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Booking International Artists for UK Music Festivals Taking Place in Summer 2021

Andy Robertson

Every large music festival will normally have a selection of international performance artists but since the coronavirus pandemic international travel has been problematic. For music festivals with international performance artists confirmed or tentatively booked what are the travel logistics that need to be considered for festivals taking place in the summer this year. 


With so much uncertainty around over the last 6 months it has been challenging for festival organisers and their artistic directors to select international performance artists. This led to many organisers curating more locally based talent to avoid any disappointments or last minute cancellations, many festivals therefore have a bias towards a locally sourced artist line up. However, with intentional headline acts always being a great draw for festival-goers organisers are always keen to secure well known international artists. What are the key factors to consider if an artist is already booked and needs to travel internationally or is being considered as a late addition.

For music festivals taking place in the UK the situation is further complicated by the different COVID-19 rules and restrictions in place between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. There are still some restrictions in place requiring evidence of negative PCR tests for example even when travelling within the UK so it pays to thoroughly check any existing restrictions in place at the time of travel.

Depending where an artist is flying from the UK has specific rules and regulations for arrivals. Anyone coming from the United States or most of Europe (except France) can enter the UK without the need for quarantine. If coming from other countries there are various different rules in force that may or may not require some form of quarantine combined with PCR tests. It is therefore prudent to keep up to date on any official government announcements regarding travel restrictions from different countries prevailing at the time of intended travel. These can change frequently depending on the current status of the country from when an artist is travelling.

There was a change in the rules after BREXIT for European artists travelling to perform in the UK. They may require a specific ‘performance’ visa but the exact requirements are still unresolved so it’s safe to assume this this is currently a requirement. With many government departments and embassies closed obtaining the correct visa is probably going to take longer than normal.

Performance artists do have a reputation for doing things at the last minute and not planning well in advance. For any music festival organiser with international artists booked they should be coordinating with the artist’s management team to ensure that sufficient time is being allocated to obtain any necessary travel documents and for any possible quarantine period. It would also be sensible to have a backup act should an artist form overseas decide at the last minute that it's all too much hassle to travel for their booked appearance. 

For organisers planning their music festival using a software management platform like
Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their artist management and event logistics. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Image by Jeffrey Robb from Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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