It is “imperative” for Scottish musicians to have an income abroad amid ongoing difficulties around touring in Europe, MSPs have been told.
Holyrood’s Culture Committee heard Celtic rock band Skerryvore’s recent tour did not break even due to rising travel expenses.
Brexit brought more red tape and costs for artists touring Europe, as the automatic right for freedom of movement for UK nationals came to an end.
Since the exit from the EU, the UK Government has struck bilateral agreements with most EU countries on entry requirements for touring artists.
Ministers say they are continuing to engage with countries which have less liberal rules than those offered by the UK.
However the committee was told the rules are still difficult to navigate and costs for travelling acts remain prohibitively high.
Alice Black, from the trade union Bectu, said there are “different rules for different countries”, making the arrangement of tours difficult.
As well as impacting artists, she said the new travel arrangements also pose difficulties for technical crew and the transport of their equipment.
The committee is carrying out a review of the UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement.
Ewan Robertson, a folk musician and board member with Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland, said many acts are having far fewer tour bookings than previously.
Touring in North America is returning to pre-pandemic levels, he said, but the same is not taking place in Europe.
He said: “I spoke with another group, Skerryvore, who are a flagship Scottish band.
“They’ve just completed a European tour and they didn’t actually break even on that tour.
“One of the main issues with the rising costs was the amount of money they were spending on their carnet (a travel document for goods).”
Lisa Whytock of Active Events, an agency for Scottish folk musicians, said there are increasing challenges around touring post-Brexit.
She said: “In order for there to be professional musicians in Scotland, it is imperative that they earn an income outwith the borders of our country, because our nation is simply too small to sustain an income for professional musicians.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe