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Date revealed for 2024 LIVE Awards

The 2024 LIVE Awards will take place on Wednesday 11 December at Troxy in East London, it has been confirmed.

The third annual event will welcome more than 600 guests from across the live music sector including promoters, venues, agents, festivals and artist managers.

Nominations, which can be submitted online will open on 8 July and close on 11 October. Shortlists for each category, which will be chosen by a panel of industry experts, will then be announced on 21 October.

Tables and individual seats for the awards are now available and include a drinks reception, dinner with wine and petit fours, three hours of complimentary drinks, and an afterparty.

UK-based ticketing company Skiddle has been announced as The LIVE Awards new headline sponsor, joining the event’s other primary sponsors Ticketmaster, PRS for Music, PPL and Equals Money.

“We are delighted to demonstrate our ongoing support for live music by becoming the headline sponsor and official ticketing partner of these important awards, which celebrate and recognise the individuals and companies doing amazing things across our sector,” says Duncan King, Skiddle’s head of festivals and partnerships.

“We will be recognising some of the biggest and most influential names in live music”

LIVE (Live music Industry Venues & Entertainment) is the voice of the UK’s live music and entertainment business, representing a federation of 16 live music industry associations.

“This year we will be taking The LIVE Awards to a new level with our production partners, who include LS Events, Universal Pixels, Lighthouse and James Wilson Events, building on the success of previous years,” adds Gaby Cartwright, head of partnerships for LIVE and The LIVE Awards. “We will be recognising some of the biggest and most influential names in live music and of course celebrating achievements from across the sector during the preceding 12 months.

“We are also really pleased to welcome Skiddle as our headline sponsors and ticketing partners this year. They are passionate advocates for live music and theirs and our other four primary partner’s support is much appreciated.”

As LIVE’s primary annual fundraising event, all proceeds from the awards will go towards directly supporting the trade body’s ongoing work engaging government on a range of sector issues, as well as supporting members to meet their sustainability goals while fostering a more diverse, equitable and inclusive working environment.

A limited amount of sponsorship opportunities are still available for this year’s LIVE Awards. Interested parties should contact Gaby Cartwright on [email protected] for more information.

Tickets for the LIVE Awards 2024 can be purchased here.

 


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LIVE report identifies UK freelancers’ concerns

UK trade body LIVE (Live music Industry Venues & Entertainment) has revealed the findings of a comprehensive survey of freelance professionals working in the UK live music sector.

In partnership with Handle Freelance Solutions, The Back Lounge and UK Live Event Freelancers Forum, Powered by Freelancers – The Live Music Edition 2024 was commissioned to help understand and identify the changes required to improve the experiences of freelancers.

A total of 1,281 live music freelancers contributed to the survey, with 87% of respondents stating that “freelance work provides my primary income.”

“Freelancers are crucial to the success of the live music ecosystem and our industry relies on them to deliver unforgettable experiences for fans,. That is why LIVE was delighted to partner with Handle Freelance Solutions, The Back Lounge and UK Live Event Freelancers Forum to produce this groundbreaking report, the first of its kind, and in doing so deliver invaluable insight into the freelance experience,” says Jon Collins CEO of LIVE, which represents 16 live music industry organisations.

“Much in the report is great to see, not least the resoundingly positive response from people when asked if ours is a great industry to be in. Of course, reports like this will always highlight opportunities for improvement and we will be taking all of these learnings and funnelling them into the work of our LIVE Workforce group, where industry experts alongside ED&I and workforce specialists work towards objectives that positively impact the current and future workforce of our industry.”

“The research mirrors the conversations that we have daily”

The report identifies a core positivity but with key concerns and suggestions for improvement. A key finding was that 73% of respondents agreed that live music is a great industry for freelancers to work in, with over 60% feeling ‘optimistic’ about the next 12 months. However, the report also highlights areas where changes are required to improve the experience of freelancers, including financial security, better pay, flexibility and work-life balance.

In addition, 59% of respondents agreed that enough freelance jobs were available, but 56% said that they found it difficult to access or secure those roles. This also raised issues among younger people and non-male respondents with some expressing less optimism about job security and more difficulty finding work.

“The research mirrors the conversations that we have daily,” says Darren Woolnough, MD at Handle Freelance Solutions said. “It highlights a significant concern where late payments and a lack of formal contracts can often be normalised within the freelance community. Instead of pointing fingers, our commitment is to provide the guidance and solutions to help companies understand how they can deliver an exceptional freelancer experience and this research is invaluable to helping us do exactly that.”

The cancellation of work by event organisers at short notice also emerged as a key concern. With less than half of respondents (49%) having signed contracts in the last 12 months before agreeing roles, a similar percentage have experienced cancellation of work in the same period with 48% having jobs cancelled with less than one week’s notice.

“We now have an invaluable temperature check of where we as an industry, powered predominantly by freelancers, are at, right now”

“Having worked on this since July last year when the idea came to life, I feel both privileged and very proud to be part of an amazing team who have given their all to dive deep into the freelance world and then see the remarkable responses,” Paul Jones, director of event production specialist Ethix Management.

“Taking this survey data forward to help professional freelancers in the live sector become better supported is now one of the priorities. Having previewed to audiences, we have seen some very positive reactions and hope they become a main topic of conversation on improving an industry that so many are incredibly passionate about.”

A link to the full report can be found here.

“Thanks to everyone who took the time to fill in the survey, we now have an invaluable temperature check of where we as an industry, powered predominantly by freelancers, are at, right now,” adds Suzi Green, founder of The Back Lounge. “Hopefully it will spark conversations, provoke reactions, and ultimately help influence positive change in some of the areas where change is much needed.”

 


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LIVE hires Ross Patel as green impact consultant

UK live music business trade body LIVE (Live music Industry Venues & Entertainment) has announced the appointment of Ross Patel as its first green impact consultant.

The Whole Entertainment co-founder and CEO, who joined the Music Managers Forum as a board member in 2021 to help advocate for climate action, will be tasked with leading the initiatives of LIVE Green, the organisation’s expert group on sustainability issues.

Patel will be responsible for facilitating cooperation across the organisation’s membership, while ensuring knowledge sharing and support can be provided to help sector-wide efforts. They will work closely in their new role with LIVE CEO Jon Collins.

“We have worked with Ross for some time now in various capacities and have always been impressed with their energy, knowledge and commitment to sustainability issues,” says Collins. “This new role will see Ross leading and further amplifying the work of LIVE Green and helping us in our mission to green the live music sector as quickly, fairly and effectively as possible.”

“I’m excited to continue the work I’ve been doing on sustainable touring and green clauses for live booking contracts, now in a formal capacity”

Patel is also chief strategy officer at UMA Entertainment Group, whose projects include EarthAid Live and HERO The App and who oversaw the curation of the 2201 UMA x COP26 event in Glasgow.

In addition, they co-founded and held the position of operations director at London based creative marketing agency, Sweetshop Media, whose clients include Nokia, Oppo, Ellesse, Bondly/Forj, and Sam Branson.

“My role as an MMF board member and representative within the LIVE Green group has very fortunately given me the opportunity to work closely with the brilliant LIVE team over the past couple of years,” adds Patel. “I’m excited to continue the work I’ve been doing on sustainable touring and green clauses for live booking contracts, now in a formal capacity.”

A range of industry figures recently shared their sustainability priorities for the live music business to mark Earth Day 2024.

 


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CMS calls for ticket levy for grassroots venues

The Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) Committee has backed calls for a new arena and stadium ticket levy, plus tax relief, to safeguard UK’s grassroots music venues (GMVs).

The recommendations feature in a new report from the cross-party committee, which launched the inquiry at the Music Venue Trust’s (MVT) Venues Day in October 2023 and heard about the “cost of touring crisis” facing the sector, against a backdrop of small venues closing at a rate of two per week.

