The live music industry has called for a change in gig venue licensing as part of a year-long investigation by the House of Lords into the 2003 Licensing Act.
The House of Lords summoned Paul Latham, chair of the UK Live Music Group, Alex Mann, live music official of the Musicians’ Union, and Mark Davyd, chief executive of the Music Venue Trust, to give evidence to a select committee yesterday (6 December).
Collectively they called for the introduction of a new ‘objective’ in the decision-making process, which would take account of the positive cultural impact of staging an event. At present, authorities are not obliged to consider the wider benefits of music and entertainment in the community and instead focus on the negative impact of applications such as crime and disorder, public safety and public nuisance.
The statements come ahead of a House of Lords debate today on the Policing and Crime Bill, in which Lord Clement-Jones will propose an amendment that would pave the way for this new provision.
“Licensing is just one of many areas of the legal framework around grassroots music venues that is contributing to their rapid decline,” Davyd commented. “In the case of licensing, Music Venue Trust is not asking that a special case be made for grassroots venues. Rather, we believe a further push to support the intent of the Licensing Act 2003 – and the subsequent Live Music Act 2012 – is required so these culturally and socially important spaces achieve parity in the manner in which the licensing framework handles and supports them.
“We want to see grassroots music venues acknowledged and respected alongside theatres and arts centres as spaces that are vital to the health, wealth and happiness of the UK.”