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2022 music festivals -has Brexit impacted your faves?


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With the festival season getting into its stride this month starting with Download, is there a big drop in the numbers of bands from Europe playing at UK festivals, thanks to bluddy Brexit? I know line-ups have already been confirmed but I've had a gander at some of them but me not being a fan of 99% of those listed I haven't a clue where they come from. Conversely, I expect the presence of UK bands at most European ones will be way down on those up to 2019.  Because of the Brexit impact on visas, movement restrictions etc will this spoil your enjoyment of  festivals?

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Posted (edited)

I don't like festivals much, mostly because IMO the British climate is not suitable for them. Last time one of my bands played a season of festivals it rained at all but two (it was actually so cold at one that our guitarist had to wear gloves on stage in an attempt to stop his hands from seizing up) and one of those where it wasn't raining, we were playing indoors and hardly any of the audience wanted to come in out of the sun to watch us play.

 

The only "festival" I go to as a punter is WGW which is less of a festival in the traditional sense and more a weekend of gigs put on in the evenings in suitable indoor venues, the main event being 8 bands spread over the Friday and Saturday nights. In this case, up to now Brexit itself hasn't really impacted the choice of bands as have the various various travel restrictions due to Covid and the fact that bands have pulled out of gigs because one of them has a slight sniffly nose. Maybe I'll have a better idea come October 2023.

 

On the other hand my bands have picked up some decent gigs in the last 9 months due to being able to fill in for last-minute cancellations by US and European acts.

Edited by BigRedX
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The only festival I’ve really been to is Rebellion, the punk festival that takes place in Blackpools Winter Gardens every year. Looking at this years line up it doesn’t seem to be much different to the norm. 

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I know a guitarist who does a couple of festivals in Northern Ireland . He used to travel to Dublin and drive up, now because of Brexit, the paper work to take a band to an EU country is over £300. He's panning to take the ferry to Belfast now, a much longer journey.

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48 minutes ago, miles'tone said:

The only festival I'm going to is Bluedot with my family.  The lineup is diverse and multinational. Doesn't seem to be affected at all...

That's the only one I'm off to, with the missus. Other than the science it's mainly to see Groove Armada and Spiritualized.

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Not a festival goer but been persuaded to go to Chagstock this year. It looks small and friendly enough to be enjoyable and Kula Shaker are headlining one night, like a lot of their stuff but I don't think I ever got to see them so I can tick them off the list.

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Posted (edited)

I know several bands based in the EU who have had to turn down UK shows because of the post-Brexit visa and customs situation. They're all smaller bands who basically just can't afford the red tape. The old days of just piling your stuff in a Transit and getting on a ferry are over. Venues in both the EU and UK are reluctant to book bands from overseas because they're not convinced they'll actually be able to show up!

 

One of them did hit on an idea though - they put on a couple of shows in Dublin, and laid on coaches for GB-based fans. They worked out that even doing that is cheaper than dealing with all the visas and customs charges. 

 

The £300 charge that chris_b mentioned is per band member or crew member. Plus, for customs, they have to itemise (and possibly show receipts for) all their gear and personal effects, and pay VAT for any merchandise in advance. Most bands aren't registered as businesses, let alone VAT-registered. 

 

There's also the issue of cabotage - that, if you're driving a commercial vehicle (even a Transit or splitter van), you can only make 3 stops in the EU before you have to turn around and go home. You could rent a van on the continent to get around this, but that's yet more money most younger bands can't afford. 

 

What a cluster-fornication. 🙄

Edited by Russ
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A friend of mine has some gigs in Germany. He’s had to pay £300 for a carnet for his pedalboard.

 

VAT upfront for merch at every border, carnets for some gear. Trucking hit by cabotage rules. It’s bound to effect touring, in both directions.

 

I’m fortunate that I’ve qualified for an Irish passport courtesy of my gran being born in Cork. I will still be effected if I travel to gig, because I’m UK resident.

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8 minutes ago, SteveXFR said:

Isn't brexit more an issue for British bands touring Europe than for European bands travelling to Britain?

Only in as much as European bands have 26 other countries they can tour in with no restrictions, and the UK now only has one (Ireland).

 

The visa, customs and cabotage conditions are just as strict for European bands going to the UK. 

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1 minute ago, Supernaut said:

For the last 15 years at Download, it's either Kiss, Maiden or Def Leppard headlining...

 

Oh, would you look at that! 

We're not really talking about the sorts of bands who would headline Download. More the ones who'd end up on the smaller stages, at smaller festivals like Stonedead, and those who do pub or small venue gigs. 

 

The big bands have money, management, and most of them are long established. Paying for some visas that they didn't have to pay for before is a drop in the bucket compared to what they're already paying to move their stage show around the world. We're talking about smaller, newer unsigned bands, who don't have major financial backing or professional management, who've had the ability to expand their audience overseas severely restricted, in both directions. 

 

This is why the rubbish that the likes of Bruce Dickinson and Roger Daltrey have been spouting about Brexit winds me up so much - they say that bands from the UK used to tour in Europe before the EU, but conveniently forget that the music business was massively different back then. You never got to play gigs on the European mainland unless you were signed and managed, and this was back when labels and managers would pay to "develop" acts. The managers would pay for visas and arrange the logistics. Those days are long gone, the labels don't have the money for that sort of thing anymore, and smaller bands have to do all that sort of thing themselves now, on a shoestring budget. Plus, it reeks of them pulling up the drawbridge behind them. 

