Organising a live music event – what are the legal implications?

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Organising a live music event – what are the legal implications?

Live music accounts for almost one-quarter of the music industry’s £4.5 billion contributions to the UK economy. Not only does it consistently contribute to the night-time economy, but live music at festivals can also bring huge benefits to the host region. A recent report by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS Committee) found that a 5,000 capacity festival can generate approximately £800,000 in net gain to the local area, while a 110,000 capacity festival can generate £18 million for the local area. It is reported that for every £10 spent on a ticket in a grassroots music venue, £17 is spent on food and drinks bringing profits to restaurants and other local venues.

However, the report also identifies that ticket resale platforms, music venue closures, changes to music education, and funding for musicians are concerns for the live music industry. Given the growing challenges faced by festival organisers, venue owners, and artists, it is more important than ever to have clear and firm legal arrangements in place when holding a live music event.

Key Legal Tips for Organising a Live Music Event

Whether you are a festival organiser, venue owner, or a performing artist, you will want to focus fully on the show and not be distracted or worried by legal complications. Our key tips for those thinking about organising an event, in light of the DCMS Committee’s comments, are:

  • Make sure that your agreement includes provisions that clearly set out the position in the event of a cancellation – it is advisable to ensure the event can only be cancelled in the appropriate circumstances, and that risk of losses, refunds and compensation are fairly apportioned
  • Make sure you understand the venue’s licence before organising a show – rapper ShaoDow had his show cancelled after the venue told him that they are not able to host a rap show (despite the parties previous agreement)
  • Make sure that your agreement is clear and that the principal terms are known to both parties – do not sign something that you do not fully understand
  • Most importantly, do not enter into verbal arrangements without these being followed up by a written agreement – make sure everything is documented.

These are a few easy steps you can take to safeguard against unintended consequences when organising live music events. We can provide the legal support necessary to ensure your event is successful. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Acuity Creative Team for an initial chat.

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