The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin

Monday 21st December 2009 - Live music bill debate set for 15 January

Lord Clement-Jones' live music bill is to get a full debate in the House of Lords on Friday 15th January 2010, probably in the afternoon: [scroll down]

If enacted it would amend the Licensing Act to exempt a range of small gigs:
a.. in alcohol-licensed premises up to 200 capacity, up to midnight, subject to review if there are problems.
b.. in hospitals, schools and colleges with up to 200 audience/participants and providing alcohol is not being sold.
c.. anywhere by one or two musicians, unamplified or minimally amplified.
The bill includes an amendment to permit amplified music accompanying morris and similar dancing (the current exemption only applies when the dancing is accompanied by unamplified live music).

The bill also proposes a definition of 'minimal amplification' which would allow amplification to be used by one or two performers, provided it does not predominate over unamplified instruments. The wording was derived in part from the discussion of music volume already set out in the 'incidental music' section of the government's Licensing Guidance, paragraph 3.22 (secondary legislation that accompanies the Act):

Link to PDF file of Lord Clement-Jones' bill:

The debate will include a response from a government minister or spokesperson, but would not conclude with a vote. Provided no hostile amendments are tabled, it would go to a formal Committee stage about two weeks later. If such amendments were tabled, another debate would be required.

Assuming no delays, after a further two weeks the bill would get a formal 3rd reading, and could then go to the House of Commons.

By that time, however, the bill could be thwarted by an imminent general election - the same obstacle facing the government with its yet to be fulfilled promise of swift action on a small gigs exemption consultation.

Despite this, the live music bill, which is supported by UK Music, represents an invaluable opportunity to keep the case for exemptions on the Parliamentary and media agenda.


Hamish Birchall