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Kamasi Washington plays at the Apollo Theatre
courtesy of Instagram/@kamasiwashington

Kamasi Washington talks about the impact of Brexit on touring artists

‘It is not an inviting idea’

Musicians have been very outspoken in their opposition to Brexit for a long time; late last year they directed an open letter to Theresa May, calling the decision “a very serious mistake” for UK music, and Thom Yorke has since controversially called the prime minister’s actions “worthy of the early days of the third reich”.

Now, though, US jazz saxophonist – and Kendrick Lamar collaborator – Kamasi Washington has added his voice into the mix, saying how Brexit will make touring in the country difficult, especially for less established musicians.

“It is not an inviting idea,” he tells The Guardian. “There will be the notion of coming to Europe and the ease of travelling from one country to the next. That is part of what makes touring possible for lots of artists.”

“Once it becomes harder to get into a country, just logistically, much more planning would have to be involved.”

Obviously, this would dissuade a lot of smaller acts from visiting, since acquiring visas etc just wouldn’t be worth the effort (or the money). Festivals such as Womad have already seen an impact on their abilities to book artists, after concerns about international travel.

Still, Washington does seem to hold out some hope for British music, calling Britain one of the “leading countries in terms of jazz at the moment” and suggesting a surge in the genre is a reaction to the current political mess.