Musicians: Our Strong Relationship With The EU (has just been messed up)

Brexit: The Hidden Cost To The Arts

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This is what UK GOV thinks of the Arts!

At the end of 2020 a deal was done with the EU; a very poor, light-weight deal. Whether you are a Leaver or Remainer you will probably be thinking that this outcome was not what I was expecting when the result of the referendum was announced in 2016.

 

Someone shortly after the result was announced said "Brexit Means Brexit". Well, whatever that meant at the time we're finding out just exactly what that means now. The headlines of the deal promised 'no barriers' to trade with the EU. So it has come as a surprise to many businesses that they are now finding it difficult or even impossible to trade with their EU market.

 

The result for musicians is astonishly bad. The article below from The Guardian Newspaper highlights the bleak future for many musicians in the coming months and years as a result of leaving the EU with such a poor deal.

 

During negotiations the EU offered limited freedom of movement to British musicians in exchange for the same for EU musicians touring the UK. Negotiators failed to reach agreement leaving UK musicians high and dry!

 

Leaving the situation unresolved is a monstrous dereliction of duty. Apart from the effect on musicians' careers just think of the loss of earnings and the loss of tax revenue.  The music industry is a massive UK export on top of which it provides enormously to the UK's reputation abroad. 

It looks very likely that this will not be resolved in hurry. This is not a trivial issue. This is now so damaging to UK musicians.

With this in mind, to highlight how this incompetence has such a real effect, I have been looking back at parts of my life which, if I was to try to do them over again, would now become either impossible to do, much more difficult to do, or not worth putting in the effort. 

 

Here are just a few of them:

  • In 2000, I literally used to commute each weekend between my flat in London and a chateau in Normandy. During the week I would see clients in London and then at the weekend I worked as Marketing Director at the chateau. This would now be too complicated if not impossible without a huge amount of administration, visas etc.

  • Together with my partner Jan, we ran our music & yoga retreats in Normandy between 2003 and 2015. We were based in Cirencester but moved over there each summer. It was no more difficult than doing the same thing in the UK. It would now be hugely more complicated and would not be worth the hassle. I just think of the many guests and friends who have enjoyed our yoga and music retreats who would no longer be able to benefit from the experiences they gained with us during those years. 

  • As a former Head of Music I took my school orchestra for tours across Europe. The admin would now be a nightmare. Remember we are a multicultural country and some of my school students might encounter difficulties travelling without the correct paperwork. Would I do this again? Yes probably, for the sake of the students, but with a lot of sleepless nights worrying about the consequences of getting some ridiculously unnecessary admin wrong.

  • In non-music work (which is just as relevant to this issue) I was a self-employed sales skills trainer working in a consultant capacity for Xerox delivering training courses across Europe. It could still happen again but the paperwork would now be massive. In fact I would probably not have got the gig because it would now be easier to employ someone else from within the EU.

I know of many professionals who now don't have the opportunities I had and am very sad about this. There is so much that hasn't been included in this shoddy 'deal' that won't be visible.  The lorries at Dover and Holihead might be seen queuing or they might not. But no-one will see things like the above because in many cases they just won't happen.

 

They will just quietly disappear thanks to Brexit. This will be one of the many unseen Brexit tragedies.

UK performers raise alarm as Brexit deal threatens EU touring

Guardian Newspaper - Tue 29 Dec 2020 14.58 GMT

 

Actors, musicians and comedians have reacted with alarm to provisions in the Brexit trade deal that will prevent British performers moving around many European countries without a work permit.

Leaders of the culture sector fear the clauses will severely curtail the ability of performers to go on tour in Europe, and will hamper the recovery of the arts after the devastating impact of the pandemic.

 

The clauses in the deal will affect tens of thousands of people in the UK’s creative industries, including film-makers, technicians and models as well as performers.

It said that under the deal UK performers would be considered as third-country nationals, meaning that they would have to adhere to the immigration rules of each EU member state in which they worked. It pointed out that some countries, including France and Ireland, allow performers to work at least for 90 days. But others – including Denmark, Italy and Spain – require permits.

It said: “This will have huge implications for UK musicians who work within the EU, as the ISM’s most recent Brexit report found that 78% of musicians visit EU/EEA at least once a year to perform.”
 

Musicians and other performers requiring equipment face the added burden of having to fill out a carnet, a passport for goods that involves paying a deposit on the gear involved.

Ian Smith, the director of the international music agencies Frusion and Frizzion, said the new arrangements would add thousands of pounds to the cost of small bands touring in the EU. He said: “For small emerging bands it is going to be a very onerous cost. The Musicians’ Union have been warning about this for four years, but it has been ignored. It could hit 150,000 musicians at least.”

He also pointed out that from January musicians face the added risk of having their instruments confiscated if they contain rare wood or ivory and don’t have the correct paperwork... Read the full article in The Guardian Newspaper here

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