Speaking to Channel 4, Albarn explained that Brexit has been a “disaster” for younger musicians.
“In the old days, pre-Brexit, you could be a young band and go over to Europe and play bottom of the bill at festivals. You wouldn’t be paid hardly anything but the experience was life-changing, whether you went on to do bigger and better things in the future [or not]. That’s a solid foundation for the rest of your life,” Albarn said.
“That kind of creativity has very much been curtailed for people on this island, because it’s expensive to go over there now. It’s not straightforward. You have to pay for visas and stuff that wasn’t necessary [before]. It’s terrible,” he added.
Damon Albarn continued: “Brexit was a travesty and people are waking up to that now, thank goodness, but it was a disaster. Spiritually, economically, just rubbish”
“Brexit is rubbish”, he added, referencing Blur’s 1993 album ‘Modern Life Is Rubbish’.
“Brexit was a travesty and people are waking up to that now.”
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) May 19, 2023
Back in 2018, Albarn claimed he felt “partly responsible” for the outcome of the 2016 Brexit referendum. “The shock I felt that morning [of the referendum result] was indicative of the blasé attitude that we, as Remainers, had felt prior to that day. “There was a massive and patronising assumption that the rest of the country felt the way we did. So that was my lesson,” he explained.
In 2021, the UK music industry spoke out together on how they had essentially been handed a “No Deal Brexit” when the government failed to negotiate visa-free travel and Europe-wide work permits for musicians and crew. As a result, artists attempting to hit the road again after COVID found themselves on the predicted “rocky road” for the first summer of European touring after Britain left the EU.
The following year it was claimed Brexit was “strangling the next generation of UK talent in the cradle” with the amount of British artists scheduled to perform in Europe as part of this year’s festival season falling by 45 per cent when compared to 2017-2019.