Liberal Democrat peer, Lord Clement-Jones’s Live Music Bill will be debated in the House of Lords tomorrow [Friday January15]. The bill aims to amend the Licensing Act to make it easier for musicians to perform in small venues.
This would also boost local pubs, currently closing at a rate of 52 a week according to CAMRA, which could pull in more customers with live music.
The Government’s 2003 Licensing Act means all live musical performances must have a licence or the organisers risk criminal prosecution with a potential 6 months in prison or £20,000 fine.
Lord Clement-Jones said:
“The Government says live music must be licensed to prevent public disorder. But pubs don’t need a licence to show a live football match on TV. Do they really think people who listen to live music are more of a threat to public order than football fans?
“Small venues are vitally important to Britain’s creative culture. Many successful musicians got their first break gigging in pubs or student unions. But the cost and time of applying for a licence means fewer small spaces are prepared to put on live music.
“My bill proposes that schools, hospitals, colleges and venues up to a capacity of 200 should not need a licence for a live music performance, and that the “two-in-a-bar” exemption should be reinstated. Without these changes, we risk suffocating our live music scene in red tape.
“The Government is out of tune with the live music scene, and has announced yet another long consultation. Supporting my Bill is the only chance to change the law before the general election.”
Tim Clement-Jones’ Live Music Bill is backed by the Musicians’ Union, UK Music, the National Campaign for the Arts, and Equity, as well as having strong support among musicians, publicans and the music press.