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Laws restricting the playing of live music in small venues

Comment 6th July 2010

 

Under the Licensing Act, a performance by one musician in a bar, restaurant, school or hospital not licensed for live music could lead to a criminal prosecution of those organising the event. Even a piano may count as a licensable 'entertainment facility'. By contrast, amplified big screen broadcast entertainment is exempt. The government says the Act is necessary to control noise nuisance, crime, disorder and public safety, even though other laws already deal with those risks. Musicians warned the Act would harm small events. About 50% of bars and 75% of restaurants have no live music permission. Obtaining permission for the mildest live music remains costly and time-consuming. In May, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee recommended exemptions for venues up to 200 capacity and for unamplified performance by one or two musicians. The government said no. But those exemptions would restore some fairness in the regulation of live music and encourage grassroots venues.

Why does this matter?

Relaxing laws on live music can improve our society as a whole in many ways.  Our struggling pub culture needs to be able to attract its clientele in new and creative ways.  Due to our struggling economy as a whole, this can also apply to other venues such as restaurants and bars.  Also, welcoming music into small venues encourages and supports local musicians and fosters new and budding talent. 

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