Mark Pemberton is the head of ABO, the Association of British Orchestras, a body representing the interests of orchestras in Britain. His Brexit record is mixed. He is generally satisfied with the freedom of movement for British musicians in the EU. "Countries tend to set a deadline of, say, up to 30 days in which you can work in the country without a visa," he says. "But you still have paperwork to do, and there are still countries that say, 'No, you need a visa and you have to pay for it'."
Orchestras and opera singers have a hard time
On a concert tour you have to deal with the rules of each individual country. According to Pemberton, it is difficult for opera singers, who often have to be on site for a long time to rehearse their pieces. They almost always require a visa – making it more inconvenient and expensive for opera houses to hire British singers.
However, Pemberton sees a very decisive disadvantage from Brexit in the transport of musical instruments. "That's the real killer. That's what hit the orchestra really hard," said the ABO boss. "Many of our members have their own truck, employ a driver and transport their instruments. But they are treated the same as a commercial transport company transporting supermarket goods for sale."
"Absurd" odyssey of instruments
At this point, the trade and cooperation agreement has completely failed the music industry, says Pemberton, adding with regret that the regulation dates back to the EU, which wanted to protect its internal market.
Pemberton finds this "absurd". In addition, it is not environmentally friendly. In addition, it is expensive. Just recently, he says, an orchestra incurred £30,000 in additional transport costs in this way. The head of the ABO fears that British orchestras will no longer be able to compete in the hard-fought music market because they would have to ask a promoter for more money than an EU orchestra.
Expensive customs formalities
A study by the organization "Best for Britain" seems to show that Brexit is already hitting the British music industry hard. According to it, the number of British musicians performing at European festivals this summer has fallen by almost half compared to 2017-19.
Project Blackbird's Jon Read plans to take his band to the continent this fall. The band has to shoulder about 1000 pounds in additional costs for the necessary customs declarations, insurance and other things. But she still wants to start the tour and be on stage in Geesthacht in Schleswig-Holstein, among other places.
The gigs on the continent are very important for the small bands to make a breakthrough and get invited to festivals, says Jon. He sees nothing good in Brexit.