ILMC 32: The Agency Business 2020
Artist development formed the central pillar of conversation at the agency panel at this year’s International Live Music Conference (ILMC).
IQ Magazine’s Gordon Masson opened the session asking panellists for highlights of the past year, both at the top-end of their rosters and at a breakthrough level.
For UTA’s Jules de Lattre, Christine and the Queens headlining All Points East after a “difficult” second album stage was a highlight, along with Marc Rebillet on the emerging side. Paradigm agent Cecilia Chan chose Mark Ronson as a highlight of 2019, whereas ICM Partners’ Scott Mantell said getting through a Nicki Minaj tour was his proudest achievement, as “overcoming hurdles can also serve as a highlight.”
Speaking for Paradigm agency as a whole, Rob Challice named Billie Eilish and Lewis Capaldi as “phenomenal successes” of the past year.
Many people think Eilish was an overnight success, said Challice, but “it’s been four years in the making”. Challice stressed how early agents get involved with artists nowadays. “The assumption is an act is not going to need or want a label at the point we are taking on acts.”
De Lattre spoke of the importance of an agent’s network of managers, publishers and others. “The challenge is that you’re faced with such a great volume of music – how do you work out what’s interesting?” The UTA agent said there was a number of boxes to check before going for an act, such as signs of a strong team and support network.
“You’re faced with such a great volume of music – how do you work out what’s interesting?”
Data is another significant factor in artist discovery, said Challice. “Do you go by you ear, or by what you see in the metrics? That’s the question we’re looking at right now.”
Mantell referenced social media, stating that “if you’re not engaging, you’re missing out.” A combination of data and gut instinct were the way to go for Chan, who reiterated the importance of knowing and understanding your audience.
Talk turned to the global nature of acts nowadays, with an unmistakable rise in Latin music, K-pop and Afrobeats in recent years. Mantell agreed that “we’re having to look deeper into opportunities outside of the traditional genres,” adding that festivals are really embracing this.
De Lattre said that travel is key to getting fully immersed in current music trends, but warned against signing a lot of acts from the same global genre. “Agents should have varied and broad rosters,” he said.
Mantell countered, saying that with K-pop, for example, it’s important to get a drop on the competition and sign multiple acts. “I think the selectivity of rosters has gone in the other direction nowadays,” said the ICM agent.
The agents all agreed that you need to believe in the act you are signing, and stressed the balance of having star acts as well as so-called “bread and butter” acts on any roster.
When it comes to ensuring agents in the same agency are not vying for the same artist, Chan said good communication and discussion is key, mentioning Paradigm’s Intranet that allows agents to convey information on which acts they are looking at. “We see a much more collaborative way of working now,” agreed Challice.
A question from the floor asked if there was a danger of agents “becoming redundant” in the age of global conglomerates such as Live Nation and AEG. De Lattre answered saying that input from both promoters and agents is needed on global tours, which still involve agents in almost all cases.
“There is a responsibility for agencies to support agents through tough periods”
“People have been asking this question for ten years, and we’re still here,” quipped Challice.
The competitive nature of the agency business also came into play, with Masson asking panellists how much time they spend “trying to poach acts from others”.
“A fair amount,” admitted Mantell, “but that’s both in an offensive and defensive way – you have to re-sign acts everyday.”
De Lattre suggested there was a different culture in Europe, with “more respect” between agencies. “We don’t want to proactively create problems that aren’t there, but if you’ve heard an act is thinking about moving, then that’s a different story,” he said.
The modern need for continuous content has led to “difficulties changing artists’ mentalities”, said Challice, adding that the old model of releasing music only every few years “has been broken for acts at all stages in their careers”.
Another question from the floor asked what the agency business was doing to tackle gender imbalance. Chan said she had noticed major improvements in terms of female representation since joining Paradigm – then Coda – a few years ago, while Mantell stated ICM was striving for a 50/50 gender balance.
To finish, Challice spoke of the recent “trend” of promising agents in their 20s and 30s leaving the business.
“There is a responsibility for each agency to support agents through tough periods,” he said, adding that more emphasis needs to be placed on the mental and physical health of those in the business.
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New signings and rising stars (Mar–Apr 2020)
Germany’s Sparkling, a new signing for ATC Live in London, and Scottish band Tide Lines, newly repped by Paradigm’s Rob Challice, are among the latest acts to have been added to the rosters of international agents.
