Although Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson was outspoken about his support for Britain leaving the European Union when he voted for Brexit in 2016, he told Sky News on Monday that he’s annoyed with the difficulty that UK-based artists have been having with trying to tour in Europe.
“Don’t get me started on the government’s attitude to the entertainment industry,” he stated. “We are probably one of the U.K.’s major exports. I mean, come on! And yet we’re sitting here, we can’t do anything.”
He seems to be asking for visa-free travel for musicians and their crews between the UK and the EU, but he didn’t suggest anything specific in the interview. Currently, touring artists and crew are expected to obtain work permits in order to play some European countries.
“It’s very well known that I voted Brexit, but the idea is that after you’ve done it, you then go in and be sensible about the relationships you have with people,” he continued. “So at the moment, all this guff about not being able to play in Europe and Europeans not being able to play over here, and work permits, and all the rest of the rubbish – Come on! Get your act together!”
— Kay Burley (@KayBurley) June 28, 2021
Replies to Sky News reporter Kay Burley’s video clip on Twitter criticized him for contradicting some of his earlier statements. One person pointed out that he had made comments back in 2018 in which he didn’t see Brexit’s effect on touring artists as a problem.
Dickinson told The London Economic back then, “Iron Maiden music is global music – we have fans everywhere. 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.”
Another person commented, “The EU offered a reciprocal arrangement for touring artists. The UK government turned it down because it would lead to every other sector demanding their own exemptions. This is what you wanted. Own it.”