Suitable Grounds For Brexit Blues?
What lies ahead for Crim once the UK leaves the EU?
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.”