Radiohead's Colin Greenwood on post-Brexit touring: "This is a tragedy of deferred dreams."

As MPs discuss the issue today, Greenwood penned an open letter warning that the "costs of touring Europe will kill off careers and diminish our national culture".
Posted: 8 February 2021 Words: Tom Curtis-Horsfall

Brexit has heaped even more misery on the UK music industry, with artists, touring musicians, promoters, and all associated crew facing steeper costs and obstacles when touring eventually returns later this year. 

Ahead of the issue of post-Brexit touring being debated in parliament, Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood penned an open letter in the Guardian, decrying the lack of care for the UK's live music sector during Brexit negotiations and pushing MPs to "renegotiate on the provision for touring in Europe."

Greenwood states: "Like Hamburg to the Beatles, Europe was crucial to our growth as a band. It allowed us to see ourselves untethered from our UK roots and to imagine a life in music that could reach audiences everywhere. We made enduring friendships, toured with musicians from Europe, and dived deep into its clubs, festivals, record stores and music labels."

"This is a tragedy of deferred dreams", Greenwood later says, "It is time for the UK government to admit it didn’t do enough for the creative industries during the Brexit negotiations and look to renegotiate on the provision for touring in Europe. My country’s music is great because it scorns borders and boundaries; it is a great patriotic source, a force of confidence, joy and shared passions. I am proud of my country and all the music it has exchanged with the world, and I am sure that pride is felt across all ages and cultures in the UK. It is the antithesis of the culturally pinched nationalism that is Brexit, and its diminishment would deprive us all."

280,000 individuals signed a recent petition asking for the government to renegotiate with the EU on touring restrictions, and Radiohead were amongst the 100-plus signatories of an open letter criticising the post-Brexit restrictions for musicians. Other signatories included Glastonbury’s Micheal and Emily Eavis, Sir Elton John, Liam Gallagher, Sir Bob Geldof, and even The Who's Roger Daltrey, a vocal Brexiteer who was criticised for previously bemoaning that Brexit "had nothing to do with the rock business".

Read the full open letter here.

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