U. K. Music Scene Flourishing

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —

The live music scene is flourishing in the United Kingdom according to the first ever survey by the Live Music Forum.
Almost half of the venues, which took part in a major new survey on the state of the live music scene in England and Wales, have put on live acts in the past 12 months, and a fifth regularly stage live acts.

The survey shows:

**almost half (47 per cent) of pubs, clubs, student unions and restaurants have put on live acts at least once in the past year;

**a fifth (19 per cent) of the venues staged live music regularly – at least twice a month;

**more than half (55 per cent) of venues who put on music do it because customers demand it; but

**many potential venues have not thought about putting on live music despite the changes in the new licensing laws.

The survey, which interviewed licensees in around 1,600 small venues, will help

inform the work of the Live Music Forum. The Forum, chaired by Feargal Sharkey, brings together the music industry, Arts Council, local authorities, small venue owners and Government to look at the current and future live music scene.

"From the Beatles to Blur we have a live music heritage to be proud of," said DCMS Minister Richard Caborn.
"This survey shows that heritage is alive and well with a flourishing music scene – an estimated 1.7 million gigs were staged in the past year alone in bars, clubs and restaurants whose main business isn't putting on live music. The new Licensing laws will create more opportunities for budding musicians, but the survey shows that there are many potential venues who have not thought about putting on live bands. We need to encourage them to do so and show them that the licensing changes will make staging live music easier so that they are ready to embrace the new law when it comes in next year."

The Forum is working with all those involved in live music to promote live music and the opportunities offered by the new and improved Licensing Act. They will also monitor and evaluate the Act's impact on live music. "We have one of the most vibrant music scenes in the world and live music is at the heart of it," said Sharkey. "I want to see more live music in this country, and with a major overhaul of licensing laws just around the corner, we have the best opportunity in a generation to achieve this. Our research indicates live music plays a phenomenal part in people's lives – 47 per cent of venues know how important it is."

"A third of the people we spoke to who do not currently put on live music said they probably would in the future," added Sharkey. "I want them, and anyone with the space to put on a band or a live act, to think carefully and remember the benefits in profits, to customers and to the next generation of performers."

"The survey confirms the importance of live music nationwide and the vital role it plays in generating work for British musicians, together with the creation of sales income for our leisure industry," added Keith Ames, communications official of the musician's union.

"We must, however, ensure that licensees, promoters and events organisers are fully informed as to the opportunities available under the new legislation and it appears there is a need for an informative, communications process which advises licensees as to the Act's requirements. We have designed our 'Music to your Ears' initiative – aimed at existing and potential music venues – plus our Live Music Kit with this need specifically in mind. We believe the Kit, in particular, will prove a catalyst for the development of live music at grass roots level."

The Live Music Forum was set up in January 2004. As well as working with partners across the live music world to ensure they make the most of the opportunities offered by the Act, the Forum is also looking at a range of ways to promote live music and foster grass roots talent. At the end of its lifespan, the Forum will make recommendations to government. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

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