Live Music Bill is good news for Bristol

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14 December 2011
The MP for Bristol East, Kerry McCarthy, has welcomed news that the Live Music Bill is now one step away from becoming law. The Live Music Bill, which aims to cut back the bureaucracy and restrictions surrounding the live performance of music in small venues has passed Committee Stage in Parliament.

The Bill proposes that the performance of live music will no longer need a licence if:

• The music is unamplified and will take place between 8am-11pm on the same day;
• The music is amplified, takes place between the above hours on the same day, and is a performance to no more than 200 people.
• Licences will continue to be necessary for other licensable activities, e.g. sale of alcohol.

Significantly, the Local Government Association which represents councils has also announced that they are now fully supporting the Bill, following some important amendments. In a statement, the LGA said: “We are pleased that the Bill will leave councils with more levers to protect residents than other proposals currently being consulted on by DCMS, and that is has more stringent requirements on group size and a pre-determined finish time of 11pm.”

Kerry who is a Vice Chair of the All-Party Group on Music and a member of the Live Music Bill committee hopes the bill will make it easier for small venues to hold gigs, plays and public events, while still providing local councils with powers to tackle problem venues. The Bill now goes forward to its third reading and report stage - just one step away from becoming law.

Kerry said today: “This Bill is good news for Bristol, which was recently acclaimed as the most musical city in the UK. As a city with more musicians per capita than any other in the UK, Bristol also plays host to a large number of diverse and vibrant smaller music venues – such as The Thekla, the Thunderbolt, The Croft, the Fleece, plus many more small pubs which are set to benefit most from these changes.
“The Bill was rightly welcomed by everyone on the committee. It is clear that the Licensing Act 2003 did have a detrimental impact on live music in smaller venues, which has declined since 2004 and which has also had an impact on the pub trade. The last Government did acknowledge this problem and in 2009 they started a consultation on similar proposals to those contained in this Bill. This Bill will help Bristol’s live music scene to continue to flourish, increasing opportunities for local musicians to perform, and audiences to enjoy the pleasure of live music.
“I did, however, seek assurances about what measures would be in place to deal with local concerns about noise nuisance. Local residents should be reassured that local authorities will retain their powers to respond to and address concerns about noise nuisance”.


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