Find out more – including a full list of new signings – below…
Agent: Felipe Mina Calvo, ATC Live
A concentrated blend of hypnotic drums, multifaceted pop songwriting and guitars, Sparkling bring us electrified post-punk, breathless and elegant, somewhere between Cologne and London. In the universal language of pop, the music transcends its featured languages of German, English and French. If you are after sweaty euphoria, this is your promised land.
Sparkling released their long-awaited debut album I Want to See Everything (IWTSE) in August 2019, and it has been making huge waves since. As one of the first German bands to play a Maida Vale Session for BBC Radio 1, Sparkling made it onto BBC 6 Music’s heavy rotation list and are frequently played by Annie Mac, Matt Wilkinson, Jack Saunders, Steve Lamacq and many more.
IWTSE has been featured in countless blogs and magazines across Europe including Musikexpress, Rolling Stone and Magic Magazine, and has created a buzz around one of the most exciting bands Germany has produced in years.
Tide Lines (UK)
Agent: Rob Challice, Paradigm
Winners of the Rising Sound of Young Scotland award at the Scottish Music Awards, Tide Lines’ new single, ‘Shadow to the Light’, is set for release on 6 March, ahead of the band’s eagerly awaited second album, which will be released in the spring.
Written by singer/frontman Robert Robertson, the new track is a rabble-rousing anthem that the band recently debuted at their sell-out Barrowlands Ballroom show.
“I tend to write better at nighttime when my train of thought is uninterrupted,” says Robertson. “But sitting alone with my guitar trying to finish a song before the morning can be a pretty solitary experience. The idea of ‘the place I see in the all-too-distant light’ came to me on one such night. It is the place I was brought up (in the Highlands), which is something my mind can hold onto as a form of escapism and hope.”
The band have been selected by Scottish Rugby to provide the pre-match entertainment at the Six Nations match between Scotland and France at Murrayfield on 8 March, performing four songs to the sell-out crowd of 60,000 and countless millions watching on television. In May, they’ll embark on a seven-date tour of Scotland.
For full artist listings, including new signings for Primary Talent, UTA, ATC Live, X-ray, Paradigm, ITB, Echo Location, Progressive Artists, Pitch & Smith and the Lullabye Factory, see the digital edition of IQ 88:
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Live industry reacts to no-deal Brexit touring advice
Several UK live industry figures have described as inadequate new guidance from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on touring after a no-deal Brexit, amid growing concern within the business over the viability of future tours.
Two DCMS guides – one for movement of people and the other for objects, animals and equipment – highlight key questions and actions to consider before embarking on tour.
The guidance advises touring artists and their teams to check immigration regulations for each EU country, ensure they have appropriate insurance and obtain a ‘green card’, GB sticker and, in some cases, an international driving permit, for vehicles and drivers.
A £326 ATA carnet is recommended to avoid paying duty on equipment and other goods. For those wanting to sell merchandise, DCMS advises applying for an EORI number “as soon as possible”, as failing to do so may incur “increased costs and delays”.
“It’s not very clear, is it?”, Paradigm agent Rob Challice says of the new no-deal Brexit guidance. “It hardly conveys that the government is in a state of readiness for no deal.
“What we do know,” continues Challice, “is that advice is going to change over the next four weeks and some of it will not be clear before 1 November.”
Music industry tax specialist and Hardwick and Morris partner Kevin Offer, who believes “some form of agreement covering touring” post-Brexit is needed, agrees that not much “detail” has been given in the new guide.
“The guidance hardly conveys that the government is in a state of readiness for no deal”
“Emphasis [is] placed on ‘check with the country you’re visiting’, although the EU is one customs area so the procedures should be the same,” Offer tells IQ.
For Offer, the subject of merchandise is not given enough attention in the new guides. “My understanding is that there is a possibility of paying import duty and (possibly) VAT at the point when merchandise to be sold at gigs enters the first EU country,” says Offer.
“I think that is going to be one of the main considerations on cash flow and budgets when planning tours.”
In August, industry professionals raised the alarm over regulations that would see musicians pay import duty and VAT on all merchandise in advance of touring in the case of a no-deal Brexit, with many pointing out that merchandising is “essential” for grassroots musicians in particular.
Paul Reed, CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), says the DCMS guidance, while useful, “does not translate into readiness”. He tells the Guardian he does not feel the live music industry was ready for a no-deal Brexit, citing issues including VAT, data protection and the movement of people and equipment. “Despite repeated calls for an EU-wide ‘touring passport’ in the event of no deal, all we have are short-term assurances regarding freedom of movement up to December 2020 – and then ‘leave to remain’ for a further 36 months.”
