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Last Updated: Monday, 1 August 2005, 23:16 GMT 00:16 UK
Licence fear for live music scene
James Blunt
James Blunt is among a number of musicians who have voiced concern
Live music in England and Wales is under threat as pubs fail to re-apply for licences, according to a report.

Under the Licensing Act 2003, pubs and live music venues must complete the paperwork by Saturday, ahead of the new rules beginning in November.

But research by Glenfiddich has found that half of all pub, bar and restaurant owners are yet to apply.

Bands such as Coldplay, Kaiser Chiefs and Oasis started out playing to small crowds in the back room of local pubs.

Live music is, for the majority of us, a cherished part of our everyday lives
Feargal Sharkey

The report claims that the number of gigs taking place in England and Wales every day could fall from an average of 4,500 gigs to 2,250, if the venues are forced to close in November due to a lack of licence.

The 6 August deadline has been set by the government as the final date for premises to convert their old licences to new ones, or apply for flexible opening hours and entertainment licenses.

It requires everyone in the industry to renew their licence, whether they want to open later or not .

Feargal Sharkey, chairman of the Live Music Forum - which was set up by the government to urge venues to apply for new licences - called on landlords to apply.

He said: "Live music is, for the majority of us, a cherished part of our everyday lives and that's why we need all venues that have the capacity to put on live acts to apply for their licence.

"I want to see more live music venues taking the opportunity to put on new bands - this is the lifeblood of our music industry."

'Rise to fame'

Glenfiddich commissioned the report to look into the threat posed by the lack of awareness to the live music scene.

It has been backed by a number of musicians, including James Blunt, The Kinks and Razorlight.

Blunt - who is currently at number one in the singles chart with Beautiful - said: "There's such a history of live music in England, which seems so essential for the whole music scene."

Carl Dalemo of Razorlight added: "I cannot stress enough the importance of the early gigs to our 'rise to fame'.

"Apart from rehearsing almost every day, it was the first gigs in pubs, squats and small venues that made us become the band we are today."

Musicians attack licensing laws
04 Jul 03 |  Entertainment

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