Thom Yorke and Elton John slam Brexit Minister David Frost for denying responsibility for UK touring crisis
Elton John criticized the British government in a Observer interview last week, denouncing the ‘philistines’ who failed to recognize the negative impact of Brexit on touring musicians. “I am furious at what the government did when Brexit happened,” John said. “We spoke to the Lord [Paul] Strasburger about it, and we talked to Lord [David] Frost, but we haven’t really moved forward with him. … It’s a nightmare. For young people who are starting a career, it is crucifying.
Days later, UK Brexit Minister David Frost took John’s comments lightly. “I can’t help but notice that its first successes took place before the UK even became a member of the European Union, so I think there is probably more at stake here than pure rules at stake. within the then European Community, ”said Frost.
Thom Yorke offered a few words to him for Frost this evening, retweeting an article via The independent which reads: “David Frost says it’s not his job to solve the Brexit touring crisis that is plaguing musicians. Yorke added, “oh yeah buddy?” you think?”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in March that Frost “has overall responsibility for making this happen.” Frost postpones responsibility three months later: “It’s DCMS responsibility [Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport] to move it forward with our embassies.
Frost argued that musicians can work visa-free in 17 EU countries, while The GuardianSenior European sources say the ‘zero’ approach has been taken to remove barriers to work visas for musicians and other artists after Brexit. A coalition of musicians has backed an initiative called Let the Music Move, which calls on the UK government to “mitigate the Brexit-related impacts of restrictions, costs and delays on European tours”.
Yorke (along with his fellow Radiohead group) has long vigorously opposed the Brexit referendum. Following the 2016 vote for the UK to leave the European Union, Yorke and Nigel Godrich shared an official petition supporting another Brexit vote. Three years later, Yorke criticized then Prime Minister Theresa May for her role in the referendum. He compared the “immense distress and suffering” caused by the Brexit process to the “early days of the Third Reich”.
In February, Yorke teammate Colin Greenwood wrote an op-ed for The Guardian arguing that the European tours that helped establish Radiohead in their early days might not be possible for musicians in the Brexit era.
Review the 2016 Pitchfork Festival report ‘Glastonbury in the Age of Brexit’ and learn more about how the Brexit vote will affect the European music industry on the Pitch.