The Purple Turtle are renowned for supporting the local and national music scene but that isn’t where it stops. Over the years they have striven to host acts from across the globe.
In the next few months, they bring a top band over from Spain called Hickeys and back in February they hosted Kel Assouf, originally from Niger, but now residing in Belgium. They also boast hosting acts from outside the EU, from Bob Log III (US) and Japanese act The Fin.
And its not just the Purple Turtle – with Reading being twinned with the German town of Dusseldorf, recently our town has traded acts between the 2 towns over the last few years through the fantastic work done by Reading Fringe Festival bringing these 2 towns separated by the North Sea ever closer together.
The fact of the matter, is the UK are serious exporters of music and culture. It is thought that the UK’s music industry is one of the biggest exporters and brings in an underestimated percentage of our GDP each year. In 2017 it was worth a whopping £4.5bn, with exports growing 7 percent, to a very reasonable £2.6bn. But how much of this is to the EU, and how much have the Ed Sheeran’, and Adele’ devouring the US added to this, not to mention the global appeal of Sir Paul McCartney. As much as bands enjoy playing to British ears, their music is a product, like any other product and their ability to export their produce abroad is as vital as Stella coming this way. Is Brexit going to affect this? Is the EU the key market for music exporting? Will new trade deals allow us to take music to key markets more easily, say, to the US or China? Local favourites The Amazons are enjoying fame beyond the EU frontiers as far as Japan. Could being free from the EU enable stronger trade deals with other far fetched countries? Much has been discussed and debated about the impact leaving the European Union will have on touring bands; whether coming this way from the EU or our homegrown talents taking their music to the continent.
Without taking sides, we looked into the arguments from key figures in the UK Music scene and on all sides of the debate.
Chris Tofu MBE, is the man behind some of the UK’s wildest and most imaginative stages, from Shangri LA, Lost Vagueness and Caravanserai, bringing artists from across the world and into a UK field. “Beyond the madness of Carnets ( 99% of people will not know that but before EEC that was big) changing insurances in each country, all the way to losing roaming, new forms of tax on artists (Americans get super taxed in France so will we). It’s not just travelling physically we’re on the precipice of publishing, distribution, import, export, freight, you name it. Brexit is adding nothing.”
Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), in The Independent takes a more balanced approach, but stresses that its important to ensure Brexit doesn’t affect Britain’ music exports.“Music can help to showcase what is exciting about the UK as we forge new trading relationships,” Geoff says, “but only if our government supports us by ensuring a strong Brexit deal that enables artists to tour freely, robustly protects music rights, and prevents physical music products being impeded in transit.”
Not everyone in the Music industry is as worried. Global legend and UK Royalty – Roger Daltrey from The Who, thinks it all a bit of a storm in a tea cup. Asked about it on a Sky News interview he said: “No, what’s it got to do with the rock business?” “If you want to be signed up to be ruled by a f***ing mafia, you do it. Like being governed by Fifa.” ”As if we didn’t tour Europe before the f***ing EU. Oh, give it up!” Also, in an interview with The Telegraph Daltrey was angry that people had percieved him to be anti Europe, instead of anti-Brussels. “That’s why I’m so angry about it,” he said. “I want someone at least be answerable to me that I can say: ‘F*** off, you’re useless!”
So there you have it.