So live music is slowly swilling down the plughole of closing venues and crap soundsystems (Spitz! Astoria! Glastonbury Pyramid Stage!). A while ago a petition was started up to express disapproval at "burdensome licensing regulations" that were inappropriate for live music and dance, and were not promoting these activities.
Well, ye-es, but then having your hearing buggered to death by cheap soundsystems turned up way past full isn't promoting them in a positive manner either. There should surely be some compromise between people wanting to have music at a volume that really shows it off to its best, and between pissing off the neighbours and people whose good will is relied on for live shows to exist in the first place. Although seriously: if Glastonbury could just make up their minds whether it was a crap soundsystem, an accidental blip by the sound desk or a request from the local council that resulted in The Killers's awful Sunday picnic sound, that'd be just dandy.
Here's the petition and the recent response from the Goverment.
2 July 2007
We received a petition asking:
"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to recognise that music and dance should not be restricted by burdensome licensing regulations."
Details of Petition:
"The recently introduced changes in licensing law have produced an environment where music and dance, activities which should be valued and promoted in a civilised society, are instead damaged by inappropriate regulation. We call on the Prime Minister to recognise this situation and take steps to correct it."
Read the Government's response
"Thank you for signing the epetition expressing concerns that the new licensing act is restricting music and dance.
"The Government recognises the vital role that live music and dance play in our national life and wants to see it expanded not reduced. So there is absolutely no intention of restricting performances through unnecessary licensing regulations. But it is also the case, of course, that some live performances can impact on the wider community, not least through noise, public safety or nuisance to local residents.
"So the aim of the Licensing Act was to streamline the system which had grown up over many years, reducing unnecessary burdens but giving local communities a greater say in the licensing decisions that affect them. The Act, for example, has removed the need to apply for several different permits to put on events and enabled more venues to put on performances.
"Overall the evidence so far does not suggest that the Licensing Act has had a negative impact on the amount of live music. Research for the Department for Culture, Music and Sport (new window) into the impact of the new rules on smaller venues found that twice as many found the licensing process easy as difficult. It also highlighted the fact that bureaucracy and expense were only rarely mentioned as reasons for not applying licences.
"But the Government does accept that some venues feel unnecessarily constrained by restrictive conditions. While those that have stopped hosting live music have generally been balanced by the emergence of new venues, we do recognise that the loss of an established venue can have an impact on individual musicians and music fans.
"It is in response to these concerns that DCMS has already set out areas where it thinks changes might be made to reduce further administrative burdens. The Government also set up the Live Music Forum in 2004 to monitor the impact of the Licensing Act and to recommend how government might better promote live performances. We expect to receive the Forum's findings and recommendations in the Summer and will look closely to see if action is needed."