The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin

Monday 10th August 2009 - Sharkey backs pub gigs campaign

Feargal Sharkey, chief executive of UK Music, is backing a licensed trade campaign for new exemptions within the Licensing Act to make it easier for pubs to host live music:

Called 'Listen Up!', the campaign was launched online last Friday 7th August by The Publican magazine. In a YouTube video within the article, Sharkey fiercely criticises licensing red-tape, adding:

'... those little rooms in the backs of those little pubs are vital ingredients, are fundamentally important and the foundation of what is one of the most successful industries in this country, and that is the British music industry. So personally I think it's time we've got up, we've stood up, we've said what we think and get this completely illogical, overburdensome, completely nonsensical bit of legislation changed, and the quicker that happens I think the happier we'll all be.'

Significantly, The Publican also reports that John Whittingdale MP, Conservative chair of the all-party Culture, Media and Sport Committee, intends to table a House of Commons debate on the subject in October. The Publican recently reported Mr Whittingdale's outspoken condemnation of the government for failing to implement the Committee's recommendations for live music:

The Publican's campaign calls on the government to implement those recommendations: exemptions for venues up to 200 capacity and for one or two musicians, and scrapping of the controversial Met Police Form 696.

However, the article omits to mention the Lib Dem private members bill by Lord Clement-Jones, announced on the Lib Dem website on 31 July, which - if enacted - would achieve the campaign objectives:

There is no mention either of the Number 10 petition backing the Culture Committee recommendations for live music. This has gained an amazing 4,000-plus signatures in two weeks, already putting it within the top 30 of over 5000 petitions:

Nor is there any mention of the Number 10 petition to Scrap Form 696, now with over 17,000 signatures putting it within the top 10:

Sources at The Publican said they will shortly include links to these petitions and are planning a Facebook campaign site. They also indicated that party political angles will be addressed in September, when most MPs return from holidays. Feargal Sharkey has already given his support to the Lib Dem Bill on behalf of UK Music:


Hamish Birchall