Musicians permit plight gains momentum

The lack of visa free travel in the EU for professional musicians is starting to make the newspaper headlines.

  Travel in the EU is going to be difficult under the present arrangements.

As was reported on 4BR recently professional musicians now face the lack of a free cultural work permit from 1st January allows UK nationals to enjoy visa free travel throughout the 27 EU states either as individuals bands or as part of groups.

Potentially it means that each person must undertake individual visa applications for each country they work in on any tour.

Petition signatures

4BR reported that a petition which currently has attracted over 225,000 signatures means that the issue must be considered by the Government for debate.

The story has since been taken up by many leading national newspapers, with the Guardian reporting on what they called the 'double whammy' of "Covid-19 restrictions and costly post-Brexit bureaucracy that could decimate European touring."

Massive issue

Naomi Pohl, the deputy general secretary of the Musicians' Union, said work permits were going to be a particular problem when touring with larger classical music groups such as orchestras.

She told the Guardian; "When you're dealing with an orchestra, you're talking about 70 musicians needing to get a work permit. So it's a massive issue."

The article stated that foreign tours for orchestras brought in revenue of £14.4m in 2019.

Meanwhile, smaller professional groups or those with freelance professional musicians in their ranks also face problems.

Meanwhile, smaller professional groups or those with freelance professional musicians in their ranks also face problems4BR

DCMS response

In response a DCMS spokesperson told the Guardian that despite pushing for "an ambitious agreement", their proposals were not accepted.

They stated: "We recognise that there could be some additional processes for those working in creative industries, but we have ensured that the visa application processes for longer-term business travel will be transparent to provide certainty and clarity."

More information:

For more information about the petition go to:

Become a supporter and help make our future secure.

4barsrest continues to be a proudly independent voice. There are no paywalls to overcome to be able to enjoy what we do to keep our journalism at the heart of the brass banding world. Support us with a one-off donation or subscribe from just £2.50 per month.

Support us    


Yorkshire Youth enjoy virtual get together

January 22 • The first virtual course of 2021 of the Yorkshire Youth Brass Band was a great success — with another planned for March.


Calling all early morning risers...

January 22 • The swans at Ulley Country Park, Rotherham enjoy an early morning post horn call...


Duguid returns for second Regency era

January 22 • Alan Duguid returns to Regent Brass for a second time as Musical Director.


New President for PRS

January 21 • Award winning singer and composer Michelle Escoffrey has been appointed President of the PRS Members' Council.

Black Dyke Band - Brighouse & Rastrick, Huddersfield Town Hall

Saturday 27 March • Corporation St, Huddersfield HD1 2TA

Contest: 100thSpring Festival

Saturday 8 May • 97 Church St, Blackpool, FY1 1HL

Contest: Whit Friday March Contests

Friday 28 May • Saddleworth & Tameside OL3

Contest: 168th British Open

Saturday 11 September • Symphony Hall, Broad Street, Birmingham. B1 2EA

Contest: Lower Section National Finals

Saturday 18 September • The Centaur, Cheltenham Race Course, Prestbury, Cheltenham GL40 4SH

The Marple Band

January 22 • Are you looking for a change of scene after lockdown has ended. The Marple Band are a friendly group of 1st Section musicians who are looking for an Eb Bass and Bb Bass player and tutti cornets.

Newstead Brass

January 18 • Due to impending motherhood, Newstead Brass (Championship section 2021) require PRINCIPAL CORNET to lead the band when rehearsals resume and to the planned section 1 national finals in September. Come and work with our esteemed MD, Jim Davies.

Newstead Brass

January 18 • Newstead Brass (Championship section 2021) require PRINCIPAL TROMBONE to lead the section when rehearsals resume and to the section 1 national finals in September (should they go ahead) and beyond. Come and work with our esteemed MD, Jim Davies.

Mike Sheppard

B.A. (Hons) Music
Composer, conductor, teacher, author


 © 2021 4barsrest.com Ltd