It says that a voluntary levy on arena and stadium concert tickets – as lobbied for by the MVT – would be the most feasible way to have an immediate impact on the business, creating a support fund for venues, artists and promoters, administered by a trust led by a sector umbrella body, and is appealing for the industry to ensure the levy cost is not passed on to music fans. In addition, it is calling for a temporary VAT cut based on venue capacity.

The conclusions have been warmly welcomed by bodies including the MVT, along with trade bodies LIVE (Live music Industry Venues & Entertainment), UK Music, the Music Managers Forum (MMF) and Featured Artists Coalition (FAC).

“These recommendations provide a clear pathway forward to a positive future for the UK’s grassroots music venues, a set of actions that are deliverable, affordable, and will genuinely have a positive impact on live music in communities right across the country,” says MVT CEO Mark Davyd. “We look forward to working with the music industry and with the government to deliver on these recommendations as swiftly as possible.”

Davyd owns Tunbridge Wells Forum in Kent, which recently pledged to become the first venue in the UK to introduce a grassroots ticket levy. Throughout this month, £1 from every ticket sold will be donated to the Music Venue Trust’s (MVT) Pipeline Fund at no additional expense to customers.

The MVT has described 2023 as the most challenging year for the sector since the trust was founded in 2014, as the number of GMVs falling from 960 to 835.

“It’s clear that the committee has recognised the many challenges faced by venues, promoters, events and artists at the grassroots level, and the steps required to address them”

“We would like to thank all the thousands of music fans that have supported our work across the last 10 years,” adds Davyd. “It has taken much longer than any of us would have liked to get the positive change we all wanted to see, but we could not have achieved this fantastic outcome without your continued support for your local live music venue.”

If there is no agreement by September, or if it fails to collect enough income to support the sector, the report says the government should step in an introduce a statutory levy.

“It’s clear that the committee has recognised the many challenges faced by venues, promoters, events and artists at the grassroots level, and the steps required to address them,” says LIVE CEO Jon Collins. “LIVE set out to the committee the actions we believe that the government needs to take to help unleash the economic potential of the sector, such as a reduction in the damaging and uncompetitive rate of VAT on tickets, as well as the actions that sit with us as an industry, notably the creation of a charitable arm, the LIVE Trust.

“We are pleased that the committee’s report addresses both of these matters positively and has entrusted our sector to implement the industry-led solution of a voluntary levy on arena and stadium tickets, gathering and distributing funding that will benefit the whole grassroots music ecosystem. We look forward to working with government on the review of VAT and regularly updating on our progress on the LIVE Trust.”

“Grassroots music venues are a crucial part of the music industry’s ecosystem and have been faced with a series of unprecedented threats for a number of years,” adds UK Music interim chief executive Tom Kiehl. “We welcome the House of Commons CMS Committee taking the opportunity to consider the challenges these venues and the artists that tour in them face.”

Artists and managers previously spoke out in favour of the MVT’s calls for a compulsory £1 levy on tickets sold for UK live music events above 5,000-cap during evidence sessions held in March.

“As the organisations representing artists and managers, we wholeheartedly endorse all the committee’s recommendations,” says a joint statement by FAC CEO David Martin and MMF chief executive Annabella Coldrick. “Most important is their recognition of the ‘cost of touring crisis’, and that the benefits of a ticket levy must flow down to artists, managers, and independent promoters – as well as to grassroots music venues. The entire ecosystem needs support. While we still believe this mechanism should be mandatory, the clock is now ticking to get a process in place before September 2024.”

“The ongoing wave of closures is not just a disaster for music, performers and supporters in local communities up and down the country, but also puts at risk the entire live music ecosystem”

Among the report’s other recommendations are for the government and Arts Council to make it easier for the live music sector to apply for public funding and for stakeholders across the industry to continue to support the FAC’s campaign to end punitive fees on artists’ merchandise.

