Current & Past Opportunities Click here to obtain Tier 5 Work Permits

Superb music from anywhere in the world
Performing anywhere in the world:

Apply for Music Work Permits (Tier 5 Certificates of Sponsorship)
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Current Events
View our Artist Roster
Artist Collaboration

Welcome to CME Artist Services

Our main service is providing UK work permits for musicians performing in the UK (over ten years experience as a UK Border Agency licensed sponsor). We also run two international competitive tours a year in the UK and run one festival (see current events).

For booking an act from our large roster of pre-reviewed acts of all secular genres please email us direct at

If you are an act looking for a booking, to be on our roster, or on one of our events you need to apply for membership to our roster first:


There are three ways to become a member of CME Artist Services roster:

1. Acts can apply for one of our events (these are usually festivals or tours) - see Opportunities.

2. Acts can apply directly (£15 GBP):

Please enter your acts website here or any location where your music is available online (once you click on the application button you can provide us with more information about you and your act):

3. Acts can offer a tour exchange (go to Contacts and put Tour Exchange in subject line). There is no fee for this but we do require a well thought out proposal before we review the act.

If you are not selected for a particular event (or an exchange doesn't materialise) but you receive a high peer review score you will be included on our roster.


If you are a venue or festival we can provide you a with a list of superb and available talent to choose from in any genre. All these acts have all been pre-reviewed for our own wide ranging events. Please email us direct at or go to our Contact page to request a list – specify a genre or genres too if you wish. To see examples of the acts we've worked with in the past please see Artists.

If you are a band wanting us to book you then you must first apply to be on our roster (see above).

Please go to 'who we are and what we do' for full description of our agency and philosophy.



July. 10th 2013

Lancaster Castle headline acts selected for 2013 Lancaster Music Festival 2013 (Slamboree and Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra)

July. 1st 2013

We are closed for taking applications for Lancaster Music Festival 2013 and the UK Autumn Tour 2013

Feb. 1st 2013

We are now starting planning Lancaster Music Festival 2013.

Nov. 19th 2012

We are now reserving our Spring UK Tour for our tour exchange partners. This means that our annual events are now the Lancaster Music Festival (Oct. 11-13th) and our Autumn UK Tour (Oct. 3-10th). The Autumn tour will be posted next month.

Sept. 1st 2012

The Sugarhouse in Lancaster to host the Lancaster Music Festival Grand Finale on Sunday. Oct. 14th with the Live and Unsigned lineup (see Aug. 10th news). Lancashire Hotpots also headline on Sunday at the Dalton Rooms 6-8pm)

August 15th 2012

Kindread are selected for the CME Artist Services UK Tour 2012

August 10th 2012

The Live and Unsigned winners Co Co and the Butterfields to join NW regional finalists, Kaitain, Freerunner, Hannah-Nicole Gorge and Katie O'Malley at Lancaster Music Festival


July 15th 2012

The Lancaster Music Festival has stopped taking applications from musicians.


April 13th 2012

The UK Border Agency has introduced (April 6, 2012) new rules for musicians (and other workers covered under Tier 5 sponsorship) wishing to perform in the UK for less than one month (Permitted Paid Engagements or PPEs). However, they appear to be charging for this service and CME Artist Services will undercut their fees while also guaranteeing rapid processing service. See work permits FAQ for more details.


March 16th 2012

The acts for the Spring UK Tour are selected and Autumn 2012 Tour and Lancaster Music Festival 2012 promotions have started.


May 14th 2012

Howard Haigh, acoustic Llatin guiatrist extraordinaire is now starting a new project with CME Artist Services' founder Ben Ruth. More information towards end of this year but pilot is performing every Tuesday (when both musicians in town) at Robert Gillow, Lancaster.

April 10th 2012

We have lowered our fees for work permit services. In most cases we've lowered them due to our increased client base but also in response to changes in the UK Border Agency's and UK embassy visa policies (see what we say about Permitted Paid Engagement visas).

March 16th 2012

The acts for the Spring UK Tour have been selected. They are Flux Capacitor (Philidelphia) and Marina Zettl (Vienna).

Autumn Tour and Lancaster Music Festival promotions have started

January 28th 2012

The Autumn Tour and Lancaster Music Festival promotions will start taking applications from Feb. 1st. The Spring UK Tour will close Feb. 1st. See opportunities for more information.

