Leading figures from across the live music industry have called for a change in venue licensing to make it easier to stage events and help the industry thrive.
The group, including UK Music, Paul Latham (UK Live Music Group), Alex Mann (Musicians’ Union) and Mark Davyd, (Music Venue Trust), want an amendment to the law which would ensure cultural benefits are considered by local authorities when they make decisions about the award of music licences.
Together they want to see 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.
These are issues concerning crime and disorder, public safety, public nuisance and protection of children.
The House Of Lords is undertaking a year-long investigation into the effectiveness of the Licensing Act 2003, which provides the framework for music venues to operate.
Today (Tuesday), it called Latham, Mann and Davyd to give evidence to a select committee this morning.
Latham, who is chair of the UK Live Music Group and also chief operating officer of Live Nation, said: ‘As leading venue operators across the UK we strive to bring a “best in class” operation to all our venues and that includes mutual learnings throughout our venue portfolio.
‘At all times we try to work progressively with the respective local authorities to share our learnings. Unfortunately not all local authorities are like-minded and their interpretations of the Licensing Act are not always helpful, or consistent, which is frustrating and creates obstacles for venue operators at all levels.’
UK Music’s chief executive, Jo Dipple, added: ‘Music venues are a vital element of the UK’s night-time economy and provide a significant number of jobs, but often operate on very slim margins.
‘We should be doing everything we can to help these businesses thrive. Venue operators are obliged to comply with other areas of legislation to ensure they do not cause disturbance or nuisance and we think the positive benefits of gigs should be an important consideration.’
These comments come ahead of a Lords debate tomorrow (Wednesday) on the Policing and Crime Bill in which Lord Clement-Jones will propose an amendment that would pave the way for this new provision.
Originally published here