“Well, we’ve been around this great big world, and we’ve met all kinds of guys and girls, From Kamoto Islands to Rockaway Beach. No, it’s not hard, not far to reach,” as The Ramones sang.

The announcement, hugely disappointing as it undoubtedly was, not least for the sickened organisers, bands and punters, that the world’s biggest live music extravaganza, Glastonbury, had been shelved for the second year running was expected. Sadly for live music fans, many more similar announcements are expected in the coming weeks.

As I warned everyone, two weeks ago, in this very column, unless our governments roll up their sleeves and ramp up the rolling out of the vaccine, bring the R number down, and in turn lift their repressive restrictions and business-bursting tiers, live music fans across the UK face the very real prospect of yet another summer of silence, which will come as a hammer blow to an industry already reeling from the seemingly never-ending effects of the pandemic.

Covid continues to wreak havoc and cause chaos, and sadly will do for months to come, but will the EU and UK governments' continued insouciance and failure to reach agreement on their pre-Brexit promise to deliver visa free travel movement for our travelling musicians, acts and performers, blitz any hopes this £5 billion industry has of quickly bouncing back when this crisis is over?

Well, over 100 UK stars including Liam Gallagher, Sir Elton John, Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Biffy Clyro, Queen's Brian May and Brexit supporter Roger Daltrey, frontman of The Who, who ironically sang about life on the road in their lead track from their classic album Odds and Sods, believe that it will. So much so, they co-signed a damning letter, which angrily criticised the UK Government's lack of concern and poor handling of the situation, accusing them of “shamefully failing” performers and leaving “a gaping hole where the promised free movement of musicians should be”. They rightly argued that the resulting costs for work permits and other bureaucratic red tape now make touring unviable, especially for young emerging musicians who are already struggling to keep their heads above water owing to the Covid ban on live music. They are not alone, an online petition calling for visa-travel free cultural work permits with the EU has attracted more than 280,000 signatures.

Priti “awful” Patel’s hard immigration reforms are being blamed, some say unfairly, for the collapse in talks, something UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has strongly denied, saying that they had pushed for a more ambitious agreement with the EU, but these proposals were rejected.

In a hard-hitting online blog, Scottish prog-rock star and travelling troubadour Fish, a man who makes part of his living from touring Europe, slammed the UK Government for their failure to reach agreement on the transition. Saying he now faces an extra £2500 in travel permit costs alone for his 10-person touring party, as well as a possible, and I say possible as the situation is far from clear, extra costs in VAT, Withholding Tax, Transport and Carnets and Cabotage. That might sound like the name for a pair of dodgy TV detectives, but Carnets and Cabotage are in fact two almost forgotten words, making a post-Brexit bureaucratic comeback in the very complicated and costly world of road haulage and transport.

Paul Fenn, of industry body LIVE, says: “We are deeply concerned about the impact the UK’s withdrawal from the EU may have on musicians’ mobility. We are seeking clarity from the Government on a number of issues, including assurance that touring artists will not be subject to onerous and expensive application processes.”

As a former musician, who absolutely loved touring, I couldn’t agree more. The road to recovery should not become a highway to hell for our talented array of musicians and bands, especially those just starting out. To hone their craft and hopefully one day prosper, they need the doors opened on the world’s third biggest market, not slammed shut.

But it's early days, there is still time for agreement to be reached. Let's hope these are just teething problems in the Brexit transition and not huge chunks being torn out of the post-Covid world of live music.

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