What does Brexit mean for music lovers?

How does Brexit impact on the ravers, gig goers, musicians and festival dwellers of the UK? Jimmy Coultas and Mike Warburton peer into the impact it'll have.

Jimmy Coultas

Last updated: 16th Jan 2019

Photo: International Business Times

There's a deluge of talk in the media and throughout the country about the effects of leaving the EU, from the financial impact down to freedom of movement - but just how would the music industry be affected, and indeed the country's nightlife? Will it have any effect at all?

From looking at the evidence, leaving the EU looks like it will be seriously damaging for musicians and music lovers, and here's why.

First off, it'll be more expensive and difficult to see foreign DJs. Right now the likes of Adam Beyer, Paul Van DykMarco Carola and, if they ever come back to play live, Daft Punk can hop on a plane and arrive in the UK with ease. So too bands and musicians like The Game and Fun Lovin' Criminals.

The costs from a predicted dip in the strength of the pound and hassles of travel due to visas and various red tape would be transferred to the ticket prices of getting in to these events, and leave promoters with less money to use on other acts, festival sites, staff and much more.

Of course Kings of Leon, DJ Sneak, Kanye West (any excuse to relive the highlight of his Glasto performance below) and the other non EU residing superstars we pay to go and see still make it over here, but that ease with which their EU counterparts come over will stop.

Although even with those acts - they benefit from the EU-US open skies regulation. It makes Transatlantic flights easier, more regular and cheaper. So you can expect those rising costs to be transferred to you, the punter.

The flip is it might make the UK based artists stay here more... unless they get kicked out of the country for not being British enough.

The future also looks bleak for burgeoning bands, who will struggle to break through thanks to a number of reasons. Smaller and up and coming acts would have a much harder time supporting themselves.

These bands rely on European tours and particularly European Festivals to find their audience and earn exposure as well as earning financially from merchandise sales. With potential visa costs at 60 euros a person, promoters are far less likely to bother with extra costs and bureaucracy incurred from booking bands from outside the EU.

Going abroad as a reveler is certain to be harder and more expensive as well. That summer trip to Ibiza or Croatia will be a lot tougher to get together if we bounce out of Europe; and a lot more expensive.

You know those £2 a day roaming deals you get from your phone network, the ones that make it cheap to send that LOL Snapchat to make all your mates jealous back home? Kiss that goodbye, and fluctuations in currency as mentioned before could mean the booze that fuels the fun is a lot dearer. 

Photo: Space Ibiza

Outside of financial issues - if you're at a festival or in Ibiza and the worst happens, access to free health care would end incurring huge costs after the fact. There'd also be a loss of financial protection, caps on mobile phone charges would be removed and financial compensation for delayed flights that are included within the EU membership would be no longer.

The impact on the economy hits your pocket too. If you're an avid vinyl buyer for instance, you can expect your costs to increase exponentially. With so many record labels based in Germany and The Netherlands for instance, customs duty and VAT costs would be added - the same would happen with all music merchandise. Digital downloaders too would be hit, as currently artists selling downloads don't have to register for VAT in every EU country.

Every forecast seems to be predicting, at the very least, a short term drop in our fiscal performance. If the country has less money, this generally means we do too, so if you're earning less that's less spent on your nights out - the effect on Britain's nightlife could be hugely damaging.

Economic strife isn't always bad for the music scene -a recession gave us acid house after all - but you don't want to put your name to something you don't believe will do good overall. So think of all these facts which ever way you are planning on voting (and you really do need to plan to).

On a parting note, one of the most tiresome things about the whole Brexit issue has been that of race. Whether it's been backwards minded people on the leave campaign spouting guff about dirty immigrants or people in remain mindlessly tarring anyone in opposition as a fascist, it's been an ugly side-show to the whole debate, clouding the reality of what's really at stake.

Music is about togetherness, and in an era where atrocities are now sadly taking place in clubs and music venues this couldn't be any more potent. The clubbing scene in particular is built on an acceptance of others regardless of race, creed, gender or sexual preference, so voting to keep immigrants out of the UK would be a move against the very foundations of the scene we love so much. 

Festivals 2024

Skiddle Stories