Brexit does not have to be Brexist! If Britain backs out of Europe, don’t let it taint the atmosphere of what has been an open door music scene in the UK.
The British music scene is still flourishing. There are new exciting acts and vinyl sales going up enough to make us indie darlings shiver with delight. But all this may come to an end in the uncertain future that is Brexit.
In the 50 years since Beatlemania, Britain has maintained a reputation for being the biggest exporter of music in Europe and frankly the second biggest on a world basis, only beaten by the hype machine that is the USA. But as the British people said ‘No’ to the EU, they simultaneously pulled the rug from under the British music industry. Closing the door on Europe is suddenly as real as the systematic closure of grassroots venues around the UK; both developments are equally bad news for touring bands.
The prospect of increased costs in a post-Brexit Europe will put touring in jeopardy. And cutting off the UK music industry isn’t just a tragedy for bands and audiences; it could also be expensive for the British economy as a whole. Believe it or not, creative industries still create money (if we’re going to be cynical about it).
UK Music recently presented a study showing that 10.4m “music tourists” came to the UK in 2015, and their overall spending was £3.7bn. These people, like myself, are attracted to the UK because it has a diverse music scene, a marvelous array of venues, heaps of great gigs and what amounts to an exclusive market. But taking away the opportunity to show case this by making touring unsustainable, and you will effectively kill the UK’s current status as a beacon for music fans globally.
When I was 17 I moved to Northampton to study, and to be honest, because most of the artists on my carefully crafted playlists came from this dumb island that cherishes tea and binge drinking. And no, I don’t mean to insult absolutely everyone that reads this (probably only half). Because it is a goddamn compliment to have such a vast, varied and straight up amazing music scene, and it is a shame that the people in power, as well as the man on the street, seem to be trying to tear down this pillar of world-renowned culture.
So while some of you Brexiters might not give a sod about those pretentious hipster people in doc martens that wear skinny jeans and sun glasses inside, please don’t ignore the thousands of people that actually work in, and rely on this music industry.
Even if you bear a grudge because that lead singer gets to screw more girls than you, don’t let your hard feelings lead to the potential break down of an industry which would put teams of techies and roadies on the dole. Employment in the music industry rose 1.4% last year, with 119,020 full time jobs in 2015; but with Brexit in prospect many of these jobs are looking decidedly dodgy.
I am a foreigner here myself. I can’t do anything to make you Brits change your vote. But if you must have Brexit, please don’t be Brexist about it, and take steps to protect one of your greatest assets – the UK music scene.