The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin

Thursday 11th February 2010 - Live music bill goes to Commons

Lord Clement-Jones' live music bill has reached the House of Commons where it has been picked up by Don Foster, Lib Dem spokesperson for Culture, Media and Sport.

Significantly, the bill also has Conservative front bench support from Ed Vaizey, Shadow minister for Culture and the Creative Industries.

Commons debate in the form of a 2nd reading is scheduled for 12 March, although there is competition for time with several other private members bills.

If enacted the bill would create exemptions from entertainment licensing for live music, but not dancing or recorded music, from a range of venues up to 200 capacity, including hospitals and schools. It would also partially reinstate the old 'two in a bar' exemption, permitting one or two musicians to perform anywhere unamplified or with minimal amplification. These measures would implement most of the all-party Culture Committee recommendations.

The bill is already supported by Equity, the Musicians Union, the National Campaign for the Arts, the original Live Music Forum (, UK Music and The Publican (see their Facebook page: ).

For the first time, however, the Incorporated Society of Musicians has added its weight to the campaign.

ISM Chief Executive Deborah Annetts said:

'With just weeks to go before the general election, MPs have the chance to free musicians from mountains of paperwork and allow live music to flourish. Performing in small venues is the first step in a musician's professional career but the current licensing regime is causing opportunities to dry up. This Bill has the support of politicians from all parties and musicians from all genres. We now call on the government to make time for this important piece of legislation and enable it to make a difference to music and musicians."
['Live music strangled by red tape', Lib Dem press release 09/02/10: ]

Whether the bill succeeds or fails is now down to the government. Lord Clement-Jones explains:

"My Bill is the only chance to change the law before the general election and breathe new life in to the live music scene. I challenge the Government to explain why they will not support it."


Hamish Birchall