Showing posts with label Brexit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brexit. Show all posts

Monday, July 17, 2017

Barenboim for Prime Minister

Barenboim raises a hand with his Berlin Staatskapelle. (Photo: bbc.co.uk)

Three days into the Proms and it's already clear that the world's leading musicians are more clued in to the folly of the flat-earth idiocy in Brexit Island than our own politicians are. Igor Levit played the Ode to Joy as an encore after his performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.3 on opening night. Yesterday Daniel Barenboim followed the questing, Schumannesque lament for a vanishing world that Elgar's Second Symphony evokes with a speech about the dangers of isolationism, identifying the overarching problem that causes religious and political fundamentalism as a failure in education. The usual howls that politics and music don't mix have been curiously quiet - perhaps because Levit didn't say a word, but let Beethoven do all the speaking; and perhaps because Barenboim is, quite simply, right. [Update, 3.30pm: they've now stopped being quiet, but it was only a matter of time... and Barenboim is still right.]



(You can also read the transcribed text of his speech at Jon Jacobs' blog, Thoroughly Good, here.)

Watching and listening links for the Barenboim Prom here.

In the interests of our unfortunate country, I think it's time we kicked out the government and replaced them with people who know what they're talking about through music. It can't be any worse, after all. Following the Proms Coup (as opposed to the more usual Queue), here is the new cabinet.

PRESIDENT:
Ludwig van Beethoven. The greatest ideals and the biggest vision. Also, given his hearing disability, a fantastic symbol for inclusion and equality.

PRIME MINISTER:
Daniel Barenboim, one of the world's few true statesmen, working together with Beethoven.

FIRST SECRETARY OF STATE:
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, for a balancing human touch at the top of the power tree.

CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER:
Giacomo Meyerbeer, who made a great deal of money - and used it magnanimously.

FOREIGN SECRETARY:
Felix Mendelssohn, who could charm and befriend anyone and everyone, including royalty.

HOME SECRETARY:
Sir Edward Elgar, who works closely with Beethoven and Barenboim. A "home-grown" composer whose influences were chiefly European, including Schumann, Brahms and Strauss.

EDUCATION SECRETARY:
Zoltán Kodály, music's arch-educator with an outlook for both inclusiveness and expertise.

WORK AND PENSIONS SECRETARY:
Johann Sebastian Bach, who knew a thing or two about hard work and should have left Anna Magdalena a proper pension. (She ended her life destitute. Bach should fix this before it happens.)

DEFENCE MINISTER:
Franz Schubert, who had pacifist leanings.

ENVIRONMENT SECRETARY:
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, whose Scottish island landscape and terrifically powerful personality would be a valuable asset.

EQUALITIES MINISTER:
Dame Ethel Smyth. Cross her at your peril.

HEALTH SECRETARY:
Frédéric Chopin, who would evince a profound interest in making sure antibiotics remain effective and available to all.

TRANSPORT SECRETARY:
Antonin Dvorák, who'd enjoy sorting out our trains and would also ensure that everything ran smoothly on the transatlantic front.

SPORTS MINISTER:
Frederick Septimus Kelly, who was not only a fine composer, but also an Olympic gold medallist in 1908, for rowing.

BREXIT SECRETARY:
This department is abolished, because we ain't leaving.



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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Brexit: Creative Industries Federation offers 7 red lines

Main Title Here


The Creative Industries Federation published an important Brexit Report last autumn, looking at critical issues for the creative industries, arts and cultural education as the UK sets its course for the cliffs. Now that "negotiations" are underway, the CIF has distilled its recommendation into seven red-lines principles.

These include:

• Guarantee the rights of EU nationals currently working in the UK;
• Retain freedom of movement for EU workers, those in education and touring exhibitions, shows, musicians and support teams
• Remain part of the EU single market and the customs union - or at least find a free trade deal that replicates its frictionless travel arrangements as far as possible
• Continue to influence the shape of the EU's Digital Single Market (DSM)
• Maintain a robust and properly enforced International Property regime. [Do you have any idea how important this is? Please read about it, fast, right now.]
• Maintain reciprocal single market access for the distribution of UK and EU member state film and TV productions and audio-visual services
• Continue to participate in EU programmes such as Creative Europe, Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+.


