'They're thinking of giving up' - could Brexit force Yorkshire's musicians to quit?

Touring musicians and technical staff across Yorkshire say new travel laws due to Brexit could put many out of business if a solution isn't found.

The UK's post-Brexit travel rules, which came into force at the beginning of the year, do not guarantee visa-free travel for musicians in the bloc.

It comes after Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage, told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that there is little "appetite" from the Government to renegotiate an EU-wide solution to the lack of touring visas.

Instead, she said agreements with individual member states are a "more likely success route".

Ed Cosens from Sheffield group Reverend and the Makers is set to release his first solo album in April.  But with a huge rise in fees and paperwork, promoting it with a European tour has gone from difficult to barely possible.

He said: "Thousands of people's careers and livelihoods are at stake here.

"We're now having to deal with visas with every single country you go to and £350 per application for equipment and goods coming in and out of the EU.

"So if I wanted to tour in Europe now, that £350, I would probably only earn that in two or three gigs."

A working group featuring some 15 representatives of the creative industries has been set up to investigate the issue, but when Dineage was asked whether any formal discussions with individual EU countries are taking place, she replied: "Not currently, not through DCMS.

"There may be some conversations happening through our colleagues in the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) but nothing formal or official."

Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, said UK artists are already losing summer bookings due to the challenges of touring inside the EU.

More than 280,000 people have signed a petition calling for a cultural work permit deal to be reached between the Government and EU.

Credit: ITV News

Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Patrick Stewart and Dame Julie Walters were among more than 100 members of the Equity union who published an open letter on Tuesday urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to secure visa-free EU travel for artists.