Fifty leading music industry figures and concert hauliers have joined forces to urge Boris Johnson to secure a ‘cultural easement’ to allow UK firms to continue taking tours across the EU, warning that the industry faces ruin in the wake of the pandemic and new post-Brexit trade restrictions.
In a letter to the Prime Minister the group said “unworkable” new cabotage and cross trade rules which only allow British-registered trucks three stops in Europe before having to return to the UK will stop the delivery of European concert tours and other musical performances.
Commenting, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett: “If the UK events haulage industry is to have any chance of survival it needs an EU-wide easement so that trucks moving touring equipment can continue to make multiple stops across Europe.”
Mark Pemberton, representing the Association of British Orchestras, said: “The limits on cabotage have the potential to kill orchestral touring. A typical tour might involve multiple concerts in one country, followed by concerts in another, meaning a limit of two laden journeys within the EU makes using a UK-registered vehicle impossible. But with orchestras often using their own trucks, kitted out at vast expense to protect fragile and high-value instruments, with humidity and temperature controls, it simply isn’t an option to use an EU-based commercial haulier either. Without an exemption from these cabotage limits, it is hard to see how the UK’s world-leading orchestras can continue to perform at Europe’s major concert halls and festivals.”
Colin Greenwood, bassist with long-established British rock band Radiohead said: “The new bureaucracy could threaten the livelihoods of thousands of British citizens who make the UK events industry a success story. Live music is a vital part of our country’s economy. It’s important that Government offers support by helping haulage operators deal with the new documentation following Brexit, including the new European driving permits, new customs permits that they’re going to need, and all the new red tape.”
The letter’s signatories said: “Following the pandemic there will be high demand for events including exhibitions, festivals, concerts and live music – but this will only be possible if specialist hauliers exist across the continent.
“A ‘Cultural Easement’ would allow them to continue undertaking EU-wide movements for concert and event industries.”
“Without specialist concert and events trucks, hundreds of suppliers employing thousands of skilled crews will be unable to provide their services around Europe on music tours undertaken by UK and international musicians.
“The Government’s immediate support will ensure that the UK retains its ability to service this industry in the future and help to save thousands of jobs and livelihoods in the process.”
The signatories also called for short-term financial support for concert hauliers, and a “last resort” grants option for firms to set up bridgehead operations in the EU until easements are agreed.
The events industry contributes £70 billion a year to the UK economy.
Notes for editors
Letter to the Prime Minister (Thursday 18 February)
Our proposed solution in the first instance is to call on your Government to seek an EU-wide easement so that UK registered concert haulage trucks may continue to make multiple stops across Europe. A ‘Cultural Easement’ would allow them to continue undertaking EU-wide movements for concert and event industries.
Simultaneously, and in the event that the implementation of this easement is delayed, we ask the UK Government to provide support in three ways:
- Short-term financial support to ensure that event haulage companies can continue trading and prepare their drivers with all the necessary documentation to work in Europe. HGV drivers will have to obtain European Driver Certificates of Professional Competence to drive in the EU as well as other required permits and permissions.
- Provide grants to UK concert and event hauliers to create bridgehead operations within an EU Member State. This would give them the ‘last resort’ option of registering their trucks with EU licence plates to allow improved cabotage and cross trade movements across all EU27 States. It would also help mitigate the additional costs of moving to a bridgehead operation offshore.
- UK Government to confirm easement of our own domestic cabotage restrictions to allow these newly registered EU cultural event and concert trucks to return and work freely in the UK. The Department for Transport has indicated that it would be prepared to move forward on that basis and a precedent is already in place within the car transporting sector.
Letter signed by:
Richard Burnett, Chief Executive, Road Haulage Association
Andy Lenthall, Production Services Association
Mark Pemberton, Director, British Association of Orchestras
Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, CEO,UK Music
Greg Parmley, CEO, LIVE (Live music Industry, Venues & Entertainment)
Phil Bowdery, Chair, The Concert Promoters Association
Annabella Coldrick, CEO, Music Managers Forum
Mark Davyd, CEO, Music Venue Trust
Kevin Appleby, Chair, British Association of Concert Halls
Steve Heap, General Secretary, Association of Festival Organisers
Dave Keighley, Chair, Production Services Association
David Martin, CEO, Featured Artists Coalition
Greg Marshall, GM, Association for Electronic Music
Lucy Noble, Chair, National Arenas Association
Paul Reed, CEO, Association of Independent Festivals
Tarquin Shaw Young, President, The Entertainment Agents Association
Stuart McPherson & Andy Bell, KB Event
Natasha Highcroft, Transam Trucking
Ollie Kite, EST UK
Robert Hewett & Steve Berry, Stagetruck
Thomas James Bielby, Star Movement Ltd
Kevin Mooney, Stardes
David Coumbe, Fly by Nite
Terry Goodwin, Conference Haul International
David Barnes, Events Transport Ltd
Kevin Webb, Event Ground Support Services Ltd
Mark Brockhurst, Paul Mathew Transport
Ross MacGillivray, FMX Event Services Ltd
Jamie Bruce & Warren Symonds, Gravity Media
Chris Eames, CEI
Brian Yeardley, Brian Yeardley’s
Alistair Pugh, London Venue Transfer Ltd
Frazer Bell, Frazer Bell Touring
Jason Abbott, Freemans Event Partners
Graham Tatterton, Shuttle Transport
John Henry, Jamie Henry ‘s
Dani Haines, FCL Event Logistics Ltd
Ed Cooper, Director Blue-i Theatre Technology Ltd
Scott Maher, Jumbo Express Ltd
Rael Hancock, Dry Hire Lighting
Finn Rasmussen, Interfreight
Rob Burford, LANG UK
Martin & Simon Lett, S & M Lett Haulage
Keith Austin, Event MS
Scott Pulleyn, Pulleyn Transport Ltd
Nick Dew, Really Creative Media Ltd
Sharon Tea, Rockstar Logistics T/A Crossland
Malachy McMullan, Rockstar Logistics T/A Crossland
Paul Clegg, Rockstar Logistics T/A Crossland
Hamish Jenkinson, The Department