Live Music Act could be extended to 500-capacity venues

New proposal designed to aid smaller music venues in the UK

Live Music Act could be extended to 500-capacity venues

Photo: Ciara McMullan

The Government has issued a new proposal aimed at helping small music venues.

The proposal is to amend the Live Music Act so that venues with a capacity of up to 500 people will be exempt from licensing requirements. The current limit is 200 people. The proposal comes following consultation on entertainment deregulation by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Additionally, the consultation also suggested that recorded music should be treated in the same way as live music. In theory this means venues of the same 500 capacity will be exempt from the same licensing requirements. Community premises such as church and village halls and community centres will be exempt from licensing requirements for live and recorded music for audiences of up to 500 people.

Speaking to Music Week, the Live Music Forum's Phil Little was in a pessimistic mood, saying, "The Live Music Forum campaigned for almost 20 years to bring about these changes and they are more than we hoped for.

"However, it is plain that much of the damage to the scene has already been done. Without an improvement in audience attendance across the board we have an awful long way to go to match the vibrance of live music performance in previous decades."

When the Live Music Act was first announced in 2012, it was estimated that an extra 13,000 venues across the UK would able to begin hosting their own live music nights. Under the new bill, live unamplified music could be played in any location. The only restriction on the music is that it must only be played between the hours of 8am and 11pm.

The act stemmed from a private members' bill which was introduced by Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster, as a measure to remove some of the restrictions put in place on live music by the 2003 Licensing Act.

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