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Ronan Keating warns of ‘devastating’ new touring rules for musicians

Ronan Keating (Ian West/PA)
Ronan Keating (Ian West/PA)

Ronan Keating has warned that post-Brexit red tape is “devastating” for the live music industry.

New UK travel rules came into force at the beginning of the year and do not guarantee visa-free travel for musicians in the EU.

Boyzone star Keating said the current situation is “ridiculous”.

He told BBC Breakfast: “We’re talking about grassroots, upcoming artists…

“It’s not so much about larger artists who already have back catalogues and careers.

“There’s no money in record sales, the way that they (bands) make money is actually touring.

“So, to slap this on them, it’s just going to be devastating for the live industry… We won’t be able to go touring.”

He added: “The arts have been hit suddenly, massively over the last 12 months…

“My band, my crew, they haven’t had any support whatsoever, so they’ve been really struggling.

“So, to get back to work and the live performances are incredibly important.”

Radiohead performing at Glasontonbury
Radiohead performing at Glastonbury (Yui Mok/PA)

Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood told Sky News: “For bands like us, we’re fortunate, we have accounting, legal services to cover the new red tape…

“But what about bands that are coming up, to be future Radioheads… over the next decade? That’s the big worry.”

He added: “We’ve got an opportunity right now (while the pandemic has stopped touring) to put things in place to help artists.”

The touring economy is a “powerful patriotic force for good, and also a massive source of taxable revenue for a lot of hospitals in the UK”, he said.

Their comments come after musicians, including Sir Elton John, criticised the Government in a letter which said performers have been “shamefully failed” by new visa rules.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has previously defended the UK’s approach during Brexit talks.

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