Music Must Remain! A celebration of music without borders

Bath for Europe delivered on its promise to bring joyful noise to our city with its monthly rally and march on Sunday 2nd June. Music unites people and does not recognise national borders, as the throng of supporters heard and experienced for themselves as they sang, marched and even danced their way through the city centre.

Local music impresario Nod Knowles shared his perspective on the benefits of freedom of movement for musicians in Europe. Nod has a long track record of bringing outstanding international musical talent to Bath, and his insights were eye-opening. He is a strong supporter of Bath for Europe and has held raffles to fundraise for the group at concerts at the Widcombe Social Club. His message was clear: Brexit poses a huge risk to musicians and to the music industry.

As Nod pointed out, the vast majority of musicians are freelancers. “For them – but also to a great extent for the small minority of musician who are salaried employees (such as in the major UK orchestras) the effects of a Brexit – hard or even soft – would create a negative impact in most areas of their life and work.”

“The free movement of people, goods and services has enabled UK musicians and their counterparts in the EU to work and earn a living across 28 countries without hindrance – to gig; tour; sell records; be commissioned; get funding for projects; study in colleges and conservatoires as music students; earn royalties; join multi-nationality bands; pay tax with certainty; broadcast; sign contracts and licences; and be based anywhere in the EU and fully able to create and work.”

Nod pointed to surveys that across all genres of music that demonstrate clearly that most British musicians earn at least part (and in many cases a substantial part) of their livelihood through work in other EU countries. And their situation is mirrored by their fellow musicians in the EU27 countries.

“Experiences in non-EU countries show how limiting and restricting a withdrawal form the EU would be for UK musicians.  As just one example, obtaining visas and work permits to gig in the USA entails each musician paying large sums of money for the documentation and permission and the application process also takes a long time with no certainty of success. Non-EU musicians applying to work in Britain also face significant difficulties in obtaining work permits and agreeing taxation.” Read Nod’s blog here for more details.

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Bath MP Wera Hobhouse addressed the Bath for Europe crew as they sheltered from the rain and sang a number of rousing pro-Remain songs, accompanied by violinist Jake Hooton and drummer Steve Rouse. Wera commended the group on its perseverance in the campaign to stop Brexit, underlining the strong support for pro-Remain parties in recent elections.

The group then proceeded to march through the centre of Bath, where it had a joyful and uplifting chance encounter with strolling brass band, Das Brass. Musicians and peaceful protestors joined in a funky celebration of the power of music.