The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #63279   Message #1027827
Posted By: Nemesis
02-Oct-03 - 06:07 AM
Thread Name: Mass Morris London 02.11.03
Subject: RE: Mass Morris London 02.11.03
I had this from JOhn Bacon as well which might answer some of the queries above.


The proposed Day of Dance in Trafalgar Square on 2nd November to "celebrate" the exemption in the Licensing Act 2003 given to Morris dancing or any dancing of a similar nature, has raised some comments.

The Morris Federation Committee believes that some celebration is justified given that a large effort by the Morris Organisations has been rewarded by the exemption given in the Act. We are pleased to have won an exemption, but do still have serious concerns about the possible effect of the Act in other areas of Folk Activity. If we are provided with hard evidence of adverse effects, we can make use of them.

The alternative would have been a huge restriction of the opportunities for us to perform. It is a considerable achievement, given the inflexibility of the Government on folk activities. The process of dealing with the Government also allowed us to raise the profile of Morris with the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS). Indeed, it seems that the profile of Morris and much Folk activity was previously close to zero.

It is an opportunity for us to practise our rights under the new law, to showcase good Morris to the public, to thank Lord Redesdale for his great efforts in defending us and to alert the media to our success and the nature of the Act.

It is a continuing cause of concern to many in the Folk world that the Act will prevent much other traditional activity, such as community singing in pubs and music sessions. It is not in the interest of our traditional culture for such activities to be prevented, but it is not in the constitution of the Morris Federation to support activities apart from Morris (which is interpreted pretty liberally).

The Morris Federation did however provide much support both to the Musicians Union and EFDSS. At present, we do not know what effect the Act will actually have on other Folk activities, although the speculation is generally negative.

It is reasonable to act as a conduit for facts about any negative effects of the Act on Folk activity, both music and song and to pass such facts on to those who have a mandate to campaign against other aspects of the Act.

It is important to ensure that information is factual (e.g. the Rose and Crown in Tonsilton stopped allowing music sessions because the cost of obtaining the entertainment part of a licence cost too much for number of events) and not just words along the lines of "our local stopped us having sessions".

Any case needs to have hard information as the basis for any argument. The DCMS has maintained that it wishes to support our traditional culture, so if there is hard evidence to show that the Act is having a negative effect, it should be brought to the attentions of the DCMS.

The Morris Federation Committee