A HUB FOR GLOBAL TALENT: The success of the UK’s creative industries is down to the people who work within it. Britain has a longstanding reputation as an open nation that attracts diverse global talent, and it is because of this that our creative sector is world-beating. If the UK loses easy access to people, it loses its competitive edge. If it loses its creative talent, it also loses its reputation as an attractive destination for work and play. 

Read them here.

Meanwhile there would be one very simple solution, which you can guess as well as I can, but we don't seem to have the right person at the top to do that job.




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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Top artists' manager speaks out against Brexit

It seems that the person who could have done best at running the STAY IN THE EU campaign is actually running the leading artists' management company Harrison Parrott. I've seen few words so eloquent and hard-hitting on the topic as those posted in this essay by the executive chairman Jasper Parrott himself, currently released on the company's website. We should all rally together with him.

UK Arts and Culture are a European legacy worth fighting for, he declares.
...We should remember that the wealth and power of the Great Britain that Brexiteers would so delusionally like to bring back was based substantially on wealth accumulated through slavery and the slave trade, exploitative colonialism, the cruel oppression of the poor and of children in the satanic mills of the Industrial Revolution, countless broken promises and a history of appalling leadership at many critical points of history including the lead into the two world wars and many other conflicts before and since in which we have been involved. 
To me however, our UK has been at its greatest as a major partner in the European project which has brought previously unimagined levels of freedom and prosperity to hundreds of millions of people since the Second World War, as the successful creator of a citizenship and homeland of rich cultural diversity and mutual tolerance, a haven of peace and opportunity, and a society where the arts, sciences, education and every aspect of culture can thrive as it has so successfully done, over the last 40 years. 
And how much greater our UK could have been if our leaders had wholeheartedly engaged with the challenges of leadership and reform from within the EU rather than using our power to carp, diminish, undermine and opt out...
Read the whole thing here.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

SHOCK: Top London orchestra will relocate to Germany

New home: the Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg

The London Philharmonic Orchestra has allegedly accepted a remarkable offer from the City of Hamburg to move to Germany after Brexit, adopting a new home base at the magnificent Elbphilharmonie. The UK orchestra is thought to be planning its migration for the year 2021, allowing time for Brexit negotiations to end and the 120-odd families involved to make relocation plans.

The deal is thought to include a substantial pay rise as well as improved working conditions that are standard amongst orchestras in Germany. The musicians can also expect to enjoy the facilities of the splendid new hall, which opened in January this year.

A Hamburg city representative declared: "Just as centres such as Frankfurt and Paris can't wait to get their hands on the business of British banks wishing to escape the effects of a hard Brexit, so we also are eager to welcome the finest arts organisations whose business operations will be made much easier if they can continue within the single market of the EU."

Asked about the expense to the city of supporting a British orchestra in addition to its own, the representative gave a shrug and a smile, saying: "This is a prosperous place with its feet on the ground and an enlightened approach to long-term thinking. We invest in the arts as a vital contributor to a proud and prosperous future for all people in our country. We value music as a symbol of humanity, unity and cultural enrichment. Musicians here are artists, and top-level, highly respected professionals besides. We like to treat them accordingly and show them how much they are valued."

The orchestra will continue to perform the concerts of its residency at Southbank Centre, but expects to find the exchange rate with the plunging pound favourable when paid in Euros.

While some members of the ensemble are said to be worried about the language, a spokesperson for the orchestra said: "Music is a universal language and will continue to unite us as it always has."

Asked what they would miss about London, some musicians remarked sarcastically: "The ruinously expensive hour-and-a-half commute to work on unreliable trains. And the cost of living was already ridiculous here even without the inflation Brexit is bringing." Others, however, praised the diversity, open-mindedness and enthusiasm of British audiences.

Although the deal reportedly divided opinion among the players at first, the clinching factor is thought to be a practice already known in Cologne, where every member of the orchestra is handed a glass of lager as they step off stage at the end of the concert. The Londoners on the Elbe are to receive a mug each of the excellent local Bergdorferbier after every performance.