“We are also delighted to see the committee endorse the 100% Venues campaign, and hope this will trigger action from the UK’s largest live music venues to overhaul outdated practices on merchandise commissions,” continue Martin and Coldrick. “The sale of T-shirts, vinyl and other physical products represent a crucial income stream for artists. It is only fair that they should retain the bulk of that revenue.”

In closing, the report also calls for a comprehensive fan-led review to be set be set up this summer to examine the long-term challenges to the wider live music ecosystem.

“We are grateful to the many dedicated local venues who gave up their time to take part in our inquiry,” says Dame Caroline Dinenage MP, chair of the CMS Committee. “They delivered the message loud and clear that grassroots music venues are in crisis. The ongoing wave of closures is not just a disaster for music, performers and supporters in local communities up and down the country, but also puts at risk the entire live music ecosystem.

“If the grassroots, where musicians, technicians, tour managers and promoters hone their craft, are allowed to wither and die, the UK’s position as a music powerhouse faces a bleak future. To stem the overwhelming ongoing tide of closures, we urgently need a levy on arena and stadium concert tickets to fund financial support for the sector, alongside a VAT cut to help get more shows into venues.

“While the current focus is on the many grassroots music venues falling silent, those working in the live music sector across the board are also under extraordinary strain. It is time that the government brought together everyone with a stake in the industry’s success, including music fans, to address the long-term challenges and ensure live music can thrive into the future.”

 


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Safer Crowds, Safer Venues rolls out in UK

A group of live music-related associations has unveiled a comprehensive best practice guide for crowd management in smaller performance spaces and licensed venues across the United Kingdom.

In response to incidents that have resulted in loss of life or serious injury at events, the UK Crowd Management Association (UKCMA), Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), LIVE, and UK Door Security Association have been working alongside experts and key stakeholders from the industry to publish the Safer Crowds, Safer Venues guidance.

The initiative aims to provide the operators of venues below arena size, event organisers, and their stakeholders with a general outline of accepted good practice in crowd management, filling a crucial gap in safety protocols for the smaller venue circuit.

The guide – a culmination of insights from experienced individuals within the industry – offers valuable perspectives tailored to ensure the safety, security, and optimal experience of attendees, as well as looking after the welfare of the staff working on events in the venues that host them.

“This guide represents a milestone in our collective efforts to prioritise safety and well-being in performance and licensed spaces.”

“The tragic incidents in recent years underscore the critical need for standardised and effective crowd management practices,” says Anne Marie Chebib, spokesperson for the UKCMA. “This guide represents a milestone in our collective efforts to prioritise safety and well-being in performance and licensed spaces.”

The 76-page guide is available as a free download from the safercrowdssafervenues.com website. It addresses various aspects of crowd management, including risk assessment, planning processes, stakeholder engagement, and considerations for different types of venues and events. It emphasises the importance of proactive measures and diligent planning to mitigate potential risks, recognising that strategies may vary depending on the nature of the event and venue.

“While this document serves as a valuable resource, it is important to recognise that it does not replace regulatory tools or official guidance,” notes Michael Kill of the NTIA. “Instead, it complements existing frameworks by offering practical insights and recommendations based on industry expertise.”

The guide encompasses a wide range of indoor venues, including concert halls, theatres, nightclubs, bars, pubs, restaurants, and comedy clubs hosting cultural and entertainment events. However, it excludes arenas over 5,000 seated capacity, outdoor events, and sports grounds, which are covered by separate guidelines.

“By adhering to the principles outlined in this guide, operators can ensure the safety of patrons and staff…”

“Effective crowd management is fundamental to the success and sustainability of any venue or event,” said Eric Stuart, former chair of the UKCMA. “By adhering to the principles outlined in this guide, operators can ensure the safety of patrons and staff while fostering a vibrant and inclusive atmosphere.”

The publication of Safer Crowds, Safer Venues marks an important step forward in enhancing safety standards across the UK’s entertainment and hospitality sectors. But while it provides valuable insights, users are also encouraged to seek legal advice and consider statutory duties in conjunction with the guidance provided.

