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.

Contributor

Laura Snapes

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
The Royal Albert Hall at 150: 'It's the Holy Grail for musicians'
It’s hosted opera greats, suffragette rallies, Hitchcock films, sports events, sci-fi conventions – and, of course, the Proms and countless rock gigs. Artists from Led Zeppelin to Abba recall their moments on the hallowed stage

Interviews by Michael Segalov

29, Mar, 2021 @5:00 AM

Article image
No-deal Brexit may make touring Europe 'unviable' for UK artists
Bands, theatre groups and sports clubs could be badly hit by need for visas, carnets and documents

Laura Snapes

03, Oct, 2019 @6:22 PM

Article image
Brexit touring row: UK proposals not fit for purpose, says EU
UK and EU in blame game which may leave British musicians forced to pay for expensive and laborious country-specific visas and equipment carnets when touring the continent

Laura Snapes

14, Jan, 2021 @2:26 PM

Article image
Rocketmen and stardust: why music biopics dominate the film industry
Pop star glamour is an increasingly bankable asset for movie producers, with biopics of David Bowie, Keith Moon and others coming in the wake of Bohemian Rhapsody

Dave Simpson

01, Feb, 2019 @1:15 PM

Article image
The Who confirm first new studio album in 13 years
The group will also undertake what Roger Daltrey has said could be their last tour

Laura Snapes

14, Jan, 2019 @10:34 AM

Article image
Radiohead, New Order and more artists call for overhaul of post-Brexit touring rules
More than 200 UK acts including the Chemical Brothers, Kano and Wolf Alice back Let the Music Move initiative, calling for financial help and cutting red tape for EU tours

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

23, Jun, 2021 @10:09 AM

Article image
Roger Daltrey – review
Daltrey may forget the occasional lyric but, after Tommy, works like a curator, dusting off gems the Who haven't played in 30 years, writes Dave Simpson

Dave Simpson

05, Jul, 2011 @6:30 PM

Article image
Tommy review – Ken Russell's mad rock opera pinballs back into cinemas
Russell’s adaptation of the Who’s concept album about a blind pinball wizard is a fascinating time capsule featuring Oliver Reed, Elton John, Jack Nicholson, Tina Turner and Eric Clapton

Peter Bradshaw

22, Nov, 2019 @2:00 PM

Article image
The Who: Who review – back and still causing a big sensation
Despite their precarious relationship, Daltrey and Townshend return for their first album in 13 years, snarling at the Grenfell disaster and hoping for world peace

Alexis Petridis

28, Nov, 2019 @12:00 PM

Article image
The Who review: teenage zeal undimmed by passing of years
Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey deploy full orchestra to electrifying effect

Stevie Chick

07, Jul, 2019 @9:48 AM