Government?s live licensing consultation welcomed by industry

The government’s latest consultation on entertainment licensing has been welcomed by various representatives from the music industry, with the potential removal of bureaucracy put in place in 2003, which hindered the progression of grass roots gigs, CMU has reported.

The 2003 act has had a negative effect on the number of pubs and venues able to host live music events, reducing the number of opportunities for grass roots musicians to perform. A number of government and parliamentary reports have since set about removing the amount of red tape surrounding the issue, with Lord Tim Clement-Jones’ Live Music Bill making proposals as to how that could be done.

Various music business reps have welcomed the announcement last week by Tourism & Heritage minister John Penrose, that his department will again consult with the government, mainly due to the increased optimism that something might actually be done about the unnecessary elements of the 2003 Act.

Having spoken to The Guardian about the consultation last week, UK Music’s Feargal Sharkey, told CMU over the weekend: “Earlier this year, UK Music highlighted how large-scale live music attracts £1.4bn of tourism to the UK. However, the success of our festivals and arenas – indeed, the success of our entire industry – is reliant upon a vibrant grass roots music scene. This is where raw talent emerges. We are therefore delighted that government has adopted such a forward-thinking approach. Enabling live music to flourish has potential to drive social cohesion, entrepreneurialism and economic growth. While continuing to support Lord Clement-Jones’ Live Music Bill, UK Music warmly welcomes this consultation and all other measures that would remove red tape for the benefit of musicians and creative talent.”

Musicians’ Union’s John Smith, added: “We welcome this consultation and the government’s intention to cut red tape for live music. At the very least, we hope that the result will be to implement an exemption for small venues putting on live music with fewer than 200 people in attendance, which we have been lobbying for for many years now. We therefore also support the proposals outlined in Lord Clement-Jones’ Live Music Bill, which [proposes such an exemption].”

Meanwhile, Live Nation exec Paul Latham, speaking as head of the UK Live Music Group, said: “Live music provides a huge boost to the UK’s economy and is a significant part of this country’s social fabric. To ensure future success it is vital that we sustain a healthy grass roots scene, where musicians and artists from every region have the widest possible opportunity to build a career. It is pleasing that Government recognises this fact and we look forward to engaging with this consultation in the weeks ahead.”