The orchestra's name will be changed to reflect its new binational status. It will henceforth be known as the London Hamburger Orchestra.



Note: Please bear in mind that this post was published on 1 April....

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Prime Minister engages with the musical community as never before

Apart from being remembered as the man who drove the UK over the cliff, Prime Minister David Cameron may also go down in history as the one who inspired the most music. All because he left his mic on after he made his speech on Monday saying he'd be leaving on Wednesday, and hummed a little tune as he walked inside - presumably singing a song as he waved us goodbye.

Since then the musical community has been very busy trying to identify the tune: The West Wing? Tannhäuser? It's difficult to tell, so instead, some exciting and creative musicians have been trying to turn it into something new, spurred on by a challenge from Classic FM.

Here's the pianist Gabriela Montero's splendid Bachian improvisation.



Composer Thomas Hewitt Jones has created an atmospheric cello lament, written and recorded between midnight and 2am on 12 July. He's had more than 140,000 hits already.



And last but by no means least, here's a clever piece of counterpoint, since Dave Cam is most definitely gone with the wind.




Our new Prime Minister, Theresa May
Is taking over later today,
Whatever happens, let her hum on her way... 

Ironically, the First Night of the Proms on Friday features one of the works she chose when she was on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs a couple of years ago: the Elgar Cello Concerto. Did they know something we didn't?

[A little update: the headline on this piece is in fact a joke. J. O. K. E. Irony and all that. One shouldn't have to point this out, but I guess we live in interesting times. One of the best ways to navigate through daily life in 'interesting times' is to try having a dark-hued belly-laugh at them. If it helps, good. If it doesn't, well, there it is.]

Friday, July 01, 2016

The Somme, 1 July 1916

Poppies. Photo: John Beniston via Wikipedia

Below, the Elegy for Strings, "In Memoriam Rupert Brooke", by Frederick Septimus Kelly, the young Australian composer who was killed at the Battle of the Somme in summer 1916. Jelly d'Arányi, who had hoped to marry him, kept his picture on her piano for the rest of her life.

Please take a moment to remember that the organisation that unites European countries under one big umbrella was formed after World War II in order to stop wars from happening again between its member states. Today it's called the European Union. People in the UK last week voted by a narrow margin to leave this organisation.

It's chiefly a protest vote that lashes out against the holders of power and against that catch-all scapegoat, people who look different, speak a different language or come from somewhere else. Unfortunately the deprivation and alienation in many English and Welsh communities is the result of successive British government policies - e.g., the closure of our manufacturing bases and the mines, "austerity", etc - over the last 30-odd years (see this damning report about the UN's confirmation that the austerity regime breaches the UK's international human rights obligations). The EU actually put money into regenerating these places.

The nation that sent its finest young men to fight for our freedom a hundred years ago has now been sold down the river by a bunch of liars and jokers who were high on their own power and are living to regret it. Ironically, Theresa May, current front-runner for the vacant Tory leadership, has more or less declared that if she becomes PM the fiscal plan - the excuse for these past years of "austerity" - is dead in the water [update, 12.50pm: Chancellor George Osborne has just confirmed that the aim of a budget surplus by 2020 is being ditched]. Just in time for our Brexit-induced recession in 2017.

With any luck, this referendum can be turned to positive effect. It's exposed the depth of our societal fault-lines and the extent of the inequality that recent ideologies have worsened. It would take something as seismic as this to force a policy rethink. Now that rethink must happen, not a moment too soon.

It's not impossible that the structures of constitutional law may yet reveal Brexit as unworkable or illegal - it looks suspiciously as if it may be both. But if it does go ahead, we have to find a way to fight for the guarantees and conditions our businesses need in order to keep functioning on a global stage, and if those sunny uplands vaunted by the Leave camp turn out to exist, we have to seize the supposed opportunities they offer, whatever they may be (look, there goes another unicorn!). But the Article 50 button would have to be pushed first, and it'll be a bloody-minded PM indeed who is able to do that to his/her own country, especially when it could result in the break-up of the UK.

