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ET Licensing Bill Chance to protest (2) RE: Licensing Bill Chance to protest 16 Jan 06

Here are e-mails to the Times. Jamie Cullen is leading a protest by stanging an unlicensed event in the desire to be prosecuted!

Is the Licensing Act killing live music?
Until the Licensing Act came into force last November, venue owners did not require an entertainment licence for performances by only one or two musicians in a bar. Under new rules landlords must obtain a licence, costing up to 1,000, for any live performance. Jazz artist Jamie Cullum, who started out playing gigs in pubs and bars, is planning to stage an 'illegal' gig in protest. Are you with Jamie Cullum on this? Will the new laws kill live music? Read the article and send us your view using the form below

I fully support Jamie Cullum's action. There is no valid reason for the new Licensing Act to touch on live music at all; there is already plenty of existing legislation which covers health and safety, noise level, public disorder, etc. Live music has been singled out as needing special treatment under the Act, whereas other activities such as wide-screen TV and loud piped music have not. The folk music world in particular relies on the licensing trade and this Licensing Act is nothing more than a blow against our indigenous culture and a legal nightmare for local authorities. It is badly thought through and the reference to live music should be deleted from the Act as soon as possible. Gwilym Davies, Cheltenham
If musicians find fewer venues to play at then the quality of music will diminish. And people won't practise for hours if they can't make a living out of it. Music has been dumbed down enough owing to the media infatuation with celebrity. I've seen good musicians busking in the streets for pennies, then when I switch on the box I am greeted by talentless teenagers who can't dance, sing or play an instrument well. Many children today dismiss good music because they have not been taught to listen to it. It will be a sad state of affairs if the licensing laws make it worse for musicians. Jean Bennington, Prestatyn, Denbighshire

The law needs to be repealed. It does not matter if one, two or five people are playing, this law will stop people from learning to play an instrument, something that teaches discipline. Maybe ministers want more children hanging round street corners instead of making use of their talents. Simon Hunt, Manchester

As a solo flamenco guitarist I am certainly with Mr Cullen on this. This is just yet another stealth tax. Ted Robinson, Hull

Here we go again, our Government extracting payment from us in order to legislate over every aspect of our lives. Where is this 1,000 going? And what benefit can society expect to receive from this bureaucracy? When will this Government realise that we don't want or need them to do everything for us - the country would be far better off if they would treat us as adults. Dominic Graham de Montrose, London

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has conveniently forgotten that live music being is discriminated against. Wide-screen televisions do not need a licenses, but if televised football is not entertainment I do not know what is. The DCMS neglected to listen to reasonable requests from musicians to enable them to perform without the red tape associated with entertainment licensing. It has also neglected to think through their absurd 24-hour drinking regime - in terms of binge-drinking it is the equivalent of pouring petrol on flames. Chris Hodgkins, London

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