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UK musicians now able to play Hungary visa-free post-Brexit but tricky logistics remain

After significant pressure from Elton John, Ed Sheeran and even Leave EU figurehead Roger Daltrey, the UK government has just announced that British musicians may embark on short tours to a handful of European countries visa-free now Brexit is in place. Hungary is one of them – but question marks remain over road crew and transport logistics.

Since January, UK musicians, once regularly able to appear at festivals such as Sziget and Balaton Sound, and at venues like Akvárium and Dürer Kert, have been at loggerheads with the British government over the issue of needing expensive visas to play in Europe now that Brexit is in place.

Since the main consequences of the Britain’s decision to leave the European Union in 2016 came into force in on 1 January 2021, the UK music industry has been in a quandary. While so many of the country’s most famous acts – the Beatles, Joy Division, Elton John himself – cut their teeth in Europe, this route would have become prohibitively expensive and time-consuming if everyone needed visas to play here.

After hundreds of thousands of UK citizens signed a petition to plead for visa-free travel for musicians, the UK government has just announced that agreements were now in place, waiving the need for bureaucratic hurdles for certain European countries.

These include Hungary and neighbouring Austria, Slovakia and Slovenia but not, so far, Croatia, where so many major music festivals usually take place in summer. Touring bands usually string together several dates in the region in order to make logistics profitable.

However, it’s not yet clear what the situation is for the road crew, and the paperwork needed to keep the show on the road.


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