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WOMAD and the Brexit Flatland
International Performers and Post-Brexit Britain
You may have read recently in the national and music press about the increasing problems experienced by international artists in gaining entry to the UK to perform. Post-Brexit entry has been described as "difficult and humiliating", leading to growing numbers of artists deciding to leave the UK out of their tour schedules. The situation was felt most deeply at this year´s WOMAD Festival, with artists and event organisers calling for changes to the visa process. Here are some articles that have covered this story.
That Island Gurl: "In all seriousness, after finishing my review for WOMAD 2018 and a few weeks of reflecting, it has now hit me how close to my heart this particular issue is: the high likelihood that artists from around the globe will no longer find these fine British soils a viable and/or attractive destination to continue sharing their music with..." read more
BBC: "Entering a post-EU referendum UK is "difficult and humiliating" for performers at the Womad world music festival, according to an organiser. Chris Smith told Radio Times that due to the visa process, it had become hard to attract foreign musicians to the festival, held annually in Wiltshire..." read more
The Guardian: "The Womad artists denied access to the UK are a worrying sign of things to come. Let’s not go back to the old days..." read more
Radio Times: "Artists have accepted our invitation and then looked into the visa process and told us, sorry we’re just not going to do this. That’s a situation we should be ashamed of," says Chris Smith... read more
In the words of Peter Gabriel:
“The right to travel for work, for education and even for pleasure is increasingly being restricted and often along racial and religious lines.
“It is alarming that our UK festival would now have real problems bringing artists into this country … [many of whom] no longer want to come to the UK because of the difficulty, cost and delays with visas, along with the new fear that they will not be welcomed.”
“Musicians travel for a living, and almost everywhere I have travelled I have been met with kindness and generosity. Do we really want a white-breaded Brexited flatland? A country that is losing the will to welcome the world?”