Jon Collins CEO of LIVE adds, “At the heart of every venue is the promise of unforgettable experiences, a commitment to the joy and safety of every individual who walks through its doors. The launch of Safer Crowds, Safer Venues offers timely support in the vitally important area of crowd management to those small and medium size venues previously underserved in this area. Its content, prepared by a team of dedicated and expert volunteers, will underpin the delivery of safer events across the UK. LIVE commends this work and the contributions made by UKCMA and NTIA.”

 


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LIVE rues budget’s ‘missed opportunity’ on VAT cut

UK live music trade body LIVE has described Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s latest budget as “another missed opportunity” after calls for a reduced VAT rate on ticket sales went unheeded once again.

Hunt did announce, however, that orchestra tax relief (OTR) would become permanent at a rate of 45%.

The current temporary 50% rate of OTR was due to taper down from April 2025 and drop eventually to its original rate of 25%. A theatre tax relief rate of 40% (and 45% for touring productions) will also remain.

“LIVE welcomes the Chancellor’s announcement that the tax reliefs for orchestras and theatres will be made permanent,” says LIVE CEO Jon Collins. “However, today’s Budget represents yet another missed opportunity to accelerate the growth of the live music sector and the wider economy while also providing urgently needed support for grassroots music through the reintroduction of a lower VAT rate.

“20% VAT on tickets in the UK is vastly out of step with our competitors in Europe and North America and has become a material factor limiting the number of gigs, tours and festivals our world class industry can put on.

“Fewer shows mean reduced economic activity in towns and cities across the country – an estimated £1m is spent in local businesses for every 10,000 people who attend a gig – and heaps further pressure onto grassroots music venues that are closing down at an alarming rate. We need urgent action to ensure the whole sector can prosper in the long term.”

Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) chief John Rostron also laments a lack of support for the sector, despite a spate of recent cancellations.

“We’re disappointed that our calls for support for the UK music festival sector have not been met”

“We’re disappointed that our calls for support for the UK music festival sector have not been met,” says Rostron. “Festivals need a temporary reduction in VAT on ticket sales from 20% to 5% in order to recover from the impact of Covid and Brexit, which has created a credit crunch that is seeing successful festivals having to postpone or cancel this year months before their events are due to take place.

“Yet another festival fell yesterday – the 15th event to fall already in 2024. Theatre has made the case for tax relief, which is being extended indefinitely. We urge the Chancellor and the Treasury to now turn to festivals and offer a fraction of that support to ensure more events do not make 2024 their last.”

UK Music interim CEO Tom Kiehl also welcomes the move to make OTR permanent.

“I welcome that the Chancellor has listened to industry calls to put in place extensions to the orchestras tax relief on a permanent basis,” he says.

“The government should use this opportunity to clarify our further calls as to whether touring choirs and other singing groups are also eligible for this important relief.

“We welcome the indirect benefit to music of the introduction other creative sector tax reliefs and seek further government consideration for the introduction of a tax credit to encourage new UK music production.”

Introduced in 2016, OTR is aimed at supporting live orchestral performances. The headline rate was rate uplifted to 50% in 2021 in the wake of Covid and was extended in 2023 for a further two years until April 2025.

The Musicians’ Union and the Association of British Orchestras were among the groups that had called to make the relief permanent.

 


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Phil Bowdery wins top honour at LIVE Awards 2023

Legendary promoter Phil Bowdery was honoured with the LIVEtime Achievement Award at last night’s (12 December) LIVE Awards in London, attended by 600 live music professionals from the UK business.

Tom Jones, Stevie Wonder, Dame Shirley Bassey and Michael Ball were among the superstars who paid tribute to the Live Nation stalwart during the ceremony at Troxy.

“I keep thinking it’s a bit early for me to receive a lifetime achievement award but then I remember that it was over 50 years ago since I went on the road,” said Bowdery during his acceptance speech. “It’s then that I realise it’s the memory that is going, nothing else.

