This is an e-mail I sent to Lawyers/Performance Group. Speaking to non musicians they are taken aback about this. Universally they think the Government is insane. We ought to get to a wider audience. I agree with suggestions about Richard and Judy and Co but I wrote to the Culture Section of the Times and got no where. I think the xxx will hit the fan only when the first fiddle player is prosecuted for fiddling without a licence. The MU is considering withdrawing its 80 year old affiliation with labour! Would a message about 50,000 plus lost votes help? For the first time in my life I wish the Tories would come back to life and form a proper opposition. Things are getting that bad!!
Thanks you for e-mail. I was particularly interested in the bit about Licensing open air events. I work in a Magistrates' Court and know a bit about Licensing. I have had meetings with the local city council officer who has the responsibility for this passed to him, or will have.
My point to him is this - I play mediaeval type instruments at historical re-enactments up and down the country. Maybe the society I belong to will have to seek notice permissions but
1. if you are not a liquor licence holder you can only have 5.....per annum
2. with an audience of less than 500 people......
3. for 72 hours then a break.
4. for a fee of about £20
5. by notifying the appropriate local authority and police (you have to find them first)
The Licensing Officer says.....
How an earth can a local authority keep national records of this. If x applies in one authorities area for notice permission, in 10 days is the authority supposed to search the database of every other authority in the country to see if x has applied 5 times before (and remember these events can be all over the place). And suppose the Salvation Army gives notice and sends £20 that it intends to play Carols and raise funds in a pedestrian street (as they do). How big is the audience. How wide is the "premise" or place as the act defines it. Who counts. Or as the local authority says, who cares? As we contemplate war in Iraq, Railways that don't work, failing hospitals etc, the Government "de regulates" like this? His comment - are they mad or am I?
I am seeing my local MP David Davies (Deputy Shadow Prime Minister) on this and other subjects on licensing music Saturday week. I have written to Tony Blair trying to get to him as he pretends he is a musician, but diverted to DCMS, written to Education Ministers ...say responsibility of DCMS, don't care about opportunities for music students, to a Local MP John Prescott, no reply, too busy worrying about wife's hair do etc.