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57 minutes ago, Russ said:

Only in as much as European bands have 26 other countries they can tour in with no restrictions, and the UK now only has one (Ireland).

 

The visa, customs and cabotage conditions are just as strict for European bands going to the UK. 

 

But European bands touring the UK only have to pass through one border while British bands touring Europe have to pass through several (rarely all 28, more like 5 or 6). I guess it now makes more sense to tour the US instead of Europe. 

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27 minutes ago, SteveXFR said:

 

But European bands touring the UK only have to pass through one border while British bands touring Europe have to pass through several (rarely all 28, more like 5 or 6). I guess it now makes more sense to tour the US instead of Europe. 

It's still easier to get visas for Europe - they're a lot less strict than the US, but it's starting to become comparable. 

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1 hour ago, Russ said:

This is why the rubbish that the likes of Bruce Dickinson and Roger Daltrey have been spouting about Brexit winds me up so much - they say that bands from the UK used to tour in Europe before the EU, but conveniently forget that the music business was massively different back then. You never got to play gigs on the European mainland unless you were signed and managed, and this was back when labels and managers would pay to "develop" acts. The managers would pay for visas and arrange the logistics. Those days are long gone, the labels don't have the money for that sort of thing anymore, and smaller bands have to do all that sort of thing themselves now, on a shoestring budget. Plus, it reeks of them pulling up the drawbridge behind them. 

I don't care much for the man and his general pro Brexit stance but I grudgingly accept Daltrey did at least later recant and signed the petition to the government to get paperwork-free travel in Europe for UK artists.

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3 minutes ago, Barking Spiders said:

I don't care much for the man and his general pro Brexit stance but I grudgingly accept Daltrey did at least later recant and signed the petition to the government to get paperwork-free travel in Europe for UK artists.

The irony is, The Who never played outside of the UK and Ireland until they were well into their second record deal. The whole "mod" thing wasn't popular outside of the UK. 

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46 minutes ago, SteveXFR said:

 

But European bands touring the UK only have to pass through one border while British bands touring Europe have to pass through several (rarely all 28, more like 5 or 6). I guess it now makes more sense to tour the US instead of Europe. 

Probably makes sense for established UK bands to just limit themselves to those countries where they're most popular and successful like Muse is in Italy.  Similarly for up-and-coming acts it's probably best to the market research and work out which countries their music is most likely to do well in.

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6 minutes ago, Russ said:

The irony is, The Who never played outside of the UK and Ireland until they were well into their second record deal. The whole "mod" thing wasn't popular outside of the UK. 

Aye that's true. As with a lot of other British 60s-70s bands, were it not for success in US their overall sales would've been pretty poor. The Who did even worse in Europe than other big name Brit bands.

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11 minutes ago, hiram.k.hackenbacker said:

For the sake of not looking to find any other reason, let's say it's why the Glastonbury line-up is so awful this year.

 

It's been awful every year since Emily Eavis took over booking acts.

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11 minutes ago, hiram.k.hackenbacker said:

Agreed, but this year has no redeeming features in my opinion.

 

Foals, Skunk Anansie, Pigs x7 and The Damned are the only redeeming features I can see other than the lack of Coldplay. 

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4 hours ago, SteveXFR said:

Isn't brexit more an issue for British bands touring Europe than for European bands travelling to Britain?

No, it effects people in the EU travelling here too.

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4 hours ago, Russ said:

We're not really talking about the sorts of bands who would headline Download. More the ones who'd end up on the smaller stages, at smaller festivals like Stonedead, and those who do pub or small venue gigs. 

 

The big bands have money, management, and most of them are long established. Paying for some visas that they didn't have to pay for before is a drop in the bucket compared to what they're already paying to move their stage show around the world. We're talking about smaller, newer unsigned bands, who don't have major financial backing or professional management, who've had the ability to expand their audience overseas severely restricted, in both directions. 

 

This is why the rubbish that the likes of Bruce Dickinson and Roger Daltrey have been spouting about Brexit winds me up so much - they say that bands from the UK used to tour in Europe before the EU, but conveniently forget that the music business was massively different back then. You never got to play gigs on the European mainland unless you were signed and managed, and this was back when labels and managers would pay to "develop" acts. The managers would pay for visas and arrange the logistics. Those days are long gone, the labels don't have the money for that sort of thing anymore, and smaller bands have to do all that sort of thing themselves now, on a shoestring budget. Plus, it reeks of them pulling up the drawbridge behind them. 


It’s effecting bigger bands and artists too. I’ve seen Fish, Steven Wilson and Marillion complaining about it recently. 
 

There’s obviously all the visa/work permit, carnet and trucking expenses. You also have to pay VAT upfront on all your merchandise at every border you pass through. You claim it back later, but that’s potentially a massive initial outlay, especially if you’re doing 7 or 8 countries on your tour. You’ve also of course got to pay someone to organise that, keeping records etc.

 

Still, if it means we can have more powerful vacuum cleaners then I guess it’s worth it.

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