Here’s something I would sincerely like to know from anybody who thinks today that Brexit was a good idea: what did my UK soundman and UK mandolin player gain from Brexit? I want somebody to tell me, because I keep hearing about “Global Britain” and “all the new opportunities”!!! I don’t want to argue. I’m not going to get nasty with anybody. But I do sincerely want to know.
What are Joe and Dave gaining? Because I can tell you very clearly just a part of what they have lost: UK musicians can no longer tour outside UK without visas, work permits, and carnets. If they’re playing smaller than 1500+ capacity rooms, and most of them are, then it’s now financially non-viable.
Hayseed Dixie is a mid-level band, and we’ll struggle now in most EU countries . . . because I have 2 UK members. I have a US passport as well as a UK one, and Jake and Tim have US passports, so we’re still fine. Difficult as it may be to believe, due to post-WWII Marshall Plan visa waivers and reciprocal tax arrangements, it is now much easier and cheaper for a US musician to play in most EU countries than it is for a UK musician. Kein Scheiß.
Dave has been my only soundman for the past 17 years, but depending on the total costs of visas & work permits, I may now have to get a different soundman for EU countries & use Dave only in the UK. It’s either that or we only play in the UK and Ireland. And we can’t just play in the UK and Ireland. It’s too small a market. Nobody can make a living for 5 people playing only on an island the size of Florida.
I definitely know I will now have to get t-shirts for everywhere outside the UK from a non-UK printer, even though I have been using the same UK silkscreen guy down in Cornwall for all our shirts and hoodies for the past 14 years. No more. Just UK work for him now. The customs duties to take them out of the UK make it non-viable. A friend of mine has recommended a company in the Czech Republic . . . They ship Europe wide, sans UK.
What really sticks in my ass is that none of this is a surprise or unforeseen. I’ve been saying this would happen for 5 goddamn years. I know some people, particularly on Twitter, quit following me because I did publicly talk about it and they dismissed me as a “Remoaner” or some such. I know some people said they’d never come see Hayseed Dixie again because of my vocal public stance on Brexit. That’s their choice. I honestly truly don’t care.Because the thing is: I’m from Nashville, USA. I have no dog whatsoever in anybody’s nationalism fight – whether EU Federalism or England Sovereignty / Nationalism or Irish Republican-or-Union-ism or whatever. None of that shit is my fight.
I’m only interested in what is pragmatic and what makes the most sense for the greatest number of people. Beyond that, my band is what is known in the music industry as a “heritage” or “legacy” act now. The days of trying to build a following, get noticed, turn people on to our music, and establish a live career are well and truly past for me. I’m just riding the wave now that we busted our collective asses creating years ago. I’m 51 and I’ve had a really good career for two decades, made a little bit of money a few times, and also my mom just died and left me a little more money and a house I can rent out, so while I’m most definitely not rich . . .
Put it this way: If everybody who voted for Brexit in the UK were to boycott my band forevermore from here on out, I don’t think at this point in my life that I’d care or even really notice, dumb as I’d think it is on their part. Whatever . . .
But this post ain’t about me. I only say the above paragraph so nobody can say I’m all Remoaning and heartbroke. I’m not. I moved my family to Germany, protected my daughters’ rights, I’m cool.
But what about two guys I really love and care about: My Soundman Dave and Mandolin Man Joe? What I want to know and what nobody these past 5 years has ever told me is: What are my UK soundman & UK mandolin player gaining from Brexit? I’ve just described above only a little piece of what they’re losing.
Somebody please tell me what they’re gaining!!! Please! So I can tell them.