UK stars launch attack on government for failing to secure visa-free travel for artists post-Brexit

Britain’s biggest musical names have launched an attack on the government’s failure to secure visa-free travel for performers to EU countries after Brexit. 

Sting, Sir Elton John and Sir Simon Rattle are among the more than 1,000 signatories to a letter accusing the government of “shamefully failing” British artists. 

The musicians said the government’s “negotiating failure” will threaten the future of cultural exchange with the EU. 

Ministers have insisted that visa-free travel for UK performers was lost because the EU rejected the government’s plans for a “more ambitious agreement”.

The UK’s post-Brexit travel rules, which came into force on January 1, do not guarantee visa-free travel for artists and other creatives throughout the EU’s 27 member states.

However, the European Commission said that it was Britain’s fault that musicians are not one of the professions covered in visa-free stays in the bloc, which will mean greater costs for touring.

The letter published in The Times is also signed by the violinist Nicola Benedetti and heads of the leading opera companies, plus Bob Geldof, Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor, Joss Stone and Iron Maiden.