Musical stars including Ed Sheeran, Rita Ora and Damon Albarn have warned Brexit would put the country in a ‘self-built cultural jail’.
In a letter, orchestrated by Bob Geldof and addressed to prime minister Theresa May, the musicians claim Britain’s departure from the EU threatens the ‘vast voice’ of the £4.4 billion industry which ‘dominates’ the market.
Jarvis Cocker and Damon Albarn, the frontmen of Britpop bands Pulp and Blur, are also among the signatories alongside former The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and musical director of the London Symphony Orchestra Sir Simon Rattle.
The letter said: ‘Imagine Britain without its music. If it’s hard for us, then it’s impossible for the rest of the world.
‘In this one area, if nowhere else, Britain does still rule the waves. The airwaves.
‘But Brexit threatens, as it does so much else, this vast voice. This huge global cultural influencer.
‘We are about to make a very serious mistake regarding our giant industry and the vast pool of yet undiscovered genius that lives on this little island.’
The Observer reported the letter was circulated by Geldof with the subject ‘towards a 2nd vote’, in which Mrs May is urged to note that Brexit will ‘impact every aspect of the music industry’.
Some artists have gone as far as using their music to vent their frustration about politics. Electronic dance duo Orbital said that Brexit was in part inspiration for their new album.
Paul Hartnoll from the band explained: ‘Ultimately it’s a reaction to the world, but I’m trying not to preach at people. It’s a feeling about what’s going on. There’s a hysteria on there – which is a reflection of Brexit – it’s hysterical and I don’t mean that in a funny way.’
He added: ‘Nobody has a clue what we’re doing – but we are still racing towards it next March. I mean what the f**k are they doing? These idiots. They say don’t book any flights after March, we don’t know what the law will be. It’s like ‘what the?’. Why are we doing this? My business will go down the pan because I can’t fly to any gigs after March, it’s mental.’