Will Brexit affect touring musicians?


KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Given that most bands tend towards liberal politics, it was no surprise that Britain’s decision to leave the EU sent shockwaves around Glastonbury.

Even hard-rocking Texas band ZZ Top watched the results unfold on their tour bus.

“We were just curious,” singer Billy Gibbons told the BBC. “It was wild.

Get breaking news on your Mobile as-it-happens. SMS ‘NEWS’ to 20153

“I was watching in Las Vegas. If you think a dice game has good odds, you should have been in the big betting room there.

“The odds were huge. It was Britain all the way.”

The band didn’t mention the vote during their Glastonbury set – but many others did. Damon Albarn said: “Democracy has failed us, because it was ill-informed”, while Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis vented his frustration by wearing a t-shirt bearing the slogan: “Abuse of power comes as no surprise”.

But what does leaving the EU mean for musicians?

The BPI, which represents the British music industry, said on Friday, “We will, of course, press the government to swiftly negotiate trade deals that will ensure unimpeded access to EU markets for our music and our touring artists.”

Artists at Glastonbury were worried about the impact of the weak pound on the cost of touring, and how red tape would affect their ability to play abroad.

Also Read  Katherine Silva talks about winning Africa Pageant

This is what they said:


Lauren Mayberry: “I think the nature of touring is going to change massively. The summer we’re looking at right now is just hopping from country to country within Europe and in order to do that when we’re not part of the European Union, we would presumably need to go to a different embassy for every different country and apply for a visa for us and everybody in our crew.”

Martin Doherty: “We also employ mainland Europeans within our crew, and they will struggle to get work permits and continue under the employ of our band. It’s all very complicated.”

THE 1975

Matt Healy: “I was literally leaving the European Union when I heard the result. I was in a queue in Copenhagen to get in a plane back to London and I didn’t know which queue to get in. It’s a weird time.

“It will make touring a lot harder – but freedom of movement isn’t literally going to stop. There’ll still be soft borders. I’m sure there’ll be a European Visa.

“One of the things people who travel on tour buses through Europe were saying was that we’ll have to get up every two hours when we [cross the border] into Luxembourg and Belgium. I don’t think that’s going to be the case. I just think our generation has been robbed of the opportunity for friendships and relationships and work opportunities.

Also Read  Kenyan lands Jaguar Petroleum boost for 2021 KNRC


Dan Smith: “I’m really gutted and really shocked. It’s going to have a huge knock-on effect.

“One of the amazing things about Europe is the freedom to travel, and the freedom to work wherever you want. We’re lucky enough as a touring band to get to go every weekend to play two or three festivals in different European countries and it’s so easy. We can get on a ferry and go there, and it’s something we’ve totally taken for granted. But now I imagine there’ll be loads and loads of red tape to get through.”


“I think we’ll still have a positive relationship with Europe. I’m old enough to remember how it was before [integration] and the British passport has always been looked on as something that’s fairly easy to get in and out of countries with.”


Danish singer MO, the voice behind Major Lazer’s Lean On, travelled to Britain the day after the results. She remains positive that she will be able to continue working in the UK without any major restrictions.

Also Read  Dr Dre back home

“Like everyone else, I’m just thinking ‘what’s this going to mean?’. But hopefully it won’t be as hard as people fear.

“I’ve spent a lot of time queuing up in embassies for a visa. You have to be there in person and show your face but it’s not too bad. I remember when I was going to India for the first time, I had to stay in the embassy six hours, early in the morning, standing up the whole time. But I was like, ‘screw that, I’m going to India!’.

“It’s always just about attitude. You have to accept this is the world, this is how it is. Hopefully someday it will be different.”


Tim Booth: “As a band, we’re pretty European in nature, so we were pretty upset. I feel sad that Britain has gone back to being an island, in a certain kind of metaphorical way.

Saul Davies: “The effect on touring remains to be seen. That’s the whole point about change. Change brings about difference, difference is unknown until you’re in it.”


Tell Us What You Think