As we all remember the Battle of the Somme and the horrors of World War I today, let's reflect for a moment on the irony - and the hypocrisy - of the current situation.

Over to "Sep" Kelly.



Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Keep calm and...listen to Barenboim

This is probably the most astonishing performance of Beethoven's 'Appassionata' Sonata that I've ever heard.



Barenboim writes about Brexit on the Journal page of his website:

"The vote in favor of Brexit is, in my view, a very sad decision for Great Britain and Europe. It is, however, senseless to bathe in pessimism and desperation as Brexit is now an unchangeable historical fact.
The best thing to do now is to analyze both the extremist and populist motivations behind the vote to leave, and the serious issues requiring improvement.
The construction of the EU is far from ideal. Europe consists of so many different peoples, cultures, and languages that the EU requires a much more substantial unifying idea than simply joint trade and a single currency.There are now two possible reactions:
To lament Brexit and watch extremist movements in other countries such as France and the Netherlands seeking to follow the example of Great Britain.
Or, to think about necessary improvements for the EU and to work together towards a true spirit of unity and collaboration, especially in finding a global solution for the refugee crisis and not an exclusively European one.
Nationalism is the opposite of true patriotism, and the further fostering of nationalist sentiment would be the worst case-scenario for us all. Instead, we need a unifying, European patriotism. In the spirit of Kennedy’s words, we need to ask not what Europe can do for us, but we can do to fortify, solidify and unify Europe."
Those words will probably be cold comfort for UK readers. It shows just how relevant we are to the big picture as seen the rest of the continent, i.e., not at all, except as a lesson to others.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Cold light

Absorbing what's just happened to my home country takes some doing. Remember, against the nearly 52 per cent of people who voted to leave the EU - many of them, tragically, on the basis of outright lies and deceptions peddled to them by the Leave camp, supported by the tabloids (and I don't know how this is even legal) - 48 per cent of us voted to stay. The gap was fewer than two million, in a country of some 60 million plus, many of whom didn't vote at all.

Anyway, in the cold light of day, what are the implications for the music industry? Well, where shall we start??

Several artists' management companies and opera houses have put out statements. Here is a hard-hitting one from Jasper Parrott, head of HarrisonParrott and one of the most strong-minded and experienced people in the business:

‘The result of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union makes this a sombre and disheartening day for all of us.
‘Forged out of the bloodiest war in history after centuries of conflict and division, the European Union – however flawed it may be – has been at the heart of an international movement to share an enriching diversity of languages, cultures and aspirations, and celebrate the good of humanity.
‘The United Kingdom, one of the most active and successful laboratories for artistic and cultural pluralism, should remain true to this – one of history’s greatest projects.
‘We at HarrisonParrott are deeply committed to the idea that our business and our lives benefit immensely from the fact that our artists and our staff share such a diverse range of nationalities, languages and cultures, and we take great pride in the success of our open and internationally inclusive recruitment policy.
‘The referendum, in the considered opinion of many leading figures and commentators, was never really necessary – it was promised largely for party political purposes.
‘I believe government, in its it reckless decision to hold it, has failed us all in its primary duties of keeping us safe, protecting our welfare, and honouring our alliances and commitments. I fear this will go down in history as one of the great follies of vanity and opportunism.
‘The power of music and the arts is universal. It brings us all closer together in a creative and non-discriminatory way, which can only benefit society as a whole.
‘All of us involved in the Arts and Creative Industries must now do whatever is possible to heal these self-inflicted wounds.’

The classical music and opera world is incredibly international. Indeed, one of the weirdest things for me, watching all this unfold, is that it's barely two months ago that I went to the WIPO conference in Geneva when the contrast between territorially-based copyright laws and non-territorial, galloping technology that crosses all boundaries in a twink became abundantly clear - this is part of what is screwing the livelihoods of creatives, to put it bluntly. In such a globalised world, for the UK (or what's left of it, if Scotland goes independent) to imagine it can isolate itself and flourish by doing so is the silliest, least realistic idea imaginable.

Here are some of the most concerning issues. First:

• Money. 

