‘I’m on the warpath’ Elton John requests meeting with Boris Johnson over post-Brexit issue
19th September 2021

Lord Frost grilled on Elton John's criticism of EU talks

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Sir Elton John, 74, has spoken out after requesting a meeting with Boris Johnson, 57, over post-Brexit touring issues he is currently worried about as a musician. It comes after new rules implemented at the beginning of the year do not guarantee visa-free travel for musicians in the bloc.

The rules have caused concerns that touring musicians will incur large fees in many of the countries they visit.

Although the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) previously said it had negotiated with 19 EU countries to allow British musicians and performers to conduct short tours without the need for a visa, Sir Elton has slammed this as a “rehash of what we already know”.

Addressing the issue during his Rocket Hour show on Apple Music 1, the Cold Heart hitmaker claimed the Prime Minister has yet to respond to his request for a meeting.

The singer said: “The Rocket Hour has a special theme this week. Every artist that I’m going to play is a young British artist who at the moment is not able to tour because of what happened with the Brexit situation.

“What has happened is that it’s impossible for young artists financially to pay for visas, negotiate their way through all of the red tape that’s necessary for going to Europe.

“It’s financially impossible for them to do so. So I’m on the warpath to try and get this sorted out. 

“And I’ve requested a meeting with Boris Johnson; I’ve yet to hear back from him.”

The star, who announced yesterday he has been forced to delay his forthcoming European and UK tour due to injury, said travelling abroad and playing to foreign audiences is “imperative” for the development of up and coming British talent.

 

He explained: “It’s very important because, when I was a young man, I went to Germany when I was 17, I didn’t earn very much, but it just gave me a taste of what travelling abroad was like and different cultures.

“And it’s so imperative for young artists to have that opportunity to do that. It makes them grow as songwriters, as artists and as human beings. 

“And it’s their right to be able to tour wherever they want to do.

“And so, at the moment they can’t, but we’re going to try and fix it.”

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While signing off, Sir Elton vowed “to continue to try and fight for this because it’s a desperate thing that’s holding young artists back”.

He also asked listeners who shared his concerns to lobby their local MP, saying: “I’m always astonished by the amount of young talent that comes out of Great Britain and it breaks my heart that these people are being held back by these ridiculous Brexit rules.

“Britain is a hotbed of talent. And if you listened to this show today, you heard songs by incredible young artists.

“That’s proving my point. And I will constantly try and improve the situation and get it sorted out.”

In June, Sir Elton told fans that he and husband David Furnish had a meeting with Brexit minister Lord Frost and Craig Stanley, an agent at the Marshal Arts touring agency, to discuss post-Brexit touring.

A Government spokesman said at the time: “We have spoken to every member state and 19 have confirmed musicians and performers do not require visas or work permits for short-term tours.

“The duration of visa and work permit-free touring varies from member state to member state, and for many, including France and Germany, it is for up to three months.

“Travellers should check what requirements they need to fulfil with the EU member state they are travelling to, and we are working with member states to ensure they have in place clear guidance.”

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