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Last Updated: Monday, 5 January, 2004, 14:00 GMT
Live music scene gets task force
Feargal Sharkey
Feargal Sharkey has worked in the music industry for several years
Live music in the UK is to get the backing of the government in a campaign to promote grassroots performance.

A survey of the state of live music is to take place now the new Licensing Act has changed the rules about where music can be played.

That will lead into the creation of a body to promote live music, headed by former Undertones star Feargal Sharkey.

Arts Minister Estelle Morris said: "A vibrant live music scene is a vital element of our cultural life."

She said she wanted to ensure the Licensing Act "expands those opportunities".

Barriers

The new task force, called the Live Music Forum, will bring together "a range of experience and expertise to help us achieve that", she added.

The forum will involve the music industry, the Arts Council, local authorities, small venue owners and the government.

It will act on the findings of the survey, which aims to identify the barriers to live music being played and find out why some areas thrive while others do not.

The Licensing Act got rid of an old rule that meant solo performers and duets could perform anywhere without the need for the venue to have a licence.

'Unique'

Now pubs, clubs and cafes catering have to apply for entertainment licences for any form of amplified live music.

Sharkey said: "I am delighted to have been asked to play a part in this unique initiative, one which we hope will help develop, encourage and promote live music."

And John Smith, general secretary of the Musicians' Union, said: "The commitment to live music shown by the minister is most welcome.

"The result of the research which the department is about to embark on will enable us to measure the success, or otherwise, of the new Licensing Act."


SEE ALSO:
Musicians attack licensing laws
04 Jul 03  |  Entertainment
Musicians back licence bill changes
18 Feb 03  |  Entertainment
Pub music scene 'under threat'
12 Nov 02  |  Entertainment


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