“I’ve been really blessed throughout these years to work with incredible artists, without whom none of us would be here. [Plus] great managers, agents, tour managers, production managers, crew and everyone who makes the show happen every night. There have been some bad times but of course, they are far outweighed by some incredible highs and experiences.”

Bowdery went on to thank his team at Live Nation, as well as his colleagues at the Concert Promoter’s Association (CPA), which he chairs.

“I’ve been really blessed throughout these years to work with incredible artists, without whom none of us would be here”

“Looking back on those dark days of 2021/2022,” he said. “The CPA had long days and nights on endless zooms trying to make a difference. It was a lack of support from those in power that really focused us on trying to make some changes.

“We had lots of conversations with Greg Parmley [ILMC] and Stuart Galbraith [Kilimanjaro Live] and from those LIVE was conceived. Bringing together all the associated industry bodies in one forum was a dream. We spent many hours on the phone with the begging bowl and trying to get enough money together to get the ball rolling and so to be here tonight at the secondary LIVE awards, with so many people in attendance, gives me an incredible feeling of pride and satisfaction knowing that it is now recognised as our industry’s voice.”

Other award winners included The O2 for the LIVE Green Award, Live Nation for the National Promoter of the Year Award and The Boileroom in Guildford for the Grassroots Champion Award.

Char Goodfellow from The Boileroom accepted the award flanked by other small venue operators and Music Venue Trust team members who wore or held t-shirts commemorating Bath Moles, a 45-year-old venue that closed last week due to rising costs.

The silent demonstration was a bid to raise awareness about the increasing number of grassroots venues that are closing down.

“If this award is to represent anything, it is the value and imprint that grassroots venues stamp on every form of life”

“If this award is to represent anything, it is the value and imprint that grassroots venues stamp on every form of life,” Goodfellow said. “Every venue is deserving of this award considering all of our circumstances so we’re honoured to receive this. It’s a tough time out here for grassroots spaces.”

“The LIVE Awards has become an important moment in the industry calendar as the only chance everyone gets to take a step back and celebrate what’s been achieved each year,” said Jon Collins, CEO of LIVE.

“We know that this has been a tough time for many given the cost and complexity of touring, pressure on festival margins and grassroots venues taken to the brink. LIVE will continue to fight for positive change while taking this moment to celebrate the incredible achievements of so many in our sector.”

The full list of award winners are:

The LIVE Green Award: The O2
The LIVE Workforce Award: PRS Foundation x Keychange
Grassroots Champion: The Boileroom, Guildford
Ticketing Service 2023: Ticketmaster
Festival of the Year: Deer Shed Festival
Production Supplier 2023: Neg Earth Lights
Regional Promoter of the Year: JOY. Concerts
Booking Agency of the Year (<21 Team Members): Pure Represents
Major Festival of the Year: TRNSMT
Festival Brand Partnership 2023: Sky VIP lounges
Road Warrior of the Year: Trevor Williams
Venue of the Year: KOKO, London
National Promoter of the Year: Live Nation
Booking Agency of the Year (>21 Team Members): Wasserman Music
The LIVEtime Achievement Award: Phil Bowdery

 


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LIVE, MVT respond to chancellor’s Autumn Statement

UK live music organisations have welcomed the extension to business rates relief for grassroots venues announced by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt as  part of his Autumn Statement.

Relief was extended from 50% to 75% from 1 April this year, and Hunt confirmed today that the scheme would run for a further 12 months.

Jon Collins, CEO of trade body LIVE, the voice of the UK’s live music and entertainment business, has spoken out in favour of the move, saying it is both “pivotal” for the grassroots circuit and addresses a “core ask” of the recently published LIVE Music Manifesto 2023.

“LIVE welcomes the extension of the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure relief scheme for another year in today’s Autumn Statement,” he says. The UK’s live music industry is an engine of growth, generating £5.2 billion in 2022 and employing over 228,000 people last year, with a gig held every four minutes. However, grassroots venues have been operating on a knife edge so it’s crucial that government continues to support this critical part of our sector with the right reliefs and funding mechanisms.

