SOME of Britain’s most popular performers, including Sir Ian McKellen and Julie Walters have thrown their weight behind a petition backed by the actors’ union Equity urging the UK government to secure visa-free travel in the EU for artists.

The campaign is calling on the government to negotiate a free cultural work permit that would allow visa-free travel across the EU for bands, musicians, artists, television and sporting stars, has already attracted more than 210,000 signatures.

It comes after botched Brexit deals mean that stars must now get an individual visa for each country where they perform, hugely increasing the cost of the tour as their entourages will also need permission to travel.

Earlier in the year musicians started a similar campaign demanding that MPs work salvage the costs of touring by agreeing deals with individual countries. 

Currently Spain charges £600 a gig and Italy £500, while performing in France won’t cost acts a penny. 

The UK music industry contributed £5.8bn to the economy in 2019, according to the lobby group UK Music, and is one of Britain’s most popular international exports.

But some Brits have been left fuming that the free movement deal shouldn’t just be for ‘luvvies’ and popstars. 

One Facebook reply to the petition read:  “Can’t be just for one industry. My industry is also adversely affected by visa rules, but because it isn’t visible to the public doesn’t mean that it isn’t as important.” 

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