Undertones star to lead task force promoting live music

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The Independent Culture

The former Undertones star Feargal Sharkey is to lead a government task force to help up-and-coming acts and the live music industry.

Sharkey, who topped the charts in his own right with "A Good Heart", will chair the Live Music Forum, which could lead to more venues and rehearsal studios. Formation of the forum, which is designed to help live music flourish in England and Wales, was announced yesterday by Estelle Morris, the Arts minister.

Figures from the music industry, the Arts Council, local authorities, small venue owners and the Government will sit on the body for two years. It will spend the first six months examining the state of the live scene. Ministers committed themselves to looking into live music during the passage of the Licensing Act 2003, which they said seeks to increase opportunities for musicians and other artists to perform.

Sharkey worked with the Government as a member of the Radio Authority until it was replaced recently by Ofcom. He said: "For performers and audiences alike, those few wonderful moments of direct, personal contact can provide a lifetime of memories. I am delighted to have been asked to play a part in this unique initiative, one which we hope will help develop, encourage and promote live music."

The Musicians' Union welcomed the move.