The organisers of Scotland’s soundfestival have stated that the festival’s finale weekend is under threat, following a Government debate on artist visas post Brexit.
During the debate, Home Office minister Seema Kennedy MP stated that ‘on 31 October freedom of movement as we know it will cease’, implying that artists from the European Economic Area (EEA) will need visas to enter and perform in the UK.
The programme for the closing weekend of the festival includes performances by groups from France and the Netherlands, with the majority of the musicians due to arrive in Scotland on 1 November. This programme, according to the festival, is now being ‘thrown into doubt’.
‘Sound has been working on the plans for 2019 festival over two years and central to the closing weekend are performances by French Ensemble TM+ and the Dutch reed group Calefax,’ says director Fiona Robertson. ‘As well as performing in their ensembles individual musicians from the groups are also due to take part in other events including a concert with one of our 2019 artists in residence, oboist Nicholas Daniel.
‘The news that as of 31 October this freedom of artist exchange will stop has both practical and cultural implications for us. Coming less than seven weeks before the 2019 festival opens it gives little time for us to deal with practicalities of the visa issue, even if the Government had published the “alternative arrangements” to which Seema Kennedy referred.
‘We are exploring options of bringing the musicians over earlier at greater cost, but we’re not sure this will be possible for all of them and we may well thus be looking at the real possibility of losing key performers which would have serious consequences for the closing weekend’s programme.’
2019 Soundfestival runs from 23 October to 3 November in venues across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. For full details visit www.sound-scotland.co.uk