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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 August, 2004, 00:54 GMT 01:54 UK
'Flourishing' gig scene revealed
Dublin Castle pub, north London
One in five pubs, clubs and student unions has regular gigs
More than 4,500 grass-roots gigs take place every day in England and Wales, one of the widest studies of the live music scene has found.

About 1.7 million gigs were staged in pubs, restaurants, clubs and student unions in 2003, according to a survey for the government's Live Music Forum.

And that excludes dedicated gig venues whose main business is live music.

But 11% of licensees said they would cut down or stop live music when the Licensing Act comes into force in 2005.

Another 7% said they would increase their gig schedule in the wake of the Licensing Act, which means venues will need an entertainment licence for any form of amplified live music.

Student unions - 91% of venues had gigs
Clubs/associations - 70%
Church halls/community centres - 68%
Pubs/inns - 44%
Small clubs - 42%
Hotels - 39%
Restaurants/cafes - 28%
Source: DCMS/Mori

Currently, they do not need a licence if they host only solo performers and duets.

"From the Beatles to Blur, we have a live music heritage to be proud of," culture minister Richard Caborn said.

"This survey shows that heritage is alive and well with a flourishing music scene."

He said the new rules would make staging live music easier, but many potential venues needed encouragement to put on gigs.

The Mori survey found that three-quarters of licensees said they had not been told enough about the possible impact of the new law.

Of the 150,000 pubs, clubs, restaurants and student unions in the UK, just under half said they staged live music at some point in 2003.

I want to see more live music in this country
Feargal Sharkey
Live Music Forum
Just under one-fifth said they hosted gigs at least once a fortnight.

The Live Music Forum, headed by former Undertones singer Feargal Sharkey, is trying to promote live music and inform venue owners about the Licensing Act.

"I want to see more live music in this country," Sharkey said.

"With a major overhaul of licensing laws just around the corner, we have the best opportunity in a generation to achieve this."

The Musicians' Union said the survey confirmed the "vital role" the live music scene played in creating work for musicians.

But he said licensees, promoters and organisers must be "fully informed" about the legislation.

Live music scene gets task force
05 Jan 04  |  Entertainment
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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