THE FACE of live music in Sheffield could be transformed, if a plan to relax licensing laws goes through this year.
Pubs across Sheffield may no longer need a licence for live performances as the government is trying to push through legislations which will make it easier for small venues to host live events,
Liberal Democrat Don Foster introduced the private member’s bill that will loosen up the bureaucracy imposed on venues by the 2003 Licensing Act, which means that venues have to pay for a licence to host music from the hours of 8am and 11pm.
But the new bill means this will no longer case. Pubs will not need a licence to host unamplified live music between 8am and 11pm, nor will they need a licence for amplified music between the same times with a maximum of 200 people.
It has already been passed unopposed but will have to go to the House of Lords before it becomes law.
Support for the proposed change in legislation has come from across the Sheffield music community.
Chris Wilson, one of Sheffield’s most established and respected music promoters - an accolade from many of those who have worked with him as well as Blues Matters magazine - said: “There’s some amazing artists out there that just don’t get the opportunity to play often enough because the well established live music venues can’t give them slots unless they can guarantee to bring coach loads of fans
“Anything that can be done to help those artists play in front of a live audience has to be good. I think one negative though is many people will be thinking hosting live music will be the saviour of their business, it probably won’t.”
Jon McClure, front man of Reverend and the Makers, said: “I think any gesture that supports grassroots music is a good thing. Every city need about 40 Chris Wilsons.”
Outside Sheffield Guy Garvey, lead singer of Elbow, has also backed the proposed bill, saying the problem was “more the bureaucracy than the price”, that was deterring pubs and small venues from staging music events.
The changes have the potential to change the face of Sheffield’s live music scene and offer more outlets for grass roots bands.