It looks like musicians in the UK have finally noticed that the ongoing Brexit foot-gun disaster has turned "Europe" into a distant, foreign land that requires work visas. In other words, it will now be as difficult for a British band to play Paris or Berlin as it is for them to play San Francisco.
Welcome to The Colonies, you guys! We've been dealing with this shit forever. You have our sympathy.
Brexit will be "catastrophic" for British touring artists, music industry warns:
On fears that the state of play could become similar to that with the US, which recently increased visa costs by 50% with another potential 24% rise looming, Pritchard added: "The American touring model is interesting because it shows us just how costly touring can be for just wanting to play in one country.
"If you want to play a 10-date tour in five different countries across the continent and the costs are anything like what they are in the States, then you're looking at costs of £7,500 per person before you've even left the country. For a minimum touring party of four of you in the band and three in the crew, you're looking at about £45,000. You aren't going to cover that in fees and t-shirt sales." [...]
"If you take t-shirts to sell, then you'd be importing them into the EU and have to report what sold and what hasn't. There were tales from the pre-EU days where you'd take out four pairs of drumsticks, bring back three and they'd charge you for the pair that you'd broken at your gig in Belgium."
But they have a petition, so uh, good luck with that.
For those of you who don't realize what a nightmare it is for small, non-US bands to tour here, here's how it works... Or used to work. In the Before Times, when tours were a thing that still existed.
- Show up on a tourist visa, without instruments. Tell customs you are "visiting friends". Don't even think about bringing a box of t-shirts to sell. Borrow gear, rent a van.
- Hope that every venue and/or promoter is willing to commit tax fraud by paying you in cash and not asking for your IRS form W9 or O-1B Visa.
- Hope that no one at Customs googles your name, because if they do, you get deported and can't enter the US again for any reason for (I think) a minimum of 5 years.
- Apply for a work visa. But that's easy! All you need is to show that you have "extraordinary abilities", and that "have received or been nominated for a significant national award in the field, or prove [you] meet three out of six criteria, including national or international recognition as shown by critical reviews in major newspapers or magazines, evidence of substantial remuneration as shown by contracts, and testimonials from recognized experts in the field in which [you] are engaged."
It costs several hundred dollars, and you have to schedule an in-person interview at your nearest US Embassy.
Oh, also this requires you to know the dates and details of every stop on your tour, a year ahead of time. "But," you say, "nobody books tours that far out." You are correct. Also, dates can't be modified after submitting.
- You won't get a response from the State Department until long after it's time to buy your plane tickets.
- Still no response. Panic. There's nothing you can do, so go ahead and keep panicking.
- Oh, they might deny you because they don't like your t-shirt art. Your tour is cancelled.
- You might not get a response at all before your flight leaves. Oops, now you're not getting on that plane. Your tour is cancelled.
- This is probably where you start getting hate-emails from your fans assuming that you're idiots who fucked up their simple, simple visa paperwork. You probably just sat around getting high instead of filling out a form, you jerks.
Sing it with me, ♬♬ "Everyyyyyyything is terrrrrrible!!"♬♬