The pound's value fell sharply and will probably be worth much less long-term.
-- This makes it more expensive for those in the UK to travel. So British artists earning fees on "the continent" will find their pay is worth more, but goes less far.
-- It could make it very difficult for UK promoters to afford to bring in foreign orchestras.
-- It's possible that our UK orchestras will be cheaper for the promoters overseas, so that may be a benefit. But the costs of transport and work permits/visas that currently aren't needed (assuming it turns out they do impose these) will be high and there'll be more admin involved so more costs associated with that.
-- Low pound and higher costs for imports will probably result in significant inflation, while possibly there'll be higher interest rates appearing too. Low pound is better for our exports, but we don't export very much, and of what we do, 40% goes to Europe... Inflation is a nightmare for anyone who's scratching around trying to make a living, which has already become more difficult for musicians and writers for other reasons.

So that means...
-- It may be harder to persuade people to sponsor orchestras, operas and concert series - and if the big City firms move to Frankfurt or Madrid, as they're already starting to consider, there will be fewer moneyed companies and high-earning individuals around to contribute to "Development".
-- Therefore, probably higher costs of tickets on an already squeezed audience.
-- We can manage on our own, the Leave camp assured us - ignoring the fact that the EU gives us hundreds of millions to spend on deprived areas (Cornwall and Yorkshire are already jittery about this, despite having voted to leave - pity they didn't think about that first) and on scientific research (which depends heavily on EU grants to fund crucial medical developments) and indeed on the Arts (try the Creative Europe programme, for a start). All that will simply evaporate, and the idea that our own government can replace it pound for pound is frankly laughable.
-- But also, because EU funds will not be there to help us, there will be more pressure on government funds. These will be hard hit because if the financial whizzes leave the country and so do all the hard-working, tax-paying EU immigrants, tax revenues will be seriously down. I've seen figures quoted today in significant billions.
-- So taxes will have to go up, hitting us all where it hurts. I can't imagine any alternative.
-- Austerity, austerity and more austerity, and more cuts and more cuts and more cuts, and the arts will be high in the firing line - not that they give the arts all that much now, but I won't be remotely surprised if government support for the arts simply vanishes, especially if we get a hard-right populist government led by some of the goons who have got us into this mess. Remember, Boris Johnson supported the skateboarders against the Southbank Centre redevelopment, which was a) nuts and b) fatal. Government funding has depended on the good will and appreciation of the arts among those in power. Say farewell to them, and London may also have to kiss goodbye to that dream of a new concert hall (all a bit quiet now about that, isn't it?).

Mark Pemberton of the Association of British Orchestras has warned of "challenges ahead" and writes:
‘Following the Referendum decision to leave the EU, the ABO is deeply concerned at the potential impact on its members.
‘The prospects for the nation’s public finances are worrying, and may affect the implementation of Orchestra Tax Relief, which has not as yet received Royal Assent, and lead to further reductions in public funding for the arts and local authorities.
‘We will need the new leadership of this country to give us guarantees as to continued freedom of movement across Europe’s borders for our orchestras, artists and orchestral musicians, and whether the many pan-European regulations that currently affect our sector, from VAT Cultural Exemption to harmonisation of radio spectrum, Noise at Work to the Digital Single Market, will still apply.
‘The worst outcome for our members will be additional uncertainty, bureaucracy and expense, allied to a worsening of their financial viability. The ABO’s next step is to work with whichever Ministers take responsibility from here on, to ensure the best possible outcome for our members.’

