Mounting anger over live music venue closures

The Luminaire, one of London’s best-loved live music venues, closed its doors 31st December 2010 providing further evidence that the small gig scene is struggling.

Venues that have closed include Jilly’s Rockworld and the Music Box in Manchester, Sawyers in Kettering, Northamptonshire, and The Cellars at Eastney, a small Portsmouth pub being sold by Enterprise Inns because it is not making enough money.

The Barfly in Cardiff has hosted its last band. Hundreds of pubs hosting music, have also closed recently.

Blame has long rested on Licensing Act 2003, which enforces every venue no matter whether they’re the Albert Hall or the Dog & Duck go through a licensing process which many have regarded, since it was introduced, as over-complicated and too expensive. UK Music Today, music trade organisation, have condemned the government for failure to liberate small live music venues.

Horace Trubridge, assistant general secretary of the Musicians Union, said that although large venues such as the O2 were thriving, smaller-scale pubs and clubs were feeling the pinch. “People are worried about their jobs, and paying for live music is in danger of being seen as something of a luxury. At a grassroots level things aren’t as good as they were a few years ago, and it is set to get a lot worse.”

A live music exemption for small venues would throw a lifeline to struggling business, he said. “In the past 10 years there has been a realisation you can’t make money from recorded music, but you can make a living from playing live.

“But now bands are struggling to get into the area because there are fewer venues. Agents and promoters are more wary of putting new bands and unsigned acts on their bills.”

A Facebook group has sprung up, aiming to highlight the scale of this problem, more info: Save Our Live Music Venues.

[read the full Guardian article]

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