Ken Livingstone launches live music proposals for London

Natalie Woolman

Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone has announced plans to create a London-wide music festival and protect live music venues through the Mayor’s planning strategy, if he is elected.

Livingstone, who was replaced by Boris Johnson as Mayor of London in 2008, set out his proposals today in his Ken4Music policy document.

The plans, which state that protecting live music venues would be incorporated into the London Plan for the first time, also propose creating a forum to facilitate improved communication between the music industry, local councils and the mayor.

Livingstone has proposed a London Music Festival along the lines of Austin’s South by Southwest festival in Texas. The London event would include major venues, pub back-room gigs and street performances, a forum where aspiring musicians can learn to play and an opportunity for the industry to come together.

Livingstone also said he would like to see licensing regulations for London brought under the jurisdiction of the Mayor’s office.

He said: “If we have got a licensing system designed for the whole country it is not a particularly good idea for London and it would be much better if London was able to do things in its own way.

“I think the mayor should be the licensing authority for London and appoint people because I feel absolutely certain that the average age, ethnicity and the sexual orientation of the licensing authorities will not reflect London’s diversity.”

However, he acknowledged this change would be “very difficult” to achieve as it would require primary legislation from central government.

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