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Booking of UK acts at European festivals drops by 45% due to Brexit

The number of British musical acts appearing on the lineups of European festivals has dropped by nearly half in the post-Brexit world, per the findings of new research.

The internationalist group Best For Britain, which campaigns for “closer relationships with Europe and the world”, shared some alarming figures yesterday (July 21st). Their data showed that the number of British musicians booked to perform on the continent over this year’s festival season has fallen by 45% when compared to the pre-Brexit period of 2017-2019. 

Noami Smith, CEO of the group, explained: “The Beatles famously made their name in Europe and it’s on tour that many musicians gain the formative experiences and audiences they need to take off.”

“With their dud Brexit deal, our lame duck Government has not only robbed emerging British talent of these opportunities abroad, but has also made international acts think twice before including Glasgow or London in their European tours,” she continued. 

The Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians and UK Trade and Business Commissioner, Deborah Annetts, echoed Smith’s sentiment: “Previous witnesses to our commission have described how, if you’re a festival organiser in Barcelona who needs to fill a last-minute slot, British bands will be at the bottom of your list due to new barriers created by this botched Brexit deal.”

She concluded: “Whoever ends up replacing Boris Johnson must commit to removing this needless bureaucracy which is stifling the prosperity and creativity of the next generation of British musicians.”

Interestingly, the new Best For Britain findings were published ahead of yesterday’s cross-party UK Trade and Business Commission. It is investigating the post-Brexit challenges faced by the UK music industry after Covid-19 restrictions have been dropped. 

Even the iconic musician Elton John has weighed in on the devastating effects of Brexit on the UK music industry. Per a report in Sky Newsthe ‘Rocket Man’ singer forewarned that less established UK acts risk being “stranded in Dover” if Brexit-related travel issues are not ironed out with the European Union. 

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