The Culture, Media and Sport Committee of 11 MPs, including
six Labour, has recommended entertainment licensing exemptions for venues
up to 200 capacity and for unamplified live music by one or two performers.
The Committee's conclusions add considerable weight to the calls from
live music campaigners, the Musicians' Union and the former Live Music
Forum, for a small gigs exemption.
Launching the Committee's Licensing Act 2003 inquiry report in Parliament
yesterday, chairman John Whittingdale MP commented:
'We were also particularly concerned to hear of the way the Act may be
hampering live music performances especially by young musicians, who often
get their first break though performing live at small venues such as pubs.
Our Report calls on the Government to relax restrictions in this area,
which in some cases are unnecessarily draconian, and in others simply
absurd.' (See link below for a copy of the report).
The press launch, in a room off Westminster Hall, included a live performance
of 'Teenage Kicks' by Feargal Sharkey, boss of UK Music, and Andy Gill
of Gang of Four fame. Unlike most other premises in England and Wales,
the Houses of Parliament and buildings on the Parliamentary estate are
exempt from alcohol and entertainment licensing regulation.
In fact this was Sharkey's second public rendition this week of the Undertones
hit. Last Monday, 11 May, he was joined in an 'impromptu' version by Culture
Secretary Andy Burnham at the Knotty Ash Youth and Community Centre in
Liverpool, a venue once used by the Beatles.
The occasion was the launch of the government's part-funding of rehearsal
venues, many of which also have spaces dedicated to live performance,
as is the case at this community centre owned by Liverpool council. And,
as reported in the Liverpool Echo, the high profile PR event was accompanied
by a performance from unsigned local band 'The Ora':
The gig was attended not only by invited press, but also by venue staff,
civil servants, and other spectators. So is the venue appropriately licensed
for performances of live music?
Liverpool council confirmed yesterday that the venue does not hold a premises
licence, and no-one applied for a Temporary Event Notice.
It looks like an offence was committed - but the council is unlikely to
Link to the Culture Media & Sport Committee Licensing Act 2003 report
(PDF file 2.42Mb, see pp27-32):
Links to press coverage of the Culture Committee findings: