The renowned alternative English band, Radiohead has brought forth another musician who is in dismay at the post-Brexit touring situation. The bass guitarist, Colin Greenwood, has stated in his op-ed for The Guardian today that the government should ‘admit it did not do enough for the creative industries during the Brexit negotiations and look to renegotiate on the provision for touring in Europe’.
Brexit and touring Europe https://t.co/9GJ3N3KwKb
— colingreenwood (@colingreenwood) February 8, 2021
The Incorporated Society for Musicians (ISM) have deducted that 44% of musicians earn up to half of their earnings in the EU/EEA with 43% travelling to the EU over fives times a year. 76% of UK musicians say it’s likely Brexit will stop them performing in Europe. These statistics are worrying for music-fanatics and gig-goers across the continent, halting emerging and exciting artists from touring in their cities.
British music revolves around touring and for emerging artists, Europe proposed opportunities to explore new sounds and work on their craft. Take a look at The Beatles in Hamburg for instance, who played countless gigs in the German seaport for 2 years, perfecting their music to become a global sensation. Acknowledging this important period for the band, Greenwood stated ‘Like Hamburg to the Beatles, Europe was crucial to our growth as a band. It allowed us to see ourselves untethered from our UK roots and to imagine a life in music that could reach audiences everywhere.’
Greenwood’s article follows on many recent iconic artists who are in shock at the touring negotiations for UK musicians. Sir Elton John has openly stated that the current situation is ‘ridiculous’ since ‘music is one of Britain’s greatest cultural exports’. Both Greenwood and John stated how European touring was vital to their growth as musicians and evolving their craft, expressing sadness that emerging artists will be unable to do this.
Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood writes op-ed about post-Brexit touring: “I’m worried for all the brilliant crew who have carried us as a band for nearly 30 years” https://t.co/ikyX3wOpZl pic.twitter.com/OzZu1bRC0W
— Stereogum (@stereogum) February 8, 2021
Greenwood states clearly in his article that this is a ‘tragedy of deferred dreams’ and that his ‘heart sinks at all the new costs and kerfuffle.’ Reporting on the new costs for musicians he says, ‘a £10,000 guitar would need a carnet that would cost about £650 plus VAT. The costs of travel and accommodation are already high, and the extra paperwork and expenses would rise quickly for a touring orchestra.’ Naomi Pohl, deputy general secretary of Musician’s Union confirms the rise in costs for touring British orchestras saying, “When you’re dealing with an orchestra, you’re talking about 70 musicians needing to get a work permit. So it’s a massive issue.”
280,000 musicians and fans have signed the petition to renegotiate the terms of European touring with the EU. Liam Gallagher, Dave Rowntree and Glastonbury co-organiser, Emily Eavis, are among the many that are outraged at the touring fees from EU negotiations. The debate in parliament went ahead today to discuss the terms of renegotiation. Greenwood rounds off his passionate plea for European touring to return with ‘I am proud of my country and all the music it has exchanged with the world, and I am sure that pride is felt across all ages and cultures in the UK.’
Watch Colin Greenwood on Sky News explain the necessities for renegotiation here.