The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin


Monday 4th August 2008 - Small gigs exemptions - extent of DCMS discussions

On Friday 1st August, a spokesperson for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) confirmed that, to date, only Musicians' Union officials have been involved in DCMS discussions about draft entertainment licensing exemptions for performances of live music.

On 22nd July DCMS claimed it was '... discussing draft exemptions with representatives of the music sector'. [Lord Davies of Oldham, written answer to question by Lord Clement-Jones, ref. HL4889 see:  and scroll down]

But last week, representatives of arts organisations including Equity, the Arts Council, the English Folk Dance and Song Society, the National Campaign for the Arts, and the music industry, said that they had not been party to such discussions.

It is now more than a year since the Musicians' Union and the Live Music Forum concluded that the Licensing Act 2003 harmed small scale performances, and recommended further exemptions within the Act as a matter of urgency. [For LMF statement in July 2007 see: ]

The latest DCMS revelation suggests that Musicians' Union officials may have kept the exemption discussions close to their chest. On 24th July two  members of the union's executive committee independently confirmed they were not aware of any such discussions with DCMS, and that, to the best of their knowledge, the subject had not yet been raised formally with the committee.


Hamish Birchall