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Grassroots Music Venues and Pubs

Small venues in England and Wales can put on live music without a music licence thanks to the Live Music Act.

Last updated: 03 August 2021

Venues are covered under the terms of the Live Music Act if:

  • They are based in England or Wales
  • There is an existing alcohol licence
  • There are fewer than 500 people in the audience for amplified music. There is no audience limit for unamplified music.
  • The live music will not take place between the hours of 23.00 & 08.00

This is great for grassroots music, especially in pubs. A study by PRS for Music reports that bars putting on live music see an increase in ‘wet sales’ of 44% over the weekend, peaking at 60% on Friday and Saturday nights, and are on average three times less likely to close.

A live music programme can enhance a business and be a creative hub for a community. The Music Venue Trust advises on the legislative, practical and creative elements involved in hosting live music. For the artist performer the MU can provide advice on playing music in pubs, live performance contracts, health and safety issues, promotional advice and useful contacts. Our Fair Play Guide advises on fair ticket deals and we have a network of venues across the UK that support the principles of the Fair Play Guide.

Find a Fair Play Venue

Browse grassroots music venues where musicians can be sure of securing a fair deal.

Zigfrid Von Underbelly

Underbelly aims to offer original live acts to perform in the heart of Shoreditch / Hoxton in a 220 capacity sized venue 7 nights a week.

Shoreditch LB Hackney
Read more about Zigfrid Von Underbelly

Village Underground

We are a medium-sized venue in Shoreditch, we pride ourselves on programming artists from around the world and across different genres.

LB Hackney
Read more about Village Underground

Troubadour

The Troubadour is an historic, intimate venue offering emerging musicians a chance to showcase their burgeoning talent since opening in 1954.

Kensington and Chelsea The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Read more about Troubadour

Trades Club

The Trades Club is a 200 capacity music venue in the town of Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.

Hebden Bridge
Read more about Trades Club

Tower of Song

The Tower of Song features music to suit all tastes and each night of the week has a different theme.

Birmingham
Read more about Tower of Song

Toulouse Lautrec

Venue consists of two music rooms. Small to medium sized. Piano bar for jazz soloists and duos to provide subtle music for all types of guests.

Kennington
Read more about Toulouse Lautrec

Thekla

Medium city centre venue that was once a cargo ship. Originally opened in 1982 as an entertainment venue, it was also the canvas for an early Banksy.

Bristol
Read more about Thekla

The MU Fair Play Venue scheme

The Fair Play Venue scheme invites music venues to declare their support for the fair treatment of musicians and their opposition to pay-to-play and unfair ticketing deals by signing up to the Fair Play Scheme.

Browse Fair Play Venues

A venue may be considered a Fair Play Venue if it endorses the principles of our Fair Play Guide.

Fair Play Venues can be identified by the sticker displayed on the premises and can be found on our Fair Play Venue database.

If you would like to nominate a venue to be added to the Fair Play Venue database, email us at live@theMU.org

The MU Fair Play Venue scheme