In its fourth consecutive year, Liveurope, the organization coordinated by Ancienne Belgique that supports emerging European musicians artists, hosted its event dedicated to Europe Day, traditionally celebrated each May 9th. The afternoon panels highlighted the role of music industry and its indispensability to strengthening our European identity in times where scepticism roams the minds of many Europeans. The two afternoon panels: Europe Day Talks were followed by an evening concert by record label Brownswood Recordings’, presenting its ‘We Out Here’ project at AB Club.
The creative sectors are strengthening their ties with Europe in preparation for Brexit
The UK is one of the strongest music exporters in the world. During Europe Day Talks, the creative industries in the country encouraged to keep a strong collaboration with the European member states to ensure that culture, as a tool for diplomacy and understanding, is not compromised.
“Only 2% of those polled in the UK music industry thought that Brexit was a good option for the future of the UK,” reminded journalist Wyndham Wallace, who moderated the panel. The other 98%, were represented by the Londoner panellists, who strongly defended for open borders and continuing collaborations with programmes such as Creative Europe, which has immensely helped the development of young UK artists.
Creative Europe’s immense support for UK’s innovative music projects was discussed in order to put an emphasis on schemes that support international European culture. By maintaining an alliance with programmes like these, we can keep the music industry diverse and accessible, but also ensure that advancements are being made in all corners of the industry.
Elizabeth Sills of UK’s PRS Foundation gave the example of her organization’s efforts to strengthen the music industry: “Our foundation’s Keychange campaign, with its 50 – 50 pledge for gender balance in the performing sector is globally an important project in the music industry and is supported by Creative Europe. It is so important to maintain ties with the EU to continue with these incentives after Brexit”.
Music is the extra touch of soul missing in the European identity
Moderator Diego Velasquez reminded us that Europe often struggles to emit enthusiasm, even from pro-Europeans, quoting Jacques Delors, "We don't fall in love with a single market." However, during the panels, this brought forward the notion that there is available potential for us to unite by taking pride in what Europe has done for music. DJ Shkyd (Julien Jaubert) motivated that we as Europeans can take pride in what we have collectively given to the global music industry: "We have Deezer, Spotify, Soundcloud, Shazam, FL Studios; all of which are European services from different countries. The tools to come together and to have a European identity just might be in our music industry”.
It's also international collaboration that allows for music to be created. IMPALA's executive director Helen Smith reminded that "Most European music is international in some way. For music to be created, staff from multiple countries are often involved", pointing towards producers, artists, and labels. The panelists noted that audiences feel closer to the musicians when they feel their energy resonate with their message. To tackle populism, Nubya Garcia, UK saxophonists, feels it’s best to “Be there. We need to go to that show in the small town in the north of England and connect with that audience and give them a chance to hear our message.” Bonding of culture through music is how Europe can feel closer together.
The discussions concluded that through music, the European Union is not something that needs to be explained. The European experience is something that can be felt. “It (the EU) is not something we feel the need to defend or make a political statement about. We experience it every day. We feel it because we’re in different countries every day playing for audiences in Germany, in the Netherlands and it’s fantastic,” concluded Aurélie Poppins of Belgian's Cocaine Piss.
"Musicians persuade and inspire through methods relatable to all audiences," said Jana Graso of Liveurope. "0.015% of all EU budget is allocated to culture. Music is a powerful industry worth supporting with a structured policy. An action such as Music Moves Europe is about recognising music for its contribution to the EU. We hope that the preparatory action will prove to have a positive effect and lead to a structured EU music programme post 2020."
Photos by: Jacob MacPherson