Think the Brexit Won’t Affect Music? Think Again

Britain votes next week on whether or not to stay in the European Community. Not only is this a test for Prime Minister David Cameron (he’s on the STAY) side, but the member of the EU need the UK to stay in order to shore up its economic stability. At this point, though, the LEAVE side seems to have an edge.

All right, big deal. What a story like this doing on a site devoted to music? Because a Brexit could have major repercussions on music throughout Europe. Pitchfork explains why.

On June 23, the UK will vote on whether to remain in the European Union. The in-out referendum was one of Prime Minister David Cameron’s promises in the 2015 General Election, ventured in part to stop the extreme right of his Conservative party from fleeing to Eurosceptic UKIP, which has gone from a national joke to an unfortunately legitimate concern over the past few years. (Sound familiar?) Cameron is urging the public to vote Remain, but daily polls show that the vote is incredibly close. We may be headed towards leaving—what’s become known as “Brexit”—even though nobody really knows what the other side of that massive decision looks like.

So far, music has played a fairly minor role in the campaigning. The vote is on the Thursday morning of iconic music festival Glastonbury, and its founders urged their 200,000 punters to register for a postal vote after they were told they couldn’t install polling booths on Worthy Farm. There’s also been the shambolic Bpopliveconcert, a tragic attempt by the Leave campaign to influence young people by featuring “some of Britain’s hottest artists as well as speeches from leading personalities and politicians who support leaving the EU.” In a move that by no means illuminates the short-sightedness of the whole sorry affair, none of the acts were actually told that they had been booked to play a political rally, leading two glittering lineups to drop out: first Sigma and Ella Eyre; then Alesha Dixon and reformed boybands 5ive and East 17. (A third attempt, featuring the group fka Bucks Fizz and an Elvis impersonator, is planned for June 19.)

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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