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July 25, 2021

The Chhattisgarh

Beyond The Region

For UK Bands, touring Europe is now a freeway to Brexit hell

Written by Alex Marshall
When the British rock band Two Door Cinema Membership started taking part in reveals throughout Europe a decade in the past, the group’s three members would bounce in a van, throw their devices within the again and drive from their then-hometown, Belfast, Northern Eire, to sweaty golf equipment in Amsterdam, Berlin and Paris.
“We did that a whole bunch of instances,” bassist Kevin Baird stated not too long ago by cellphone. “All the pieces was at a second’s discover.”
Now, it’s not so easy for Two Door Cinema Membership — or any British act — to tour Europe. On July 9, the band headlined the Cruïlla music competition in Barcelona, Spain, taking part in to an viewers of 25,000 screaming followers. However due to Britain’s 2020 departure from the European Union, often known as Brexit, the band spent weeks beforehand making use of for visas and immersing themselves in difficult new guidelines round trucking and exporting merchandise corresponding to T-shirts.
Visas and journey inside Britain to use for them price 7,500 kilos, about $10,400, for the band, two further musicians and an eight-person crew, Baird stated. New guidelines imply {that a} British tour van carrying audio and lighting gear, or merchandise, could make solely three stops in mainland Europe earlier than it should return dwelling.
“It’s proved a headache when there was by no means a headache earlier than,” Baird stated. “If we had been a band beginning out, we wouldn’t have completed it.”
Earlier than British left the E.U., The Door Cinema Membership would head off on excursions at second’s discover. (Supply: New York Instances)
For a lot of this 12 months, Brexit has been a good larger speaking level in Britain’s music trade than the coronavirus pandemic. Since Jan. 1, when a commerce deal between Britain and the EU got here into drive, a whole bunch of British musicians — together with Dua Lipa and Radiohead — have complained that the deal makes touring the continent extra expensive for stadium acts, and virtually unattainable for brand new bands.
The brand new guidelines are “a looming disaster” for younger musicians, Elton John wrote on Instagram in June.
“That is about whether or not one of many U.Okay.’s most profitable industries, price 111 billion kilos a 12 months, is allowed to prosper and contribute vastly to each our cultural and financial wealth, or crash and burn,” he added.
Even musicians who supported Brexit have complained. Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of Iron Maiden, informed a TV interviewer in June that, though he welcomed Britain’s departure from the EU, he discovered the brand new guidelines unreasonable. He then addressed Britain’s authorities: “Get your act collectively.”

The furor over the laws has led to a blame recreation between Britain’s authorities and the EU over which aspect is chargeable for the brand new boundaries, and who made viable affords when negotiating the commerce deal.
No matter who’s accountable, the difficulty has grow to be a humiliation for the British authorities. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stated his authorities is working “flat out” on the difficulty.
“We should repair this,” he informed lawmakers in March.
But to this point, there hasn’t been sufficient progress to appease musicians. In June, Britain agreed to new commerce offers that the federal government stated would enable musicians to tour simply in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. This was met with disdain.
Two Door Cinema Membership band’s equipments. (Supply: New York Instances)
“Ah these notorious excursions of mountainous Liechtenstein with its whole lack of airport,” Simone Marie of the band Primal Scream wrote on Twitter.
“We’re all changing into more and more despondent,” stated Annabella Coldrick, CEO of Music Managers Discussion board, a commerce physique.
In June, she helped launch Let the Music Transfer, a marketing campaign for the federal government to compensate artists for the brand new further prices and renegotiate the tour guidelines.
“The issues are solely simply beginning to grow to be clear,” because the coronavirus pandemic eases and bands begin reserving excursions, Coldrick stated. The most important sticking level was the regulation that vans and vehicles can cease solely 3 times earlier than they need to return to Britain, she added.
A number of British music trucking companies have already moved a few of their operations to Eire to get across the guidelines. However Coldrick stated this was not a viable resolution: Vehicles would additionally should make longer journeys to choose bands up, rising prices. It additionally appeared like a poor end result for Britain, she stated, as a result of the nation was shedding corporations and staff.
For Two Door Cinema Membership, the principle problem was visas, stated band supervisor Colin Schaverien. In June, a member of the band’s crew was rejected for a visa on a technicality associated to his job title, so he needed to reapply. One other band member, based mostly in Belfast, was informed they needed to fly to Scotland for a visa appointment.

Regardless of the band’s issues earlier than touring to Spain, Two Door Cinema Membership’s present July 9 went off with no hitch.
“All of the issues we had been fearful about didn’t materialize,” Baird stated.
Brexit was the very last thing on his thoughts throughout the gig, he stated, but it surely reared its head the subsequent day when the band and crew headed to the airport to fly dwelling. Members of the group with Irish passports, which everybody born in Northern Eire can maintain in addition to a British one, breezed by passport management; these with British passports solely had been caught in line for an hour.
The band was happy with the journey, however Baird was fearful about how a extra difficult schedule would work.
“We’re all nicely conscious this was a one off live performance,” he stated. “What we’re apprehensive about is subsequent 12 months once we’re taking part in three completely different international locations in three days. I anticipate that might be loads more durable.”
This text initially appeared in The New York Instances.
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