Small-scale live music events are adversely affected by new licensing laws, according to an independent review from the Live Music Forum.

Fronted by Fergal Sharkey, the forum's report on the state of live music in Britain found that some events have been cancelled or had unnecessary conditions put upon them due to government restrictions.

The forum was tasked with looking at how the Licensing Act had affected live music venues in Britain and overall the report concluded it had a neutral effect.

Undertones frontman Sharkey said: "The UK's live music scene is a massive success - just look at the growth in summer music festivals and the speed at which events sell out.

"But the government needs to do more to help grass roots musicians and particularly small venues.

"That small acoustic gig does not impact on crime, disorder or public safety so should not fall under the remit of the licensing laws."

He added that a pub putting on a small acoustic show should not need a live music licence and that local councils could do more to help musicians.

"We think more can be done to encourage grass roots musicians such as creating more rehearsal rooms." Sharkey said. "Putting universities back on the live music circuit and creating a database of live venues."

Among the measures recommended in the report were defining small venue 'incidental music' and exempting small acoustic shows from needing a licence.

In addition it suggested that music venues should not be liable to pay for noise-related issues if new homes are built nearby and the developer should have to foot the bill.

Reacting to the report, licensing minister Gerry Sutcliffe said it raised "many interesting and challenging ideas".

"We will now look at each of the recommendations, discuss with stakeholders and will respond fully in due course," he added.

04/07/2007 13:51:41