The Live Music Forum
Hamish Birchall Bulletin
Friday 15th July 2009 - Live music bill published
The Lib Dem live music bill is
now available on the Parliament website:
If enacted it would amend the Licensing Act to exempt a range of small
A new definition is proposed for 'minimal amplification'. This allows
amplification for one or two performers, provided it does not predominate
over unamplified instruments. The wording was derived in part from the
discussion of music volume in the 'incidental music' section of the Licensing
Guidance, paragraph 3.22, secondary legislation that accompanies the Act:
Jobsworths will of course warn that if the bill succeeds, society will fall apart and the sky will fall in. And, since jobsworth culture has infected the DCMS licensing team, ministers will probably make similar dire predictions.
In fact the bill does less for live music than was done for amplified big screen broadcast entertainment, which enjoys an unqualified exemption. Indeed, this bill does less than was done for DJs and amplified music during the changeover to the new regime in 2005. All bars and other premises converting their existing alcohol licence were granted automatic permission to play recorded music, with no conditions. And the bill's two-performer exemption falls short of the old 'two in a bar rule' which had no constraint on amplification.
If government and DCMS statements this week teach us anything it is that, despite the rhetoric ('of course we want people to enjoy live music...'), they cannot grasp the idea that a thriving 'music industry' also means live music being part of the normal, day-to-day activity in the community, regulated by the same laws that already address public safety in workplaces, public nuisance and disorder.