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Ken Livingstone Launches London Live Music Plan
Luke Turner , August 11th, 2010 13:04

Venues will be protected if Mayoral bid is successful

Ken Livingstone this morning unveiled proposals to safeguard London's status as an international capital of live music. Livingstone, who is standing against Oona King for the Labour candidacy at the next Mayoral elections, proposes protecting venues from developers, a return of the free festival, and a week-long music expo based on Austin's SXSW.

Introducing himself at the Camden Electric Ballroom as "an unemployed 65-year-old in search of work", Livingstone praised London's live music scene. He said that it was an important social as well as cultural force, saying that music provided the opportunity for children who "perhaps don't succeed under the current education system, but had a real gift". Ken pledged that he would establish free festivals, similar to the Rise event cancelled by current Mayor Boris Johnson, pointing out that in London 40% of children live below the poverty line.

Ken's plans for London, including the protection of live music venues from the development and a UK SXSW equivalent, can be read here.

Ken also took questions from guests including tQ, Saint Etienne's Bob Stanley, and representatives of the music industry. On the controversial Form 696, which requires promoters to inform police as to what kind of audience they expect to attend their gigs, Ken said "no-one ever came to me when I was mayor and said there was this racist form. The idea that we've developed a police bureaucracy to monitor live music is just bizarre."

The Quietus raised the issue of venues being forced to close or drastically reduce volumes due to complaints from just a few neighbours. Livingstone said that as a licensing issue this was out of the control of the Mayor's office, he'd lobby for change "but don't hold your breath".

Check the site next week for a full interview where Ken Livingstone listens to tracks selected by the Quietus, and discusses the political issues & themes contained therein.