“A no-deal Brexit could effectively mark the death knell for touring for the majority of low-earning touring musicians”
The guidance follows calls from industry figures, including UK Music boss Michael Dugher, for more clarification on what to expect if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal.
Dugher had warned that the “worryingly inadequate” information previously available was preventing the industry for preparing for what lay ahead.
“A no-deal Brexit could effectively mark the death knell for touring for the majority of low-earning touring musicians who are immensely talented and add tremendous economic value to the country,” Dugher tells IQ.
“In addition to the additional cost and red tape potentially associated with a no-deal Brexit, anyone bringing goods into or taking goods out of the UK in baggage or a small vehicle, which they intend to use for business, will be forced to declare the goods and pay import duty and VAT before moving them across the border.
“Britain is a global leader in music. The live music sector alone contributes £1 billion to the economy and it is the jewel in the crown. Why would the government want to kill this golden goose?”
EOTR backs Larmer Tree as founders step back
Following 2018’s successful sold-out festival, Larmer Tree Festival founders James Shepard and Julia Safe are handing over the reins after 28 years at the helm of the 5,000-capacity UK event.
Larmer Tree, which began in 1990 as a 200-cap. music and arts festival, has since taken place annually at Larmer Tree Gardens, on the Wiltshire–Dorset border. Its most recent event, headlined by Jake Bugg, First Aid Kit and Public Service Broadcasting, took place from 19 to 22 July.
Lucy Babb joined Shepard and Safe as operations director in 2006, while Rob Challice came on board as a director in 2014.
Now, as the festival’s founders retire, Challice and Babb say they’re looking forward to working with new partners brought on “to secure the future” of Larmer Tree.
“I’m delighted we have gathered a group who recognise how special our festival is and want to secure its future”
Joining Challice and Bergen Live – the Norwegian promoter behind Bergenfest, and also Challice’s partner from 2010–12 on Summer Sundae – as Larmer Tree partners are End of the Road, the 15,000-cap. indie rock event also held at Larmer Tree Gardens, and James Strathallan, who take a small equity stake in the festival.
Strathallan was formerly a director of End of the Road Festival Ltd, but retired in November 2017.
“I’m delighted that we have gathered a group who recognise how special our festival is and want to secure its future,” Challice tells IQ. “We want to take the festival forward while preserving its essence: a small local festival with deep roots in the community where friends and family can have a great party weekend on a beautiful site.”
Larmer Tree Festival will return on 18–21 July 2019.
Does live music have a Harvey Weinstein problem?
As Hollywood reels from the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and thousands of women globally report sexual harassment or assault under the #MeToo campaign, the music industry may need to get its own house in order.
The first allegation surfaced earlier this week on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme, when artist manager Sarah Bowden alleged a “major promoter”, who still works in the industry, had exposed himself to her, expecting her to perform a sex act. She further alleged she had once been sacked after refusing to sleep with a colleague in return for a promotion, and spoke of a “senior figure” regularly promising young women jobs or tours in exchange for sexual favours. This man, too, still works in the industry and is “brazen” about his behaviour, she added.
Yet after asking several female live music industry figures whether music has its own Harvey Weinstein problem, the picture painted suggests Bowden’s allegations are not isolated.
With most speaking on the condition of anonymity, all say they have been subject to, or witnessed, inappropriate behaviour or sexual assault working in the live business. While several emphasise that such incidents are infrequent, they describe instances where male execs have used their status and power to exploit women. Most incidents go unreported for fear of reprisals on the part of the victim.
“I’ve seen it from promoters, venue bosses, agents – it’s everywhere,” says one individual who over ten years working in the industry has had male colleagues expose themselves to her five times. “There are booking agents who are really high up in the industry expecting things from younger [female] promoters and managers,” she explains. “They trade on their reputation… name-dropping, using their power and status.”
Another says she has been forced to leave a job because of inappropriate comments and behaviour from a male boss, and has witnessed a female colleague being assaulted. She says it didn’t go any further because another friend, who works for a rape crisis service, told her it’s not her place to report it: “I can only offer support,” she explains. “If the victim doesn’t want to come forward, you can’t force them to.”
A common theme is being afraid to report any unwanted advances for fear it will hurt women’s careers. A third woman describes being too scared to report an incident that occurred two years ago at a music industry conference: “I thought, ‘If I raise this, I’m going to be blacklisted, I’ll never get another job,'” she says.
