Suit­able Grounds For Brexit Blues?

What lies ahead for Crim once the UK leaves the EU?

Prog - - Limelight - SS

As King Crim­son ap­proach their 50th an­niver­sary in 2019, the un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing the UK’s de­par­ture from the Eu­ro­pean Union has had an im­pact on the group’s plans to tour Europe. Fripp noted in his on­line di­ary in June: “Cur­rently there is no fore­see­able exit ar­range­ment for the UK, no clear plans for mi­grant work­ers, eg the Brothers Crim and their pals, whether work visas will be nec­es­sary for any­one other than our Amer­i­can mem­bers.

“The tech­ni­cal­i­ties and bureau­cracy of ar­rang­ing visa for all eight mem­bers of The Beast plus c. 12 sup­port team per­sons, in each dif­fer­ent coun­try, is im­prac­ti­ca­ble; this with­out even deal­ing with the with­hold­ing tax for each ju­ris­dic­tion. Com­pli­ance with EU tax and in­di­vid­ual ar­range­ments for each coun­try is al­ready close to un­work­able for small or­gan­i­sa­tions. KC/DGM is a good ex­am­ple of the mar­gin be­tween too small/ suf­fi­ciently large, to be pro­por­tion­ately over­loaded with stuff. I won­der how many of those good per­sons that plan and im­ple­ment a seem­ingly end­less pro­lif­er­a­tion of forms have gone out into the world and di­rected a small com­pany.”

The an­swer from some ob­servers was that bands used to tour be­fore the UK joined the EU and so it’ll be easy to do so again. Prior to join­ing the EU, a de­tailed car­net – a list of every sin­gle item of equip­ment – had to be com­piled and was usu­ally scrupu­lously checked at bor­ders, re­quir­ing trucks to pull over and wait for in­spec­tion. Any dis­crep­an­cies be­tween the car­net and the ac­tual con­tents would re­quire a new car­net to be writ­ten and au­tho­rised, adding time and ex­tra costs to the process.

This is in fact what hap­pens when bands visit non-EU coun­tries such as Switzer­land and Nor­way, a process that is some­times sub­ject to de­lays and ad­di­tional costs. Tour­ing the EU at present re­quires only one car­net, with vans driv­ing from one coun­try to an­other with­out any bor­der checks. Will this con­tinue af­ter Brexit? No­body knows.

“Two years on from the ref­er­en­dum and with the clock tick­ing in­ex­orably to­wards the UK’s de­par­ture in a few months, the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment and its cab­i­net even at this late stage can’t even agree what the terms of our de­par­ture should be. They don’t know what the fuck is go­ing on. How can they ex­pect bands and their man­age­ment to know?” one mu­sic in­dus­try vet­eran in­sider told Prog.

“In the ab­sence of any clar­ity on what ar­range­ments will be in place for bands, or in­deed for any kind of goods tran­sit­ing through the EU, makes for­ward plan­ning vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble. With tours and all the minu­tiae that goes with them hav­ing to be planned and costed gen­er­ally up to a year in ad­vance, sim­ply trust­ing that ev­ery­thing will be okay af­ter 29 March next year is sim­ply not an op­tion.”

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