“The government is committed to supporting growth and innovation across the creative industries. The extension of business rates relief will be pivotal for those grassroots venues that are responsible for so much of the R&D in the live music sector.”

The Music Venue Trust (MVT), which works on behalf of over 900 venues across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, also backed the development.

“It was essential to keep this relief in place and we are pleased that our presentations to Treasury were listened to and acknowledged by this outcome”

“The potential cancellation of this relief presented the possibility of an additional £15 million in pre-profit taxation falling onto a grassroots sector suffering a severe crisis; over 100 venues have already closed in the last 12 months,” says MVT CEO Mark Davyd. “It was essential to keep this relief in place and we are pleased that our presentations to Treasury were listened to and acknowledged by this outcome.

“We hope that this further extension into 2025 for this relief will provide the necessary window of opportunity for the government to complete the full review of Business Rates on Grassroots Music Venues, which it committed to in January 2019.”

Davyd notes that the Chancellor’s statement also included the announcement of a significant uplift to minimum wage.

“The grassroots sector is notoriously undervalued and underpaid, from the artists performing through all levels of roles and staffing, up to and including the venue operators themselves,” he says. “In 2022, the average grassroots music venue operator paid themselves £20,400 per annum, delivering 66 hours of work per week at a rate of £6.43 per hour. An uplift to fees and wages across the sector is long overdue.

“We look forward to working with the Chancellor, HM Treasury and DCMS to identify the necessary funding which can deliver this statutory increase to minimum wage and extend the scope and scale of it so that everyone in the grassroots sector can be adequately rewarded for their work.”

Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) CEO John Rostron adds: “We support measures announced in the chancellor’s Autumn Statement that will help businesses in the broader grassroots music sector, such as the freeze on business rates.

”But, as far as independent festivals are concerned, what is urgently needed is the lowering of VAT to 5% on ticket sales. We will continue conversations with the government towards that end.”

 


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LIVE urges government to revise ‘Martyn’s Law’

UK trade body LIVE is calling on the government to revise anti-terror measures for venues after proposed legislation was included in the King’s Speech.

In his first address to both Houses of Parliament since becoming monarch, King Charles yesterday (7 November) outlined the laws government ministers intended to pass in the year ahead, including to “protect public premises from terrorism in light of the Manchester Arena attack”.

The Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill – also known as Protect Duty – has been dubbed ‘Martyn’s Law’ in tribute of Martyn Hett, who was killed alongside 21 others in the bombing following an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena on 22 May 2017.

It will require venues to take steps to improve public safety, with measures dependent on the size of the venue and the activity taking place. Penalties for non-compliance would range from fines to permanent closure and criminal sanctions.

However, following pre-legislative scrutiny of the bill earlier this year, the Home Affairs Committee warned that it would “place a significant and disproportionate burden on smaller venues” in its current form, while “failing to ensure adequate safety measures at all public events at risk of terror attacks”.

LIVE, the voice of the UK’s live music and entertainment business, argues the draft legislation has been “rushed through the pre-legislative scrutiny stage and lacks any thorough impact assessment, which risks leaving the bill in a sub-optimal state. Not least in the treatment of grey space in public areas outside of venues and events”.

“The live music sector fully supports cooperative efforts to make venues as safe as possible for fans,” says LIVE CEO Jon Collins. “Venues and festivals throughout the country are already working extensively with relevant authorities and continuously review security arrangements.

“Government must urgently redesign the bill to ensure it is workable, places no disproportionate burdens on venues”

“We share the assessment of the Home Affairs Committee which identified serious concerns about the proportionality of the bill and a range of unfinished provisions. The committee’s report vindicated our members’ view that the draft bill is impractical, misses its core aim, and, through the excessive penalties it proposes, would create existential risk for live music venues.

“Government must urgently redesign the bill to ensure it is workable, places no disproportionate burdens on venues and crucially delivers greater reassurance and safety for concertgoers.

