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Report: 2020 festival season “main worry” post-Brexit

A report published by the Birmingham Live Music Project (BLMP) has revealed the main live music-related concerns for industry figures, policymakers and academics in a post-Brexit world.

The report, written by researchers at Aston University, Birmingham City University and Newcastle University with contributions by Arts Council England, Birmingham Music Coalition and Musicians’ Union, states the decrease in ‘music tourism’ to the UK is likely to cost the economy “hundreds of millions of pounds”.

The 2020 festival season is identified as one of the major concerns for the UK music industry after Brexit.

“Given the uncertainty around Brexit, it is hard to predict what the potential costs of running events of such scale may be in order to plan for any potential losses linked to those costs,” write the authors of the report: Patrycja Rozbicka, Craig Hamilton, Adam Behr, Patricia Correa Vila and Luke John Davies.

A drop in “consumer confidence” has already resulted in a slower sales cycle for live events, which is proving a particular issue for emerging artists. As a consequence, managers and agents are becoming “increasingly risk-averse”, often preferring to ask for fixed fees over a percentage of sales.

“Given the uncertainty around Brexit, it is hard to predict what the potential costs of running events of such scale may be”

“The feeling amongst local stakeholders is that these issues will only become more difficult to manage should Brexit go badly,” states the report, highlighting the effect on promoters who “have to underwrite the success (or otherwise) of shows”.

Touring – which has been deemed “unviable” for some post-Brexit – is another major issue for the BLMP. UK acts seeking to play in Europe would face “increased financial and administrative burdens” and a ‘cultural pushback’ against the UK may decrease the number of opportunities for UK acts abroad, as well as the attractiveness of the country as a touring destination.

Disruptions and delays at UK and EU borders are also likely to cause issues, with a “shortage of warehouse space” in the country driving up prices for production firms wishing to store equipment.

The UK has also traditionally acted as a “staging post” for international acts touring the EU. If current UK-based production companies were to relocate to cities with better access to EU markets such as Dublin, states the report, jobs and opportunities are likely to go with them.

“This report is the first step in a bigger project which aims to provide much needed creative solutions and recommendations to secure the future of the music industry as we know it pre-Brexit”

“By bringing a variety of stakeholders together, we aimed to explore the way Brexit is likely to impact everything from the thousands of people who follow and support the live music industry, through to the musicians themselves and the regional authorities that legislate and administrate for cultural economies,” comments Patrycja Rozbicka, one of the authors of the report.

“This report is the first step in a bigger project which aims to provide much needed creative solutions and recommendations to secure the future of the music industry as we know it pre-Brexit.”

UK live industry figures have deemed existing government recommendations on touring post Brexit as “inadequate”.

The BLMP is a research programme jointly run by Rozbicka (Aston University), Behr (Newcastle University) and Hamilton (Birmingham City University). A full version of the report is available to read here.

 


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Hammond warned against neglecting creative sector

The UK’s Creative Industries Federation has reacted with cautious optimism to what it calls yesterday’s “sober autumn statement … in the face of great uncertainty and worrying economic figures” by chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond.

The federation’s chief executive, John Kampfner, has praised measures “which might benefit” the creative sector, including a £1 billion investment in high-speed broadband, £1.6 million for the new Studio 44 arts complex in Southampton, additional support for UK Export Finance and £1.8bn for local enterprise partnerships in England, but says the statement “appear[ed] to focus support for innovation and R&D [too] narrowly on science and tech”.

“The creative industries are the fastest-growing sector of the UK economy. […] We can deliver so much more if we are made a priority sector in the government’s thinking,” comments Kampfner.

“We can deliver so much more if we are made a priority sector in the government’s thinking”

While acknowledging the positives, Kampfner notes “there are several areas which have not been discussed today, such as education, skills and training, including apprenticeships, which we would hope will have a bigger place in the industrial strategy”.

The Creative Industries Federation last month published its Brexit Report, which called for “the creative industries to be put at the heart of government thinking as the country develops its new industrial strategy, forges new international trade deals and tackles the fractures in society exposed by June’s EU referendum vote”.

Hammond’s (pictured) speech can be viewed or read in full at the British government website.

 


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