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Live Music Bill to receive Royal Assent on Thursday

Ahren Lester
Live Music Bill to receive Royal Assent on Thursday

The much-anticipated Live Music Bill is on the verge of becoming the Live Music Act as it moves to get Royal Assent and become an Act of Parliament on Thursday (March 8th). However, it will not be implemented as law until October—sadly after the London 2012 Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee have occurred.

The news was confirmed on Twitter by Don Foster MP—a long-time supporter of the Bill and co-sponsor with Lord Tim Clement-Jones.

“Told that my Live Music Bill becomes an Act of Parl[iamen]t on Thurs,” explained Foster on the social media site on March 5th. “Congrats and thanks to all who made it happen.” Foster then goes on to thank UK Music, the Musicians’ Union and Incorporated Society of Musicians.

However, Lord Clement-Jones informed Music Week at the Rock the House event held at Parliament that it was unlikely to be made law until several months later in October.

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>“We have to educate local authorities about the [Bill] as well as police on how to enforce it,” he told Music Week adding jokingly that making the act law too early risked “irritating every village up-and-down the country.”

The new Act—when it becomes such—will mean that venues that have an audience of 200 people or fewer would not be required to go about getting a costly licence in order to hold concerts.

This change will make it much easier for schools, colleges, village halls and more to organise such events. What is more, for venues with an existing licence—such as pubs—it will also be easier to arrange live music events and to do so with fewer restrictions.

Hosting of live music events in smaller venues saw a notable decline with the introduction of the Licensing Act in 2003. A mixture of over-regulation and the high cost of licences often discouraged venues from arranging such events. The forthcoming Act will hopefully do a great deal to reverse this decline.

“Over the past few years our members have been telling us that the number of gigs available to young musicians who are still perfecting their craft has gone down,” explained the Musicians’ Union General Secretary, John Smith. “This is primarily due to a reduction in the number of smaller venues which traditionally offered this level of gig, and is directly linked to the Licensing Act. The exemption that the Live Music Bill introduces will be hugely beneficial to these small venues.”

“The Live Music Bill will make a real and positive difference to lives of musicians,” explained UK Music’s CEO, Jo Dipple, to CMU earlier in the year. “There is no doubt that the current Licensing Act has created needless layers of bureaucracy – making it complicated and expensive for pubs and other small venues to host live gigs. The entire industry would like to thank Lord Clement-Jones and Don Foster MP who have made this change possible.”

The Royal Assent of the Bill—which sadly does not actually involve the Queen personally rubber stamping the Act (however satisfying that thought may be)—will see the long hoped for result of nearly three years of action since the Bill was first proposed back in July 2009.

The future for live music in the UK is looking up and Lord Clement-Jones even suggested to Music Week that further progress could be made in the future. Clement-Jones suggested that consultations were already under way regarding the possibility of raising the threshold beyond the 200 attendee mark.

Tags: Live Sound, cmu, musicians union, house of lords, live music bill, uk music, live music, London 2012 Olympics, house of commons, incorporated society of musicians

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