“We will continue to engage with government and parliamentarians to ensure the bill is appropriately revised and strengthened as it goes through parliament.”

Under the current plans, a standard tier will apply to locations with a maximum capacity of over 100. This will include training, information sharing and completion of a preparedness plan to embed practices, such as locking doors to delay attackers’ progress or knowledge on lifesaving treatments that can be administered by staff while awaiting emergency services.

Locations with a capacity of over 800 people will additionally be required to undertake a risk assessment to inform the development and implementation of a thorough security plan. Subsequent measures could include developing a vigilance and security culture, implementation of physical measures like CCTV or new systems and processes to enable better consideration of security.

The Manchester Arena Inquiry, led by chairman Sir John Saunders, published the final of three reports about the bombing earlier this year, concluding that security services missed a “significant” opportunity to take action that could have prevented the attack.

The second inquiry into the attack, published in November 2022, made a series of recommendations for events after identifying numerous failings by the emergency services, while the first report, published in June 2021, which found there were multiple “missed opportunities” to prevent or minimise the impact of the bombing.

 


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LIVE appoints radio DJ Steve Lamacq as chair

UK trade body LIVE has appointed radio DJ and live music advocate Steve Lamacq as its new chair.

Lamacq has been a mainstay of BBC Radio programming for over 25 years as co-presenter of The Evening Session on Radio 1 before moving to host 6 Music.

Having stepped back from presenting his drive-time show full-time after 18 years, Lamacq has “decided to steer his career in a new direction in an effort to promote, support and define the live music industry for generations to come”.

Also joining LIVE, as co-opted directors, are Charisse Beaumont of Black Lives in Music, Christine Osazuwa of Shoobs and Lucy Noble of AEG Presents.

The appointments come as LIVE welcomes its 16th member, the Musicians’ Union (The MU). Kelly Wood, National Organiser for Live Performance, will also join LIVE’s board on behalf of the MU’s community of over 33,000 musicians.

“The UK’s live music industry is world-class but faces obstacles in realising its true potential,” says Jon Collins, CEO of LIVE. “With a sector value of over £5.2 billion, the industry is one of our greatest, and most prized cultural exports.

“It is a terrific opportunity to be a part of the future of live music in this country”

“We are proud to support the entirety of the live music ecosystem and represent their interests and the appointment of music legend Steve Lamacq, The MU’s Kelly Wood, Charisse Beaumont, Christine Osazuwa and Lucy Noble to LIVE’s board will enable us to further extend the work we’re doing. Steve will bring to LIVE unrivalled recognition of the power of the UK’s live music industry along with the challenges it faces. We are honoured to have such notable industry figures sitting on our board who will be key to enabling our enviable live music industry to thrive.”

Lamacq, adds: “I am absolutely thrilled to have been offered the chance to work with an organisation which is right at the centre of live music in the UK. As someone whose life has been indelibly shaped by the gigs that I’ve seen, it is a terrific opportunity to be a part of the future of live music in this country, and to be given the responsibility for helping promote, support and define it for generations to come.

“It has been a very difficult time for everyone involved in live music in recent years, with Brexit, the pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis, rising energy bills for venues and many other challenges, which have affected everyone at all levels of the live music ecosystem. With that in mind there are many things we need to address whilst also looking forward to forging a more sustainable and inclusive industry.

“LIVE has already achieved a great deal through a number of important campaigns and I am excited about what we can achieve in the future. It will be a privilege to represent those across the entire spectrum of our sector.”

Kelly Wood, National Organiser for Live Performance at The MU, said, “This is a positive move for the sector and we are excited to join the LIVE board. Joining such a forward-thinking and dynamic organisation, whose priorities are closely aligned with our own will be critical to the industry. I hope that The MU’s presence on the LIVE board brings a new perspective and together with LIVE’s other member organisations, we will reinforce lobbying efforts and hold the Government to account to ensure the dynamism and potential of the sector is unleashed. This will better equip us to support our members working at all levels of the live sector, in terms of their local, national and international tours.”

 


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