Brexit Festival Discord: Brexit Leaves UK festivals to face the music

Think you know what the major issues Brexit will cause for the UK? Think again, Brexit promises to have major consequences for music lovers across the land.

Festivals are a £2.3billion business in the UK. Over 1000 domestic festivals are planned for this year, but all is not well in the UK music scene. Festivals are getting cancelled left and right and profits are dwindling. Even the mighty Glastonbury only makes a profit of just over 50p for every ticket they sell. In this clearly an unsustainable market, just one more setback can burst the bubble. Unfortunately for music-lovers, Brexit is just around the corner and promises to change the game for good.


In 2015, over 760,000 EU nationals travelled to the UK to attend music festivals. They spent over £38m on tickets and each trip costs an average of £1000 each. With an uncertain future on the horizon, the absence of these EU musical tourists will leave a £767m hole in Britain’s music scene. With such a huge loss of money, how will the UK’s cultural output evolve?


Increasing numbers of UK festivals are being cancelled already and with Brexit looming, their future seems bleak. It’s not just small, independent festivals that are under threat; our bigger festivals are also feeling the ever-increasing pinch.


Around 1,000 artists travel to the UK from the EU to play shows and festivals. With the very real prospect of far tighter visa laws and restrictions for EU citizens it is highly likely that this number will diminish greatly. ParcelHero expect an artist visa situation similar to the United States, where an artist must buy an expensive performance visa if they are playing paid shows. This will dramatically lower the chances of smaller EU bands being able to perform in the UK. Case in point; around 7 bands were deported this year en route to Austin’s SXSW festival. Some bands even spent the night in jail.


For EU artists wanting to play UK shows and bring their equipment over, they must buy special documents called carnets. These cost between £1000-£2000. Smaller artists simply cannot afford these fees and will certainly lose out on exposure and further opportunities to promote their music abroad. British bands wanting to play in the EU would face the same costs and delays as EU bands trying to play shows and festivals in the UK.


Digital formats have all but wiped out physical music sales and bands now rely on merchandise to bring any money in. Should Britain leave the EU single market the tariff payable on an EU artist’s T shirt would be 12% plus VAT of 20%. Many bands simply will not be able to afford to play UK shows.


Download our in-depth report and find out what the exact struggles that the already struggling UK music scene is set to face in under 2 years.


Download Brexit Festival report

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