• Xenophobia

-- Our musical life is fabulously enriched by its internationalism. Musicians from the EU and beyond help to bring our orchestras, our chamber ensembles, our conservatories where they teach and study, to the level of the world's finest. London has the richest musical life of any city in Europe. All this will be in peril.
-- As part of the EU, UK nationals have the right to live, study and work in any European country. By leaving the EU, because part of the population thinks our problems are down to "foreigners" and want them not to come here any more, we are also shooting ourselves and especially our young people in the foot because we are forfeiting our own right to go to 27 other countries to live and work without being caught up in astronomical costs and a tangle of red tape. Conservatoire fees for Europeans here will be the same as they are for non-EU nationals, about £20k a year, and paying at the rates of non-EU students will most likely apply also to our youngsters wanting to study abroad.
-- It will be harder for European orchestras to justify employing British musicians, and a regulation headache for British ones to employ Europeans. This will affect, frightfully, career opportunities for the UK nationals and possibly the standards for our own orchestras.
-- I don't believe there is any reason to assume that EU musicians currently employed in British musical institutions will be chucked out, because all that will depend on the terms that are finally arranged; nothing is certain yet and currently we are still very much part of the EU, Cameron having not triggered Article 50, which starts the exit process; he has decided to leave it to his successor. We have to keep an eye on how negotiations pan out in due course. Things that happen there will do so several years down the line at the earliest; but the effects may begin sooner because some musicians will begin looking for opportunities elsewhere instead and may well not apply for UK courses and jobs for fear of what will transpire.
-- Did you know? Before the First World War foreign artists started to be banned in the UK. And before the Second World War regulations were brought in against foreign performers too, mainly targeting American dance bands.

-- All this comes from fear. But what frightens me is that the Out voters have fallen for what's probably the biggest con-trick in the history of Britain, pulled upon them by some of the most loathed politicians of today's administration including one who isn't even part of the government (Farage). Brexiting the EU will not solve any of the problems that frighten them. It will only make things more difficult for everybody (see "Money"). And when they realise that they've been had, and dragged the rest of us down with them, they'll be even angrier than they are now. The EU was the scapegoat, but it was the wrong scapegoat. It brought us innumerable advantages and all we have done is to throw them away for the sake of some kind of fictional notion of "sovereignty". When people realise the extent to which they've been duped, where will that anger go? Already there are reports of the British National Party bullying and harrassing Poles and Muslims in the east of England.

I've been writing a novel set in the 1930s and I'm beginning to feel I've stepped into it.

But:

-- Music is a profound artistic force that crosses all boundaries and speaks from a place of universal human experience.

-- Whatever happens, we have to find a way to make the best of it. We mustn't let Britain descend into fascism - the one thing it has never, ever done. We're better than that, we're better than this rubbish that's being foisted on us and, as Hans Sachs suggests in Meistersinger, we have to hold fast to our arts as the one bastion of positive identity and strength that can hold fast through everything.

And finally:

Yesterday, my musical encounters saved me in the midst of all the horror. I spent the morning interviewing one of London's greatest musician residents, virtually sitting at his feet while he talked about music and demonstrated on the instrument. Then in the evening I went to hear Benjamin Grosvenor's recital at the Wigmore Hall. The programme included the Chopin Funeral March Sonata, appropriately enough - and his interpretation seemed to articulate for all of us the emotions and anguishes we were going through. The final movement was very fast, a daring evocation of a terrifying madness. Yet at the close of the concert, his Liszt Venezia e Napoli was huge and dazzling fun. Music can still bring us together and offer us catharsis and spiritual solace - if only for a while. We can rely on music when we can rely on nothing else.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I'm IN, and here's why you should be too

Today 300 historians have added their voices to the Remain campaign, pointing out that were we to leave the EU, the UK would simply become an irrelevance. They declare:

"As historians of Britain and of Europe, we believe that Britain has had in the past, and will have in the future, an irreplaceable role to play in Europe. On 23 June, we face a choice: to cast ourselves adrift, condemning ourselves to irrelevance and Europe to division and weakness; or to reaffirm our commitment to the EU and stiffen the cohesion of our continent in a dangerous world."

Now, maybe you like the idea of the UK drifting away alone into mid-Atlantic, leaving us isolated and Europe weakened while Putin runs Russia and Trump may soon run America? I sure as hell don't. Neither do I much like the idea of our resulting isolation being run by the particular bunch of deluded ideological fantasist politicians, of many political hues, who are supporting "Brexit". To say nothing of the leader of the French National Front being in favour of it. 

It seems a no-brainer that for the music industry in particular "Brexit" would be a complete disaster. Here are some vital reasons to vote to stay in if you are part of this exceptionally international sphere.

