There’s a feeling in the air at the moment, just a hint of a feeling that things are starting to move in the right direction again for live music, that for the first time in years there’s wind in the industry’s sails, with quality festivals like Beacons and ATP completely selling out and guitar bands beginning to feature prominently in award shortlists once again. Yesterday we came across some breaking news from the government which is going to help this gradual movement in the right direction gather pace.
Passed in parliament on Monday morning, the Live Music Act will allow businesses to host live music performances both amplified and acoustic between the hours of 8am and 11pm (provided the number of punters in attendance is under 200) without having to cope with the bureaucratic wranglings and inhibiting expense of obtaining a license. A few stipulations remain in place involving health and safety, but what this essentially means is that one of the most daunting obstacles facing organisers of underground live music events has been torn down, transforming what was once an ocean of red tape into a land of opportunity.
In real terms, what this will mean for gig-goers nationwide is more gigs in smaller pubs, art spaces, on boats, in barns, town halls, wherever people are imaginative enough to think of. York specifically can look forward to more events in the mould of the hugely popular Wrong Side Of The River gigs held at Bar Lane Studios over the past year or so.
We’re about to find out how creative our city’s music scene really is. If what we managed over the last decade under sternly enforced licensing laws (generally with immense difficulty or of dubious legality) is anything to go by , that’s cause for excitement.