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Womad struggling to book artists due to Brexit uncertainty

WOMAD - World of Music, Arts and Dance festival was found by a Genesis member Peter Gabriel in 1982.

This year the event takes place from July 25 to 28 at Charlton Park in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

Last year the festival had problems with visas and  this year the organisers are afraid that artists  won’t be able to enter the United Kingdom due to the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s departure from the European Union.

Chris Smith, the festival’s director, said it was getting harder each year to get people to perform.

“It is harder to book artists because of Brexit … We are struggling to overcome it and let artists know they are welcome here and [that] people still want to experience their great music,” he said.

“Lots of artists are finding they can get to Europe but fear taking the next step to the UK, particularly if there is there is no passport union. It will become more complicated. When we are out of the EU the passport arrangements will change, so artists coming from wherever will get into Europe but worry they then won’t be able to cross the Channel.”

“Some artists are saying they might not bother applying [for a visa]. My programme manager is in regular dialogue, offering them reassurance, [but] recent events have not made that easier,” he said.

Smith described the fear that artists would overstay their visas as “arrogance”, because they were successful artists. “Why would they want to stay?”


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