About 3 Years ago we played a brilliant festival in Belgium called Breaking Barriers. It was a superb night made even better because we met and saw The Nomads from Sweden. “Wouldn’t it be great to play together again” we said, and set about making that happen.
Three times we set up dates in Stockholm and Malmo and three times Covid lockdowns put a stop to our plans. So we waited for that to be past and finally had great dates at Nalen Klubb and Medley, a brand new club in Malmo, booked and on sale for April. All was looking wonderful.
Except in the meantime the UK had left the EU without signing up to the EU offer of 90 days touring for musicians in EU countries without visa or work permit restrictions. For some reason the UK Government wants to do deals with individual countries. So far we have done deals with Germany, France and Spain for -you guessed it -90 days visa free tours. But not Sweden.
We’ve been working with the UK Musicians Union to find out what we need to do to play in Sweden and it turns out we need a Swedish work permit. To get that we need an “employer” in Sweden to open an online account and apply for the permits. The process includes getting permission from the Swedish Musicians Union.
For the Swedish MU to give us permission they require us to be paid an amount per gig which would be more than the Nomads will earn, plus accomodation, plus all travel. And then on top of that the “employer” in Sweden must pay 35% social security costs to the Government (we used to be able to just get on a plane and turn up). The gigs wouldn’t be economically possible that way.
To cap it all, the Swedish work permit application can take up to a year.
We could try to sneak in as tourists but we’ve put our heads above the parapet now and if we are caught we could be banned from travelling to the EU for a very long time. The British MU have alerted the UK Government to the problem but have confirmed nothing is happening at present. They have been busy with all those cheese and wine lockdown parties after all.
So, we are really sorry. We know people have booked to come to see us from all over Scandanavia. We’ve been working hard to make this possible but we have to cancel now before more people spend money thinking we are going to be there. Lets pray the rules change in some way to allow us to play in Sweden again. It would be just too damn stupid if we can’t.