“The industry has some way to go in getting its house in order”
“I remember thinking, ‘I don’t know who this guy’s connected to, how it will affect my position in the industry’… There are so many situations where people feel they can’t talk about it because it might put their careers in jeopardy.”
Two other women – one an agent and one working in communications – tell IQ they have also experienced sexual harassment from artists they were working for.
“I had an incident at a festival with a member of a well-known band trying making inappropriate comments and trying to persuade me to go to the tour bus with him,” says Nikki McNeill, founder of music PR agency Global Publicity, which recently celebrated ten years in business. “In a club situation, you’d just say ‘fuck off’, but in a work environment, you’re always thinking, ‘Will I lose my job, will I lose my job, will people believe me…?’
“Generally I try and dissipate the situation as calmly as possible – suggest we find someone else or go to the bar and get a drink, where there will be other people. But afterwards you think, ‘Why should I? I should be able to tell them to clear off.'”
The agent describes how she was subject to inappropriate behaviour from an artist but let it go due to financial considerations – something she now says was a mistake. “He made a couple of very indecent comments and suggestions and I just ignored them,” she explains. “When it’s an artist that brings a lot commission to the company, you’re thinking, ‘Oh well, he or she is a douche but I’m just going to zip it and let it slide.’
“That happened two years, but if it did happen again I feel like I would say something. We’re in a business where it’s not really part of the culture to give people a slap on the wrist. […] But we, as women, need to stop fearing the idea of getting fired because we said ‘no’ to someone.
“If this was to happen today, I would speak up louder and wouldn’t worry about the consequences.”
“I’ve seen it from promoters, venue bosses, agents … it’s everywhere”
Crosstown Concerts co-founder Paul Hutton says that while he’s never seen any inappropriate behaviour first-hand, he’s “disappointed to find out there is a problem” in the live industry and says he believes more women will now come forward. “I don’t want it in our world,” he comments. “Other people need to get their houses in order.”
Like McNeill, Claire Singers – who was for 30 years a leading music publicist and now serves as a gender diversity consultant and an associate consultant for the EDGE foundation for gender equality – waived her right to anonymity to speak to IQ about what she sees as a major industry issue.
She tells of her experiences as a tour publicist in the ’90s and in one example, she says, “I, too, had an artist expose himself to me in his dressing room. The head of the French label was in the room and he just laughed – he thought it was hilarious. It really is very unnerving and frightening; it makes you feel extremely vulnerable.
“The next day we had a band dinner. The German promoter arrived with a prostitute on each arm for this French rocker. It sounds awful, but I’ve honestly never been so relieved to see two prostitutes.”
In a more current incident, Singers adds that she heard last week of a former senior label head “who would quite regularly force himself on female execs”, with one woman being “thrown onto the bed”. “She mentioned it to another senior person at the label,” Singers explains, “and was told not to make a fuss.
“I am pretty sure the music industry has many of the same problems as Hollywood.”
Alluding to Weinstein (pictured), she says “there isn’t this one person” responsible, “but it has always been part of the culture.
“I think it’s great we’re having this conversation. It means people will be a bit braver next time”
“If this discussion causes [these men] to start looking at themselves, it might get them to start thinking about their actions. The next time they think about lunging at a publicist, hopefully it will give them pause for thought.”
While Singers says the debate over sexual harassment in the music business is long overdue, “the onus should be not be on the women to come forward – other men should be calling out their colleagues. Men have a big responsibility to clean up the industry.”
While most of the women spoken to by IQ agree on the need for more gender diversity in live music – one says she felt she could report an incident of harassment as she had a female line manager, while another spoke of her desire for more female mentors – all agreed that doesn’t go far enough, highlighting the need to create a culture when women aren’t scared to speak against the perpetrators of abuse.
“It is partly about gender balance,” says one, “but more than that, we’ve got to be able to open up and talk about it”, while another speaks of the importance of people no longer just “laughing off” sexual harassment or assault and “thinking, ‘Oh well, it happens'”.
Coda director Rob Challice, speaking on behalf of the agency, agrees, saying recent reports “have led us at Coda to stress the importance in open conversation, ensuring that if somebody does feel they have been a victim of sexual harassment, no matter where or when, that they can report in confidence and with no fear for their position”.
“We do not tolerate harassment of any form,” he adds, “and we do acknowledge that the industry has some way to go in getting its house in order.”
“I think it’s great we’re having this conversation,” concludes one of the women. “It means people like me will be a bit braver next time.”
