Brexiter Roger Daltrey criticises restrictions for musicians touring Europe

The Who frontman has been accused of hypocrisy after signing an open letter decrying the government’s position

Accused of hypocrisy after signing an open letter decrying the government’s position on musicians touring the EU post-Brexit despite previously endorsing Brexit, the Who’s Roger Daltrey has clarified his anti-Brussels stance, but argues the government should have prioritised the “easing of restrictions” for musicians and actors.

In 2019, Daltrey said he did not believe that Brexit would have a negative impact on the British music industry. “As if we didn’t tour Europe before the fucking EU,” he told Sky News. “Oh, give it up!”

However, his name appeared on a list of signatories – among them Elton John and Sting – who said that musicians had been “shamefully failed” by the government over the issue of touring, which has seen the UK and EU engaged in recriminations over who is to blame for the increased red tape facing British musicians at the border of each individual EU member state.

Following publication of the letter, Daltrey, 76, said: “Every tour, individual actors and musicians should be treated as any other ‘goods’ at the point of entry to the EU with one set of paperwork. Switzerland has borders with five EU countries and trade is electronically frictionless. Why not us?”

He clarified that he had not changed his position on Brexit. “I’m glad to be free of Brussels, not Europe. I would have preferred reform, which was asked for by us before the referendum and was turned down by the then president of the EU.”

The open letter published in the Times said that the extra costs associated with acquiring work permits and carnets “will make many tours unviable, especially for young emerging musicians who are already struggling to keep their heads above water owing to the Covid ban on live music. This negotiating failure will tip many performers over the edge.”

The UK government has confirmed that it will not pursue the “musicians’ passport” idea endorsed by the Musicians’ Union, but aimed to “facilitate” EU touring by working with EU member states to make life easier for those working in the creative industries in their respective countries.


Laura Snapes

The GuardianTramp

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