The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin

Friday 12th March 2010 - Last chance for live music bill?

Lord Clement-Jones' live music bill, which if enacted would exempt most small gigs from entertainment licensing red tape, is listed for 2nd reading debate today in the House of Commons.

The bill is backed by UK Music, Equity, the Incorporated Society of Musicians, the original Live Music Forum (, the Musicians Union, and the National Campaign for the Arts.

However, at 14th in the list of private members bills it is unlikely to get any Parliamentary time and will almost certainly fail.

Lib Dem shadow culture secretary Don Foster said:

'The bill represents a great opportunity to repair the damage done to live music by Labour's licensing rules. I am disappointed the government have refused to support it, despite their slowly coming to accept that they have got it wrong. The minor change suggested in their consultation [an exemption for gigs with an audience up to 100] does not go anywhere near far enough, and bureaucracy will continue to strangle live music provision unless our ideas are put into action. When the government consultation reports and the election is complete, we will assess how best to take the contents of the Bill forward.'

Needless to say a lot depends on the outcome of the general election, which must be held by the end of May. The Conservatives have already backed the 200-capacity venue exemption recommended by the All Party Culture, Media and Sport Committee last year.

Labour has promised to consider a 200-capacity exemption, but only if 'an overwhelming majority' backs this in the current DCMS consultation:

The deadline for responses is 26th March.

On 1st March, Music Week reported that DCMS had already received over 100 responses and that those by the Musicians Union and the Live Music Forum had slated the government's 100-capacity proposal as too small:


Hamish Birchall