Brexit: The view from backstage
The British public will tomorrow go to the polls to vote on the most important decision they’ve faced in a generation: whether to stay in the European Union (EU), the 28-member politico-economic bloc of which the UK has been a part since 1973, or go it alone for the first time in over 40 years.
After months of campaigning by the leave and remain campaigns, the referendum on Britain’s potential exit (‘Brexit’) from the EU is finally here – and while The Guardian frets about air quality and the BBC ponders the power of the Australasian vote, what we really want to know is this: which way should the live music business be voting?
Back in March, IQ quizzed tour managers, travel agents and transport companies for their opinions and predictions. Now, on the eve of the vote, it’s the agents’, promoters’ and industry associations’ turn…
“The EU is far from perfect right now, but is still the best thing that has happened to Europe in the last 70 years”
Unsurprisingly, Fabien Miclet, the coordinator of Liveurope, an EU-backed association of 13 European music venues, tells IQ he believes Brexit “would be a disaster politically, economically and symbolically” and spell the beginning of the end for the union.
While he acknowledges that the EU is “far from perfect right now”, stating that “the enlargements of 2004 and 2009 increased [its] democratic deficit [and] lack of visibility of the core missions”, Miclet says it’s “still the best thing that has happened to Europe in the last 70 years”. “And I don’t see small countries like France or even Germany competing against China or the US at a global level without the EU,” he adds.
As for Liveurope, its sole British member – the 700-capacity Village Underground (VU) in Shoreditch – would automatically be out of the club, says Miclet. “The EU would most probably retaliate [to Brexit] by excluding Britain from its funding programmes, and this would automatically mean that VU can’t be a member anymore. This would apply for all British organisations involved in European projects, be they scientific, academic, cultural, etc.”
“All in all our lives have been enriched by being part of the EU”
Coda agent and partner Rob Challice, whose roster includes Ben Folds, John Grant and Bon Iver, echoes Miclet’s sentiments about the relative weakness of a UK-less EU (and EU-less UK) in a “global marketplace where some of the biggest economies are now in the east”, but also makes an emotional case for a union he says has “enriched” the lives of everyone in Britain.
“I know I speak for most of my colleagues when I say that thanks to the EU there are greater touring opportunities for our artists due to free movement,” he says. “We also work and travel across Europe, we do business at mainland European events – Eurosonic [Noorderslag], Reeperbahn and a whole host of events – we have colleagues work in our office from other EU countries; we are more ‘European’ thanks to the EU.
“All in all our lives have been enriched by being part of the EU.”
“I don’t understand this euroscepticism because I think the EU brings mostly good things”
Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS)’s creative director, Peter Smidt, is also a remainer, although he says that his festival is “about Europe, and UK is in Europe whether within or without the EU”.
The ESNS-backed European Talent Exchange Programme (ETEP) is, however, funded by the European Commission (the EU’s executive body), so British participation in ETEP will be “more difficult”, says Smidt, if not outright impossible. British band Blossoms are currently the second most-booked ETEP act of 2016 so far.
Smidt tells IQ he “doesn’t understand this scepticism about [the EU] because I think it brings mostly good things” and says he believes it “makes sense for Europe to unite and work together on lots of possible issues – especially regarding circulation”.
“The danger for the EU is that if UK leaves I think other countries will follow suit: The Netherlands will also leave and say, ‘We want the same deal, too!'”
In contrast to the EU-funded Liveurope and ETEP, OpenAir St Gallen booker and Yourope general secretary Christof Huber says “nothing will change” at the European festival association (whose British members are Download and T in the Park) in the event of the UK leaving the EU, but has a word of caution for British voters contemplating a ‘Swiss model’ for the UK post-Brexit.
Switzerland, while not in the EU, is a member of the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) and is bound by a number of EU treaties. It is, unlike the UK, in the Schengen free-movement zone, and recently paid for – out of its own pocket – the world’s longest rail tunnel, the Gotthard base tunnel, which Huber says was a “huge commitment financially, and more important for other European countries than for Switzerland”.
He says his “big fear” for the UK is that the EU will have to take a hard line on negotiating with a newly independent Britain in order to stop other countries following its lead. “The danger for the EU is that if UK leaves I think other countries will follow suit,” says Huber. “[Otherwise] the Netherlands will leave and say, ‘We want the same deal, too!'”
“EU tax treaties, border-crossing arrangements, carnet agreements, air traffic agreements and labour laws all make touring in Europe much more viable for our artists”
ATC Live agent and partner Alex Bruford, whose roster includes The Lumineers, Half Moon Run, The Districts, Soak and Broncho, says “taking the UK out of the EU would be a huge step backwards” for the industry and the country as a whole.
