Brexit: musicians, performers and technicians are being thrown under the bus. It’s madness.

A hard-hitting thread was posted on Twitter yesterday by composer and broadcaster, Howard Goodall. He called it the “Bad News Advent calendar.” Brexit is going to make life doubly difficult for the thousands of people working in the performing arts, just when they are already seeing their livelihoods wrecked by Covid-19. This is not just about the performer on stage. It’s about the army of hard-working people backstage, the exhibition teams, the drivers, the sound and lighting technicians.

Brexit is a monumental act of self harm and no amount of spin or wishful thinking can make it otherwise. We are publishing this thread so that we can all better understand the impact it has on real people, real lives. Please share it widely.

First things first, you’ll need a passport with at least 6 months left on it. And you’ll need full travel/third party/health insurance, since if you get ill or have an accident every penny of your care will have to be paid for.

To work or do a gig you’re going to need a work visa, just like you do for the USA. But here’s the thing. Work permits & visas and the conditions attached are a matter not for the EU but for the member states themselves.

Yes, every member state controls who comes in and who doesn’t and what the rules will be for work and residency. It’s almost as if the Brexiters have been lying about this ALL ALONG. EU members CONTROL THEIR OWN BORDERS.

So you’ll need to get a work permit for every country you’re intending to work or gig in and the rules are often different, as are the rules on eg taxation of that work (eg Spain has a withholding tax, France does not)

Yes, every member state in the EU CONTROLS ITS OWN TAXATION POLICY. We already had control of our borders, our currency & our tax as members of the EU: who knew?

[Fun fact: in Germany, you need to verify a contract to work there, the verification needs a passport, and the new Brexity-Blue UK passports are incompatible with the ID system they use. Cheers, Brexit Govt] 7/

If you play an instrument, you’ll need an ‘ATA Carnet’ for it, to cross the EU border and any within the EU thereafter. This applies to all kinds of professional equipment you may need 8/

You get an ATA Carnet from the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry and they cost £351.60 each (or £562.80 for their express 2 hr service) and they last 12 months. This is for each instrument/item. Pity the sax player who travels with sop, alto & tenor in her bag, that’s just short of a grand a time. Imagine the bill for an orchestra. Let’s hope those gigs are well paid!

If for any reason the equipment/instrument you take with you is going to stay in the EU when you come home (ie you sell/rent it/give it away), you will need a C88(SAD) export declaration (just 8 parts, 12 pages to complete) from the UK Govt.

Oh and if your (valuable, old) instrument contains materials derived from any endangered species, eg ivory from elephants, you will need either a FED0172 certificate or a CITES form too, from the APHA Centre in Bristol.

Remember, you need to get offered the gig in the first place, competing against our creative counterparts still in the EU, none of whom will cost their employer any of this additional expense or bureaucratic hassle. Ditto dancers, actors, singers, designers, technicians etc.

Then there’s getting there. You’ll need your van/haulier to get an EU haulage licence, neither quick nor cheap nor easy (around 80,000 hauliers in the UK are currently after one of the 1,800 available). And crossing from a non-EU country to an EU one by lorry you’ll need to factor in a long-ish wait at the border. Pre-Brexit average at Dover-Calais was a few minutes per vehicle, Ukraine to Poland (non-EU to EU) anything from 1 to 32 hours. [BTW, these rules mostly don’t apply to going to the lovely Republic of Ireland, which we LOVE. Thank you, kindly Irish people 🇮🇪]

When you get across the channel, turn data roaming on your phone OFF, swiftly, or you’ll get stung for big bills now we’ve withdrawn from the EU’s roam-anywhere deal. If you connect with your fans/followers/customers via social media using phone networks, these costs could be colossal, so wait till you find somewhere with free wi-fi! (If you want to take advantage of the EU’s cheap & easy roaming by cannily buying a burner in eg France with a French number, you’ll need a registered French address to do so fyi)

Maybe you’ve heard about the possibility of an Artists’/Musicians’ Passport, advocated by creative industry unions like @WeAreTheMU, which will save all this bother/expense but as I write this is a dream not a reality. I doubt the words have even crossed Lord Frost’s lips.

That’s because Frosty & his Brexit Overlords in Downing St are WAY more concerned about fishing, an industry over ONE HUNDRED TIMES smaller than the Creative sector.

As far as can be gleaned from the documents published about the negotiations under way, none of the above issues will be resolved in the flimsy deal Trumpy Johnson will try to sell as a triumph. Maybe that’ll change in the remaining days left. Maybe.

Final thought. Everything we do as creative artists – everything – is about removing the barriers between people. We do collaboration, reducing conflict, bringing people closer, unity, friendship, enjoyment & shared experience.

We’ll cope, somehow, of course, but forgive us for thinking that the putting up of all these new hurdles, fences & frontiers is pointless, retrogressive & counter-productive and that the swindlers who sold the empty, nationalist elixir are basically bad people.

Originally tweeted by Howard Goodall (@Howard_Goodall) on 11/11/2020.