Pages tagged "Music"

  • Brexit is causing 'terminal damage' to UK Music Industry - Head of Royal Academy of Music

    The head of the Royal Academy of Music has said terminal damage is being done to the UK's music industry by Brexit, in an interview for the Face The Music campaign by European Movement UK.  

    Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood is principal of one of the world's most prestigious music schools, which boasts Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Elton John and Annie Lennox among its former students.  

    "You've got to have a political will at the heart of understanding the importance to the UK to be open for business, for the very best talent from all over the world. And Brexit has stopped that flow of talent coming in.

    "I think there will be terminal damage in an area where we have a world-renowned reputation as educators and as people who make a difference worldwide in the creative industries. It's a colossal waste, in terms of reputation, in terms of capability, in terms of possibility of things that Britain has always done incredibly well.'  

    "Brexit goes entirely against the mentality of the way musicians think. UK students don't have the access to European work, both when they’re students, and of course when they graduate, and that is a huge cultural and professional problem. There are no benefits. There is nothing there. There are no winners."  

    The Face The Music campaign is urging the government to find address the ongoing damage to UK musicians and artists touring the EU. You can watch the personal stories from people from across the industry, and how they've been affected, here.

    Watch full interview here.

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  • Face The Music: A New Nationwide Campaign For Musicians and Artists

    ‘Leaving the EU has destroyed people’s careers.’ That’s the view of one of the classical music world’s brightest young talents, James Henshaw. It’s the view of others working in music, too.  

    From bands and instrument makers to backstage staff – the loss of freedom of movement, the ‘work-90-days-in-180’ rule, and the mind-boggling visa and carnet system – all mean one of the UK’s most successful cultural exports is being slowly destroyed. 

    It’s why our new campaign is urging the Government to stop the damage being done to the UK music industry. 

    Face The Music, led by European Movement UK, is shining a spotlight on the plight of musicians, touring artists and backstage staff, since the UK left the EU on 31st January 2020, and is urging the Government to negotiate a bilateral agreement, one which guarantees visa-free travel for UK artists in the EU, and for EU artists in the UK.  

    Our research shows a talent drain on British music, from up-and-coming stars leaving Britain to live in an EU country, to instrument makers who have lost their EU customers due to rising exports costs, to jobbing musicians who face being shut out of freelance work because they no longer hold an EU passport. 

    “I was forced to choose between my job and my country,” said James Henshaw, a rising star among conductors on the UK classical music scene, who moved from London to Germany in 2020.  

    “I knew that if I wanted to continue working, I couldn’t stay in the UK. In my own country. I felt shut out. Everyone in the classical music world is constantly moving. 8 weeks here, 8 weeks there. About 15% of my work before Brexit was in the UK, and the rest was from around the world – a lot from the EU. But after 2020, I could see that EU work drying up. Because if several candidates go for a job, and you’re the only one who needs a visa and all the paperwork, you don’t stand a chance. So I had to move. I had to, to keep working.” 

    Matt Carghill plays in the band Sly and the Family Drone. He used to tour EU countries every year – but that’s now stopped.  

    “We’d just get in the van – instruments, merchandise, throw it all in and off you go. It was the merchandise sales that got us through, the money that would pay for the fuel to get to the next gig. Now, because of all the export costs, you can’t do it. It’s over.” 

    Rachel Nicholls is a freelance British soprano in opera and concert, currently starring in The Handmaid’s Tale in London. Since leaving the EU, her whole career has changed.  

    “I used to do three or four jobs in the EU every year. Since Brexit, I’ve done just one EU job in 7 years. Those jobs are still there, but now they’re going to artists who aren’t from the UK. The 90-day rule, and the visas you need, just mean UK musicians are not considered any more. It’s too difficult to employ them. I know so many people leaving the industry. We are doing severe, irreparable damage to the UK music industry, and it is the younger people I feel so, so sorry for.” 

    Chris and Sabina Allen-Kormylo make specialist hand-made instruments, hurdy-gurdys, from a workshop at the back of their house in Wales.  

