Edinburgh to host summit on visas for festival performers
CULTURE Secretary Fiona Hyslop has announced she will host a summit on festival visas as part of a bid to stop artists and performers being refused entry to the UK.
Speaking during a debate at Holyrood, secured by Edinburgh Pentlands MSP Gordon MacDonald, she said the Scottish Government was proud that the Capital was the world’s leading festival city and was determined to protect Scotland’s international cultural standing.
Mr MacDonald suggested a system of “cultural passports” for people taking part in festivals as a way of avoiding delays and refusals and other visa problems.
She said: “Year after year, festivals across Scotland and the United Kingdom are plagued by uncertainty about visas. Sometimes artists face repeats of the issue from one year to the next, which is unacceptable.
“However, it is not simply a matter of timeliness; our international standing as a leading centre of global cultural discovery is also jeopardised. Something has to change.”
And she said she wanted to work with politicians from Westminster and the Welsh and Northern Ireland assemblies to address the problem.
“I will be inviting the Home Secretary and counterparts in the devolved administrations to an international festivals visa summit in Edinburgh at which, in the home of the world’s biggest arts festival, we can openly discuss our shared concerns and work together to find solutions to protect our reputation as an outward-looking and welcoming country.”