The union, which represents performers in the UK, has launched the Live Entertainment Works! campaign to highlight recent changes in legislation that make it easier for venues to put on live entertainment.
These include the Live Music Act 2012, which means pubs and bars in England and Wales are able to stage live music for audiences of up to 200 people between 8am and 11pm, without the need for a specific licence. If music is unamplified, there is no audience size restriction.
Venues can also put on performances of plays or dance for audiences of up to 500 people without a licence.
Equity argues that increasing live entertainment in pubs and bars across the UK would have benefits for its members, the hospitality sector and the public.
Hilary Hadley, Equity’s head of Live Performance, said: “We believe this is a win-win situation for our members and publicans.
“Pubs get more trade through people enjoying the live entertainment; the community benefits by joining together in a shared activity and Equity members get to do what they do best.”
The union has produced a guide to help pubs and bars organise live entertainment events, and will promote venues that sign up to the initiative on its website.
Benefits of live entertainment
According to research released by PRS for music, pubs which host live music are three times less likely to close than those which do not feature live music.
During the study, conducted by CGA, a quarter of publicans reported a 25 – 50 per cent increase in takings on nights when they have music, with 71 per cent reporting an increase of 10-25 per cent.
Last year, research by music licencing company PPL found that 60 per cent of people in Scotland would spend more time in restaurants, bars and clubs that play music, while research from VisitBritain concluded that the UK music scene is a big draw for international tourists.