'They don't care': Musicians despair as No 10 overlooks EU tour issues

Sink Ya Teeth at Norwich Arts Centre Credit: Steve Hunt

Sink Ya Teeth at Norwich Arts Centre Credit: Steve Hunt - Credit: Archant

Artists in Norfolk have said their industry has been cut off at the knees after the government admitted it would not be able to return to negotiations over EU visas for touring performers. 

The news has sparked an outcry in the sector with many saying that the government does not care about the arts. 

"They'll do the bare minimum to look like they care about us, but they really don't," said Maria Uzor of Norwich-based band Sink Ya Teeth. 

"I used to be able to hop on a train from Norwich and tour Europe. We'd go up to ten times a year playing across France, Italy, Slovakia. Now when we look at the bottom line we'd be losing money even before we put a foot on the plane. 

"We just won't do it any more, it's as simple as that. It's a shame for us personally but it also means we're not going to get these brilliants coming over from Europe. We're just slowly going to make our cultural horizons smaller and smaller if it's not fixed." 


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Instead, Sink Ya Teeth and its team is looking at a UK tour later this year. 

Already the likes of the National Theatre have said they are postponing European tours because of visa issues. 

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Paul Mills, owner of Soundclash in Norwich's St Benedicts, makes a great proportion of his revenue from ticket sales at the Waterfront and the University of East Anglia's LCR: "There's been very little from government to support these artists - and even less to support those in the supply chain. 

Paul Mills, owner of Soundclash on St Benedicts in Norwich.
Picture by: Sonya Duncan

Paul Mills, owner of Soundclash on St Benedicts in Norwich. Picture by: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

"This is really going to damage the music scene in this country. Typically acts from around the world start and end their tours in the UK because out haulage network is so good, and then they go around Europe in between.

"They won't do that anymore - they'll start in Germany and then maybe play a gig or two over here if they can get a visa. It's made playing here too much of a challenge for people to bother." 

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