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Martina Topley-Bird headlines afternoon at Westminster in support of Live Music Act

With confirmation that the recently-passed Live Music Act will come into effect on 1 October 2012, the UK music industry held a celebration event in Westminster yesterday afternoon.

L-R: Bernard Butler, Lord Clement Jones, Andy Heath (UK Music Chairman), Martina Topley Bird, Jo Dipple (UK Music CEO), John Smith (MU General Secretary)Co-hosted by the Musicians' Union and UK Music, and bringing together those who supported the Act, the event featured performances by Martina Topley-Bird, Daytona Lights and MP4.   

Introduced by Lib Dem Peer, Tim Clement-Jones, and promoted in the Commons by Bath MP, Don Foster, the Live Music Act will encourage pubs and other small venues to host live music events.

As a result, in England and Wales, performances of live amplified music to audiences of less than 200 people between the hours of 8am-11pm will no longer need Local Authority permission. There will be no audience limit for performances of unamplified live music.

John Smith, MU General Secretary, said:

'The MU is delighted to be hosting this event alongside UK Music. Personally, I have been campaigning on this issue ever since the Licensing Bill first started going through Parliament in 2002-03 and once the Licensing Act came into place in 2003, our members immediately started telling us that the number of gigs being held in small venues was going down.

'The exemption that the Live Music Act will bring in is fantastic news for musicians and will be a real boost for live music and we thought it was right to celebrate it with a live music party in parliament.'

Jo Dipple, Chief Executive of UK Music, said:

'This Act will reverse the damaging effect the Licensing Act had on live musical performances in the UK. Our most successful musicians, Joy Division, The Sex Pistols, Rolling Stones, all learnt their trade and earned their livings in small clubs and bars. Reversing over-zealous licensing regulations will create new opportunities for British artists. The Rose & Crown in Totteridge Park and the constitution in Camden Town will be - thanks to this Act - full of music and seedbeds for talent. Tomorrow’s headline acts will grow from these seedbeds which is great for music lovers and for the wider UK economy.'

The Live Music Act has won support across the music community:

Guy Garvey, Elbow:

'The nerves, excitement and satisfaction that I felt when playing at Glastonbury Festival on the main stage last Summer were just as intense when we played the Corner Pin pub in Stubbins twenty years ago. The encouragement the landlord and the friends that gathered back then gave us kept us writing and playing long enough to make a life from our passion. This result is a very important step towards easing the path for musicians of tomorrow. British music is one of our proudest exports and everyone involved with raising this issue and voting in its favour should be enormously proud. Now let’s get drunk and have a sing!'

Robert Wyatt:

'I think the MU's case for fairness on the issue of grassroots live music cannot be reasonably refuted on any serious grounds and that could be why they fought such a successful campaign.'

Joan Armatrading:

'The Live Music Act is very welcomed. Any act that protects the creativity and performance of music is helping to keep the music industry alive.'

Dan Lawrence, Daytona Lights

'Playing live has been a huge part of our life as a band. Playing in venues across the UK has really helped us perfect our craft on stage. In small venues, we are able to connect with the audience, gauge reaction to songs and build the rapport we have with each other. The live music scene in the UK is fantastic and we are thrilled to be part of it. As an emerging band, this has been a vital to our growth - the Live Music Act is so important, keeping music live and thriving!'

Jack Savidge, Friendly Fires

'Last year, we played a gig at The Horn in St Albans, a small venue that's supported us in various incarnations for over 10 years. It’s a common saying that for a band to get good, they have to play gig after gig and that there is no substitute for playing to an audience. With more and more small venues facing closure (even The Horn is launching a 'Save The Horn' campaign for the first time in its 37-year history), it's becoming harder for new artists to do this. We hope the new Act will help small venues to survive and thrive.'

Phil Manzanera, Roxy Music:

'A lot of us musicians started out in the smallest of venues, where we learned our trade, and it is fantastic to get this exemption to the Act which will continue to encourage the emergence of new young talent.'


'It's great news that the campaign has been successful and small venues will be able to hold live music events without a licence. Such venues are the essential shop floor of the UK's multi-million pound music industry.' 

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