them out because you would have to have the funds to do it.”

Unlike the new Spanish deal, many EU countries still require visas for musicians and other artists to work and tour within their borders. In August, the UK government was accused of “meaningless posturing” and “skinning” on a high-profile deal with 19 of the bloc’s members allowing visa-free tours. The criticisms were largely due to the length of the period covered by the arrangement varying from 14 to 90 days.

In July, Lord David Frost, Britain’s Brexit minister, denied responsibility for the ongoing touring crisis, which has unfolded since the UK left the EU in January 2020. However, figures from figureheads of the national music scene, including The Chemical Brothers, Kelly Lee Owens and Kano – have joined UK Music in demanding that more action be taken to rectify the situation.


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