“Our business is built on international relationships,” he says. “We have spent years fostering close relationships with our European partners, and work closely with them to ensure our artists can smoothly and successfully traverse the continent. Current EU tax treaties, border crossing arrangements, carnet agreements, air traffic agreements and labour laws all make touring in Europe much more viable for our artists.
“Add that to the inevitable economic downturn through the uncertainty caused and the lack of a singular European voice to speak on current international issues – ie secondary ticketing – and Brexit would be a very negative [thing] for the live music business.”
“I think for the overall health of the country we should stay in”
CAA agent Emma Banks (Arcade Fire, Florence + the Machine, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry) says that while “many of the reasons [for staying in] I’ve read from the music industry are spurious”, she’s also backing the remain campaign. “I think for the overall health of the country we should stay in,” she tells IQ.
Miclet was a panellist at last night’s British Music Debate: Does In or Out mean Win or Lose? debate at the London offices of law firm Lewis Silkin, which also strongly concluded that ‘in’ means ‘win’. Joining Miclet on a panel moderated by FastForward/Media Insight Consulting’s Chris Carey was the Featured Artists Coalition’s Paul Pacifico, Lewis Silkin’s Cliff Fluet and Everything Everything bassist Jeremy Pritchard.
Beginning by saying that he doesn’t know “a single musician that’s ‘out'”, Pritchard said he fears the rest of Europe becoming as difficult to tour for British artists as Switzerland is currently if the UK votes to leave. “We announce shows in Switzerland and think, ‘That probably won’t go ahead’,” he said, criticising the bureaucracy involved in obtaining the proper visas and carnets for touring bands.
Pacifico added that he talked recently with Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason – another remainer – who recalled a time before visaless travel in Europe. “Can you imagine Pink Floyd doing a carnet?” said Pacifico. “All those articulated trucks full of lasers and smoke machines, and having to document every drumstick, every piece of gaffer tape…”
“I don’t know a single musician that’s ‘out'”
Miclet said the reason why so many British artists tour Europe – and why so many smaller US acts don’t – is because they don’t need a Schengen visa to do so. (Pictured above: Remainers at the British Music Debate. FAC co-chair Sandie Shaw is on the far left; IQ editor Gordon Masson front row, third from left; Pritchard behind Masson and Paul Pacifico to his left; and IQ digital manager Ben Delger holding a sign, with Fluet to his right.)
While most of the industry is clearly in favour of the status quo – to add to the chorus of ‘remains’ above, the FAC’s membership is 85% in favour of staying, while Music Week’s poll of its readership put the figure even higher, at 91% – there is at least one notable music biz Brexiteer: veteran promoter Harvey Goldsmith CBE.
Speaking to IQ from his London office, Goldsmith calls the EU a “busted flush”, saying that Britain should “vote out, then sit down with the EU and completely renegotiate a deal in cooperation with the other key countries that makes sense”.
Far from being the visaless utopia described by Pacifico, Nick Mason and others, the EU is currently a halfway house that in fact lacks the harmonised regulations touted by its supporters, says Goldsmith. “I’ve just travelled round 13 countries and 32 cities on the road with Hans Zimmer,” he explains, “and, believe me, being in the EU doesn’t make any bloody difference. The tax issues are different in every country, the visas are different in every country, VAT’s different…”
“Supporting a huge layer of bureaucracy and unelected leaders who have only one role in life – to create a federal state of Europe – is never going to work, because none of the constituent parts want it”
“Travelling through borders from some of the far-flung countries of the EU has been an absolute nightmare,” Goldsmith continues, explaining that he and Zimmer were held up for “17 hours in total trying to get from Croatia to Geneva because the borders were shut” amid the continuing migrant crisis.
Supporting “a huge layer of bureaucracy and unelected leaders who have only one role in life – to create a federal state of Europe – is never going to work,” he adds, “because none of the constituent [countries] want it”.
“The only way to shake everybody up is to vote out – it will cause mayhem for a short period of time, other countries will panic – and then sit down with the relevant part of the EU and reshape what a European community of trading nations should look like,” Goldsmith concludes. “Because, currently, it’s a mess.”
With the most recent polls showing the leave campaign edging ahead, and the portion of undecided voters still high, no one can predict the outcome of tomorrow’s vote with any certainty. But from the live music camp, some doubters aside, the sentiment is strongly in favour of the UK staying in.