The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin

Friday 28th August 2009 - Conservatives back small gigs exemptions

The Conservative party has for the first time publicly backed the small gig exemptions from the Licensing Act recommended by the all-party Culture, Media and Sport Committee in May.

On 26 August the Conservative press office issued this statement:

'We welcome many of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee's recommendations regarding live music and are saddened that the Labour Government has been so slow in acting on these recommendations. We agree entirely that up to two unamplified live musicians ought to be exempt from the Act and that there is no need for venues with up to 200 capacity to be licensed for live music. Labour's policies are having a terrible effect on live music in this country and many musicians are struggling as a result.'

The CMS Committee also recommended that the controversial Met Police Form 696 should be scrapped. Although this is not mentioned in the Conservative statement, if the Committee's exemptions were implemented, Form 696 could not be imposed as a licence condition on performances of live music in venues up to 200-capacity or where just one or two musicians were performing. However, the form could remain a potential licence condition for venues where recorded music was played and dancing was taking place.

The online petition calling on the Prime Minister to scrap Form 696 has over 17,700 signatures, and is 8th in the list of over 4,600 petitions on the Number 10 website:

The petition calling on the PM to stop criminalising live music with the Licensing Act and to implement small gigs exemptions has nearly 8,000 signatures and is 17th in the same list:


Hamish Birchall