October 20th 2011

Both the Autumn Tour with Caravanblack from Brazil and the Lancaster Music Festival were a great success. Follow up with pictures and videos expected in November. Both events will be receiving applications for 2012 by the end of November (watch this page)

September 3rd 2011

Announced, the final selection for the Lancaster Music Festival 2011 including the following artists from Sonicbids who will be joining 80 other acts:

Danika Holmes
Jim Reid and Heidrum
Keith Thompson Band
Los Salvodores
Marco Marconi Trio
Marina Zettl&Thomas Mauerhofer
Marisa Yeaman
Threefifty Duo

August 26th

Announced, the Autumn UK Tour act is selected. Dao A E Caravan Black from Brazil

March 30th

Announced, the two acts taking part in our UK May Tour are Danika Holmes (USA) and Budduza (Austria). Acts wanting to take part in our next year event go to UK Spring Tour 2012.

March 22nd

We apologise that we are still trying to resolve the final selection for the Spring 2011 UK Tour. We currently are down to 3 contenders having already selected one and aim to have this resolved by the end of this month at the absolute latest.

February 1st

The Spring 2011 UK Tour application is now closed. We expect to announce the selected acts by March 15th. The Spring 2012 UK tour applications will be taken from March 1st.

25th and 27th November 2010

Both the UK Autumn Tour 2011 and the 2011 Lancaster Music Festival are open for applications on these dates respectively.

20th October 2010

Feedback from a hugely successful 2010 Lancaster Music Festival posted on the festival website.

31 August 2010

Lancaster Music Festival 2010 Participants Announced We have selected the following Sonicbids artists to perform with 90 other acts: ThreeFifty Duo from New York, Marina & Thomas from Vienna, Los Salvadores from UK, Level 10 from Tampa Bay and Marisa Yeaman from Melbourne. Three other acts were selected but could not attend.

20 August 2010

UK Autumn 2010 Tour Participants Announced We have selected Ali Milner from Vancouver and ThreeFifty Duo from New York. Acts that reached our finalist stage are now on our artist roster For more information on the acts and the tour click <HERE>.

30th April2010

UK Spring Tour 2010 applications open.

15 March 2010

UK Spring 2010 Tour Participants Announced We have selected Miss Quincy Sideshow from British Columbia and Red Gap from the Isle of Man. Three other acts that were shortlisted were unable to take part so we contacted our artist roster and Red Gap responded first. For more information on the acts and the tour click <HERE>.

01 February 2010

Spring 2010 Tour Application Closed (Feb. 1). This is our sister tour to the UK Fall Tour (started in 2005) that was launched in 2006 and has been running every year since. The acts that are selected through our peer review will be announced on this page early March 2010. Applications for the next Spring tour 2011 will be announced at that time. As always any act that receives a high score will be placed on our roster.

Lancaster Music Festival. This event was such a success last year that it will comprise 26 venues, over 100 acts and include classical genres (as well as everything else) in 2010. Open for application from November 1st. Click <here> to apply. Applications close July 15th. Final notification of selections August 1st (in practice many acts will know before then).

18 October 2009

Acts selected for the Lancaster Music Festival were Nomad 67 (UK), Van Preston (USA), Red Gap (IoM), The Convulsions and Butch Ross (USA). Reviews for last four acts are on the festival home page. This event was such a success that it will be open for application in November

10 August 2009

Acts selected for CME UK Fall Tour 2009: Krishna Jones (Australia), Van Preston (USA) and Erik Morrell (Sweden)

Closed 2009 opportunities will be open for 2010 from November

1 June 2009

Applications deadline for One Planet Music Festival 2009 and Pewsey Music Festival 2009

18 April 2009

Applications now opened for Lancaster Music Festival 2009
(see opportunites or click <here> to apply)

17 March 2009

The acts selected for the UK Spring Tour 2009 are:

Old Man Brown (from Maryland, USA)
The Drews (from Washington, USA)

17 March 2009

The act selected for the Slavic Adventure 2009 is:

Big Walker and the Blues Souls (Sweden)

10 March 2009

The acts selected for the Party in the Pub May 2009 are:

Van Preston (Tennessee)
Hovercraft Pirates (Northern Ireland)

07 March 2009

Applications now opened for UK Spring Tour 2010
(see opportunites or click <here> to apply)

Applications now opened for Pewsey Music Festival 2009
(see opportunites or click <here> to apply)

05 March 2009

Applications now opened for One Planet Music Festival 2009 (see opportunites or click <here> to apply)

Applications deadline for Slavic Adventure 2009

01 March 2009

Applications deadline for UK Spring Tour 2009

01 February 2009

New web site launch!