Sir Elton John calls for ‘short-term fix’ making it easier for British musicians to tour Europe – Music News

The ‘Tiny Dancer’ hitmaker has spoken out after musicians were left out of the Brexit trade deal, meaning they may have to acquire visa for every European country they wish to perform in, a policy which critics fear mean may lead to such a large rise in costs, artists will be unable to afford to play in the EU.

Branding the current situation “ridiculous”, Elton wrote for The Guardian newspaper: “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.”

With Elton acknowledging that “renegotiating freedom of movement is complicated and is going to take a lot of time”, he called for a “support organisation” to help young artists navigate the new difficulties, particularly now when the coronavirus pandemic has provided a “window of opportunity” to get something in place while live music is still on hold.

He said: ” If you’ve just made your first album, and you’ve got that fresh momentum building behind you, it’s no use waiting for two or three years before you tour – you have to catch that energy while it’s on fire, you have to go out and play, and you have to take yourself to as many different audiences as possible.

“What musicians need now is a short-term fix. We should set up a support organisation, funded partly by the music industry itself, where artists who don’t have the kind of infrastructure that I benefit from can access lawyers and accountants to help them navigate the touring problems created by Brexit.

“The pandemic has put a stop to live music in the immediate future, so we should use the window of opportunity we have now to set this support organisation up.”

And the 73-year-old music legend felt it’s his own biggest critics who should support his campaign more than anyone else.

He wrote: “if you hate every note I’ve recorded, because your tastes are edgier, weirder and more exploratory – if you think that the Parisian hotdog thrower had a good point – you need to support musicians’ ability to tour.

“Because if Brexit prevents many new musicians from touring, the only artists who are going to have any meaningful kind of live career are big, august, mainstream artists like me. And, trust me, I don’t want that any more than you do.”

The issue is due to be debated in parliament on Monday (08.02.21) after over 280,000 musicians and music fans signed a petition calling for new negotiations with the EU.