Ken Livingstone announces plans for London version of SXSW festival

'London Music Festival' to 'unite the whole of the city', says former mayor

Ken Livingstone announces plans for London version of SXSW festival

Photo: PA

Ken Livingstone has announced plans to create a festival similar to Austin's South By Southwest (SXSW) in the UK capital should he be re-elected.

Former London mayor Livingstone, who is standing against Oona King for the Labour candidacy in the next London mayoral election, has outlined part of his Ken4London campaign "Protecting London's Live Music". His plans include a week-long, industry-based festival similar to SXSW.

"What we don't have is a music industry-based expo in the style of Austin, Texas's highly successful South By Southwest festival," he said. "My plan is to bring a little bit of Texas to the capital with a London Music Festival."

Livingstone admitted that details on when the event could be held – and how it would fit in with existing London festivals such as Camden Crawl and Field Day – are still up for debate. However, he added that he wanted it to take place "across hundreds of venues, large and small" in the capital.

"This project will inject energy into an industry we should all cherish and for one week of the year unite the whole of the city into a celebration of music," he said.

Livingstone also said he hoped to protect London venues through planning law, and also unveiled his opposition against Form 696 – the controversial form used by police to risk assess gigs – although he admitted that that particular issue is not one controlled by the mayor's office.

Versions of the form, which Government ministers have recently called to be scrapped, ask venue owners to provide police with information regarding the audience at live music shows.

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