• At the moment, UK musicians have the right to work anywhere in Europe and can therefore with ease take up posts at orchestras ranging from Berlin to Gothenburg to La Scala Milan with freedom should they be fortunate enough to be appointed. Likewise, European musicians can come to Britain and many do indeed bring their expertise to our finest orchestras. Standards have gone up enormously as a result and the performers' own horizons have a chance to expand unimpeded. If we lose this, quality levels will most likely drop and career prospects for UK musicians will be unnecessarily hobbled.

• UK orchestras and chamber groups travelling around Europe don't need working visas at the moment. If suddenly a working visa is required for the Schengen area, logistics will be vastly more complicated and the cost of it all will rise considerably.

• Workers' rights. Matters like maternity leave, holiday pay and more are protected by EU directives. Take those away and the pro-Brexiters left in charge will get rid of your rights faster than you can say Emmeline Pankhurst. If you want to be in the hands of those who will skew the already dangerous imbalance ever more towards the employers, cutting the pay, the rights and the dignity of everyone else, then vote Brexit...

• Music students, want to avoid crippling debt from college fees? Go and study in Germany. It's FREE. If we leave the EU, this will no longer be possible. (And remember, just because our schools don't bother to encourage it, that doesn't mean you can't learn another language. You can. Anyone can. Speaking different languages is a major advantage and you won't regret the time and effort you put into it.)

• Calling all Kaufmaniacs - and any music enthusiast who loves to travel to hear favourite musicians, rare operas et al: your air fares will rise, you may need a visa and if the pound falls as much as the Chancellor says (18 per cent) it will cost you a very great deal more.


In the interests of "balance" I've been trying to think of one advantage for the music industry of leaving.

I've come up with....

um...??

Nothing. Null. Nix. Nada. Nul points. (Oh, right - perhaps if we exit Europe we would have to leave the Eurovision Song Contest. That would be an advantage because the British entries are usually so embarrassing.)

So instead, here are more reasons to stay. The ticket agency Ticketbis (an organisation which helps fans resell and buy tickets for events all over the world) has been in touch with some further points. Most of them are couched in terms which apply to pop music, but the principles are exactly the same:

Tax: The cost of buying records and merchandise online could also increase for both people in the UK buying from Europe, and people in Europe buying from the UK. At the moment, you don't have to pay VAT or customs duty on imports and exports within the EU, but Brexit may change this.

Digital downloads could be affected too. Artists currently selling downloads don't have to register for VAT in every EU country, which could change should Britain leave the EU.

Smaller acts: The people who would be affected the most by Brexit are smaller acts who rely on touring Europe or heading to European festivals to gain exposure.

Bands will only be able to tour if a promoter makes them an offer to perform, and with the additional paperwork, European promoters may be less inclined to bother with smaller acts.

For artists who are not in the EU, a Schengen visa costs €60 per person (£45 to £50 depending on the current exchange rate). Four band members, a driver and tour manager puts an extra £300 on the cost of a tour.

Travel costs: The Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) has already warned that Brexit could be a disaster for the travel industry, both for tourists and business travel. The knock-on effects for the music industry – where fans travel as tourists and bands travel as businesses – could be significant.

Thanks to Britain’s current membership in the EU, it enjoys the EU-US open skies regulations, which mean flights between EU countries and the US are cheaper, more regular, and can be done to and from far more destinations. However, this could change if Britain leaves the EU.

Fans travelling abroad for concerts: In 2015, 75% of ticket sales through Ticketbis were for events outside of the UK and in 2014 80% of sales were for events outside of the UK. These sales figures show how popular travelling abroad to see your favourite artists is with music fans in the UK.

The rising travel costs will no doubt  affect the fans, whether they're following their favourite musicians on tour or heading out to European festivals. But it’s not just the extra cost which could affect fans’ ability to travel - free healthcare access, financial protection, freer movement of goods, caps on mobile phone charges and compensation for delayed flights are all benefits that come with EU membership, and could ultimately be lost should brexit take place.

Jaime de Miguel from Ticketbis said: “Over half (54%) of ticket sales through Ticketbis for events in the UK in 2016 have been from international fans that travel to the UK to attend music events. If the UK was to leave the EU these figures could be seriously affected and opportunities for fans to see their favourite artists live could be slashed.”