Iron Maiden’s lead singer has hit out at the government for not coming to a “sensible” arrangement with the European Union on frictionless travel.
Bruce Dickinson, who voted Leave in the 2016 referendum, responded to news that Andrew Lloyd Webber is planning to sue the government over its treatment of the entertainment industry, saying “we are one of the UK’s major exports” but now “we’re sitting here and can’t do anything.”
He continued: “It’s very well known that I voted Brexit, but the idea is that when it is done you then go in and be sensible about the relationships you have with people.
“At the moment, all this guff about not being able to play in Europe and Europeans not being able to play over here – come on!”
Oh dear. The ignorance of what it means to be a third country (outside of the EU) shown here in all its glory by Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden. 😏😔 pic.twitter.com/usXl5YoXMi— Jude 🇪🇺 🌹🌹🌹💙 (@jude5456) June 28, 2021
In 2018 Dickinson told music magazine NME that he didn’t see Brexit’s predicted negative impact on touring bands as a realistic concern.
“Iron Maiden music is global music – we have fans everywhere,” he said. “I don’t see any problem with touring Australia – that’s not part of the EU. There’s no problem with touring in Japan – that’s not part of the EU. I don’t see any problem with touring America. Oh, let me see – that’s not part of the EU. Do those musicians have problems coming to Europe? No.”
“Brexit actually opens our borders, Brexit opens the United Kingdom to the whole of the world,” he added.
Speaking out on the issue yesterday, Sir Elton John has described the Government as “philistines” over the handling of the music industry post-Brexit.
The singer, 74, said he is “livid” about the lack of provision made for sections of the entertainment industry that rely on travel within the European Union.
New rules which came into force at the beginning of the year do not guarantee visa-free travel for musicians in the bloc and have prompted fears touring artists will incur large fees in many of the countries they visit.
Speaking to the Observer, Sir Elton said: “I’m so angry. I’m livid about what the Government did when Brexit happened.
“They made no provision for the entertainment business, and not just for musicians, actors and film directors, but for the crews, the dancers, the people who earn a living by going to Europe.
“People like me can afford to go to Europe because we can get people to fill in the forms and get visas done, but what makes me crazy is that the entertainment business brings in £111 billion a year to this country and we were just tossed away.”