    “We used to have about 30% of our business from EU customers,” Chris tells us, Now the phone never rings from them, ever. Why would you buy from us, when you might have to pay hundreds of pounds more just to have your instrument shipped to you? EU customers can’t even have instruments shipped to me for repair anymore, because you risk it being stuck in a warehouse at customs somewhere for weeks on end. That business is gone, and we just have to live with it.” 

    Watch musicians' stories.

    Sign the petition.

    Stand with us and tell this government to Face The Music.

  • We can't let ministers put a hard border around musicians

    By Sam Murray, Musicians’ Union activist and European Movement member. 

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  • For music and the arts, when the pandemic is over, the real problems of touring the EU post-Brexit will begin

    Award-winning composer Howard Goodall, actor and musician Jess Murphy and theatre director and writer Jonathan Holloway called on the government to urgently address the problems Brexit has caused for the creative arts, speaking at the European Movement conference today.

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  • Let's make a noise for musicians losing out after Brexit

    In Love With The Shape Of EU

    From Ed Sheeran and Brian May to Sir Elton John and Sting, more than a hundred of the biggest names in UK music this week joined forces to speak up and speak out against the government’s failure to secure post-Brexit visa-free arrangements for touring musicians that will enable them to perform throughout the EU.

    Breaking Down Barriers

    Under the Brexit deal, there will be more red tape for musicians as there will for everyone, whenever they transport goods into the EU, provide services or do both as in this case. There will be more paperwork, more searches of goods and more delays in crossing borders. These new tariffs and barriers for touring the EU will not only affect the performers and have immediate costs for the economy, but will also impact Britain’s cultural reputation and risk our position as a world leader in music, hurting us in the long term.

    Freedom (Of Movement)

    The issue of touring visas is only one of many hurdles when it comes to musicians and performers. The loss of freedom of movement is not just disastrous for UK citizens trying to earn a living in the EU, but for EU citizens working in the UK, now and in the future. For example, more than 20 per cent of musicians in some orchestras are from EU countries. Some of those EU citizens may not be able to secure settled status by the June 30 deadline, and musicians of the future will find it even harder to work in the UK.

    Don't Stop Me Now

    The problem of cabotage, meanwhile, will impact the ability of performers to cross multiple borders in a single tour. Under the new rules, hauliers carrying touring equipment around the EU will be limited to just two additional stops before returning to the UK, with the amount of time a British artist can spend in any of the 26 EU countries being determined by national law. Performers may require individual visas for each member state and could face £350 permits for individual instruments and other equipment. (The Common Travel Area means the rules for UK musicians travelling to Ireland are different).

    The Taxman's Taken All My Dough

    The limit on how many stops a touring lorry can make in the EU will be a major barrier to touring musicians who rely on UK-based hauliers to transport music equipment across the union for tours, most of which will exceed the total allowance of three stops. Adding to the costs and complications is tax. “Cultural Exemption”, which enables exemption from VAT on admission charges for cultural events in the EU, is vital for touring performers, and will now be lost. This will make tours of the EU by UK artists less viable in future.

    Money Money Money

    We will all suffer if these issues are not resolved. As Horace Trubridge, general secretary of the Musicians’ Union, told the House of Lords European Union committee today, the music industry alone is worth £5.8 billion to the UK economy, with more than 100,000 jobs. The music industry is of greater net value than the fishing industry, which despite being only 0.02 per cent of the British economy received considerably more consideration during the Brexit negotiations.


    And it is not just fishing that has received more coverage over the last few years. Overall, the creative industries sector, worth £110 billion to the UK’s economy and the fastest-growing sector, employs 700,000 more people than the financial services sector, and is worth £8 billion more than the automotive sector.

    Danger Danger

    Established pop stars, up-and-coming young artists, orchestras, classical musicians (see here for some heart-breaking case studies), all will suffer under the new rules, their right to ply their trades and bring joy in peril. With many performers already struggling due to the ban on live music under coronavirus restrictions, these new post-Brexit costs and red tape may push some over the edge and out of business.

    Fight The Power

    We will continue to fight for them, and all affected sectors, to limit the damage done by Brexit and rebuild our relationships with the EU.

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