The Live Music Forum


Friday 13th January 2996 - Jamie Cullum to test licensing act


My thanks to Roger Gall for drawing this to my attention:

The Times January 13, 2006
Star to defy live music law
By Adam Sherwin, Media Reporter

YOUNG musicians will be silenced by new licensing laws that could restrict the performance of live music, a leading star has cautioned.

Jamie Cullum, the top-selling jazz artist, is planning to stage an “illegal” gig in protest at the legislation, which requires the owners of venues to pay for a music licence even for a pub performance by a pianist.

Until the Licensing Act came into force last November, venue owners did not require an entertainment licence for performances by only one or two musicians in a bar. Under new rules landlords must obtain a licence, costing up to £1,000 for any live performance. The maximum penalty for anyone breaching the rules is a £20,000 fine and six months in prison.

Mr Cullum, 26, told The Times : “I started out playing little duo gigs in pubs, clubs, bars and pizza restaurants. Many didn't have entertainment licences. If this law had been in force I would never have been able to come to London and get myself known.

“I feel very strongly that removing the ‘two-in-a-bar' rule will damage opportunities for young musicians and I want to make my voice heard. I want to stage an illegal gig at a venue playing ‘two-in-a-bar'. They can arrest me if they want and I am willing to pay the fine.”

Ministers argue that the licensing changes will increase opportunities for young musicians. A Culture Department spokesman said: “The ‘two-in-a-bar' rule was nonsensical. The White Stripes (rock duo) wouldn't need a licence, however many amplifiers they were plugged into, while a string quartet would. It encouraged promoters to put on just solo performers or duos.”


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Hamish Birchall