SNP MSP Sandra White has warned of the looming threat posed by Brexit to Scotland’s world leading festivals during the 25th anniversary of Glasgow’s Celtic Connections, which generates over £7 million for the Scottish economy each year.

In answer to a parliamentary question, the Cabinet Secretary for Culture Fiona Hyslop said:

“We know that the UK’s current visa system already puts in place significant cost and administrative barriers to non-EU artists bringing their work to the festivals. Expanding those barriers to artists from the rest of the EU could have a devastating impact, on both the economic and the cultural impact of the festivals.”

Without EU funding, Celtic Connections Director Donald Shaw warned that “maybe a dozen shows a year in our programme” would not have happened, and the impact of the fall in the pound on the festival’s buying power has already led to a 20% reduction in the number of overseas artists. The Director said he is concerned that new entry visa requirements “would be a big logistical nightmare and financial headache” for the event.

SNP MSP Sandra White for Glasgow Kelvin said:

“The clue is in the name of Celtic Connections – its ethos of connecting and sharing to the benefit of both our economy and our culture reflects that of the EU.

“The Tories’ Brexit is out of tune with Celtic Connections, which generates over £7 million for the Scottish economy each year. It will strip Scottish culture of EU funding, freedom of movement and the general sense of international collaboration that is pertinent to the culture sector.

“Protecting Scotland’s place in the European Union is essential for performers who believe, overwhelmingly, that closing borders will not only damage a touring musician’s livelihood, but will weaken our economy and our culture. EU citizens are not only performers, they are bums on seats in audiences across Scotland throughout the year.

“The Scottish Government supported this festival that does so much to promote our global reputation for cultural excellence with over half a million pounds this year. And the SNP Government will continue striving to ensure that Scotland remains an outward-looking, welcoming nation, which is underpinned by our world class international festivals.”

ENDS

Notes to the editors

Parliamentary Questions answered by the Culture Secretary:
http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx?SearchType=Advance&MSPId=1865&SearchFor=AllQuestions&DateChoice=3&SortBy=DateSubmitted

Traditional music festival Celtic Connections suffers cancellation of US acts thanks to Brexit-caused weak pound: http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/14829171.Brexit_sounds_a_sour_note_as_Celtic_Connections_hit/

Celtic Connections fears Brexit will cut global ties: https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/celtic-connections-fears-brexit-will-cut-global-ties-1-4650675

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