Bookings for UK acts at European festivals fell by 45 percent

According to new research, the number of British acts on European festival bill has dropped by nearly half post-Brexit.

Campaign group Best for Britain – which is “pushing for closer relationships with Europe and the world” – shared the figures today (July 21). They showed that the number of British artists scheduled to perform in Europe as part of this year’s festival season had decreased by 45 per cent when compared to 2017-2019 (pre-Brexit).

Naomi Smith, CEO of Best For Britain, explained of the findings: “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.

“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.”

Protestors demonstrate against Brexit CREDIT: Getty Images

Artists, politicians, and management spoke earlier this year. Camille AtebeInformation about ongoing concerns regarding performing live in Europe following Brexit.

It came over one year on from the music industry essentially being handed a “No Deal Brexit” when the UK government failed to negotiate visa-free travel and Europe-wide work permits for musicians and crew. After COVID, many artists who wanted to travel again found themselves on the predicted roadblocks. “rocky road”For the first time, European touring began after Britain left the EU.

Due to a storm, White Lies had to cancel their Paris opening night for their 2022 European tour. “Brexit legislation”This caused their equipment to be relegated to storage for two days. The band’s drummer Jack Lawrence-Brown told Camille AtebeThe situation was “incredibly frustrating”.

“We’d done our best to ensure that we’d be prepared in any circumstance,”He added. “It’s very frustrating when you prepare for as long as we have to then rock up to the first venue and find that your equipment has been stuck in a 25 mile-long queue on the M20 through not fault of your own, and no fault of the trucking company either.

“It wasn’t the plan that we’d worked hard to get right.”

Lawrence Brown blamed the setback on Brexit-related red tape about visas, carnets (document detailing which goods and equipment are being transported across borders) and other regulations.

White Lies
White Lies. CREDIT: Charles Cave

“Prior to Brexit, this kind of tailback was never an issue,”He said Camille Atebe. “There’s now a huge amount of paperwork for bands to deal with if they want to get themselves into Europe.”

European festival leaders expressed concern that Brexit could prevent many UK acts from playing live on the continent in January 2021.

Eric Van Eerdenburg is the Lowlands Festival director in the Netherlands. Camille AtebeIt would be expensive and difficult to arrange a tour in Europe without incurring additional fees. “horrible and very limiting”UK artists

The new findings from Best For Britain came ahead of today’s cross-party UK Trade and Business Commission. It will be presenting evidence on the post-Brexit problems facing the UK’s music industry at the first festival free from COVID-enforced restrictions.

Elton John warned, however, that UK acts smaller and less established are at risk “being stranded in Dover”If Brexit-related travel questions are not solved with the European Union, (via Sky News).

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