German band Trigger Cut have announced that they will no longer be attempting to tour in the UK after experiencing “degrading” treatment from border officials.
The Stuttgart-based punk band were set to play at seven UK venues this week but were refused entry into the country due to post-Brexit rule changes.
“Today we got refused at the UK border for weird reasons,” the band wrote in a Facebook update. “We would have needed a special certificate of sponsorship but no one knew before, not even the venues, promoters, or the German customs authority.”
“Brexit bureaucracy??? A post-Brexit nightmare,” they continued, adding that the whole ordeal at the UK border was “humiliating” and “sad”.
They elaborated on the reasons behind their denied entry into the UK in another update, saying that the UK authorities expected them to have “a so-called certificate of sponsorship from all seven clubs,” – something which they claim even the organisers were unfamiliar with.
“I think I’ve never felt so degraded, sad, and bad as I do today. We were completely unfairly rejected and were not allowed to enter the UK. We were handed over like criminals to the French border police and had to leave Calais,” the trio wrote, explaining that they won’t be attempting to tour the UK again.
“The pain and humiliation runs deep,” they said. “The first attempt to tour there had COVID devastated us and we were left with massive costs that were not repaid.”
Upon hearing about Trigger Cut’s experience, frontman of The Charlatans, Tim Burgess, took to Twitter and explained how Brexit is impacting touring musicians.
“UK based bands have faced all sorts of issues with European tour dates – Now artists from the EU are being hit with complex and unfathomable rules that are seeing them turned back – cancelling shows and incurring costs,” he wrote.
“Before long, upcoming bands and emerging artists won’t be able to play in Europe due to costs and red tape,” he continued. “Nobody from the EU will come to play here, filling our venues, inspiring the audience. Such a sad situation”
In response to the situation, a government spokesperson told The Guardian: “Musicians and performers are a valued and important part of UK culture […] The [visa] application process is designed to ensure that all visa decisions can be made using the most accurate information and is fair for all applicants.”
UK based bands have faced all sorts of issues with European tour dates – Now artists from the EU are being hit with complex and unfathomable rules that are seeing them turned back – cancelling shows and incurring costs pic.twitter.com/a2s7RvK0li
— Tim Burgess (@Tim_Burgess) April 8, 2023
The UK officially left the European Union on January 31, 2020. Since then, it has become increasingly difficult for musicians to make a living as the EU deal failed to negotiate visa-free travel and Europe-wide work permits for musicians and crew.
This impact was highlighted last year when the UK government warned that musicians “could find themselves unemployed en masse”. This followed a hearing at the House Of The Lords, which revealed the damage caused by Brexit to those wishing to tour across Europe.
Similarly, back in August figures from the UK music industry told NME that Brexit complications are “strangling the next generation of UK talent in the cradle”.
This came after a study conducted by Best For Britain – a group “pushing for closer relationships with Europe and the world” – proved that the number of British artists scheduled to perform in Europe had fallen by 45 per cent when compared to 2017-2019 (pre-Brexit).
Speaking with NME back in January, David Martin, CEO of the musicians’ body the Featured Artists Coalition, also discussed the lack of coherence for touring musicians, caused by Brexit.
“The clarity that we are uncovering just uncovers more complexities – it’s not making things simpler,” he said. “There’s been nowhere near enough engagement from the government. There’s a very long way to go. To get all of this information we’ve had to get it from multiple sources, but none of them were the government.”
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