British Acts Playing European Festivals Plummet 45% Post Brexit


July 21, 2022

The number of British acts booked to perform at European festivals has fallen by 45% since-Brexit, according to a new report from internationalist campaign group Best For Britain.

The new figures reveal that, on average, the number of British musicians scheduled to perform at European festivals this summer is down by 45% compared to the pre-Brexit years 2017-19, raising concerns about the impact Brexit could have on the next generation of UK musicians.

Live music Industry leaders have warned that the UK Government’s Brexit deal will make the process of doing business significantly more difficult for touring musicians and is ‘incompatible with common industry practice’, where musicians can be asked to fill last-minute vacancies in a festival line up. They claim that the end of freedom of movement has effectively disqualified British artists from these opportunities.

In April, British band, White Lies were forced to cancel a performance in Paris citing what they described as “an appallingly-run government system in the UK”, which saw their equipment detained by officials enforcing post-Brexit customs rules.

Meanwhile, high profile artists such as Elton John, Radiohead and Biffy Clyro have previously called for the government to address the issues facing musicians following Brexit. This week, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Music called for the appointment of a "touring tsar" to help solve the problems.

“The Beatles famously made their name in Europe and it’s on tour that many musicians gain the formative experiences and audiences they need to take off,” said Naomi Smith, CEO of Best for Britain. “With their dud Brexit deal, our lame duck Government has not only robbed emerging British talent of these opportunities abroad, but has also made international acts think twice before including Glasgow or London in their European tours.”

Chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians and UK Trade and Business Commissioner, Deborah Annetts, added: “Previous witnesses to our commission have described how, if you’re a festival organiser in Barcelona who needs to fill a last minute slot, British bands will be at the bottom of your list due to new barriers created by this botched Brexit deal.

“Whoever ends up replacing Boris Johnson must commit to removing this needless bureaucracy which is stifling the prosperity and creativity of the next generation of British musicians.”

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