Elton John declares musicians are facing a ‘looming catastrophe’ due to Brexit travel restrictions

Sir Elton John has said musicians are facing a ‘looming catastrophe’ because of post-Brexit travel restrictions on touring in the European Union.

New travel rules came into force at the beginning of the year that do not guarantee visa-free travel for musicians in the EU. 

The Rocketman hitmaker, 74, revealed that last month he met with Brexit minister Lord Frost, his husband David Furnish and Craig Stanley, an agent at the Marshall Arts touring agency, to discuss the issue.

Candid: Sir Elton John has said musicians are facing a ‘looming catastrophe’ because of post-Brexit travel restrictions on touring in the European Union (pictured last month)

His statement was read out by Mr Stanley in a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee hearing on EU visa arrangements for those in the creative industries.

Sir Elton’s statement said: ‘Put bluntly, we are currently in grave danger of losing a generation of talent due to the gaping holes in the Government’s trade deal.

‘New and emerging artists will be unable to tour Europe freely – an essential part of their education and development – due to the prohibitive costs of visas, carnets and permits.

‘However, despite this looming catastrophe, the Government seems unable or unwilling to fix this gaping hole in their trade deal and defaults to blaming the EU rather than finding ways out of this mess.’

Music icon: New travel rules came into force at the beginning of the year that do not guarantee visa-free travel for musicians in the EU - with the music icon, 74, speaking out (pictured 2020)

Music icon: New travel rules came into force at the beginning of the year that do not guarantee visa-free travel for musicians in the EU – with the music icon, 74, speaking out (pictured 2020)

He added his objections ‘aren’t about the impact on me and artists who tour arenas and stadiums’.

‘We are lucky enough to have the support staff, finance and infrastructure to cut through the red tape that Lord Frost’s no-deal has created,’ he said.

‘The gravest of situations is about the damage to the next generation of musicians and emerging artists, whose careers will stall before they’ve even started due to this infuriating blame game.

‘If I had faced the financial and logistical obstacles facing young musicians now when I started out, I’d never have had the opportunity to build the foundations of my career and I very much doubt I would be where I am today.’

Speech: His statement was read out by Mr Stanley in a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee hearing on EU visa arrangements for those in the creative industries

Speech: His statement was read out by Mr Stanley in a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee hearing on EU visa arrangements for those in the creative industries 

Heartbreaking: Sir Elton's statement said: 'Put bluntly, we are currently in grave danger of losing a generation of talent due to the gaping holes in the Government's trade deal'Emotional: The star spoke up for new talent in his speech

Heartbreaking: Sir Elton’s statement said: ‘Put bluntly, we are currently in grave danger of losing a generation of talent due to the gaping holes in the Government’s trade deal’

At the beginning of the committee hearing on Thursday, chair Julian Knight criticised Lord Frost for failing to attend.

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