The following is from The English Folk Dance and Song Society and is addressed to all MPs.
Please support the Early Day Motion - 1182
Could you sing a traditional English song? Thousands exist - but many people who live in England have little exposure to them.
Traditional singers and musicians throughout the country wish to meet informally in their community to share and keep alive the stories, songs and tunes which are our heritage. This may be at a sing around in a folk club or can be a spontaneous occasion, such as at the end of a Morris tour. The Public Entertainment License laws have turned our traditional music making into a criminal activity.
The English Folk Dance and Song Society recognises that the Government is trying to reform these licensing laws and that consultation has been ongoing for some time. We feel strongly that developments in the legislation covering public performance need to take into account the social nature of our traditional music.
Much of this musical heritage is intended to be sung with people rather than performed at people. The Society is speaking on behalf of folk and traditional enthusiasts who follow this cultural pursuit outside of their daily professions.
Singing together is almost the equivalent of conversation - an exchange and a celebration of culture and ideas. It is passed on from one to another in a spirit which suggests that the music and songs are everybody's and not to be performed by a favoured few to the assembled masses.
We urge the Government to introduce a Licensing Law Reform Bill in the next Queen's Speech and actively encourage your support for the Early Day Motion (1182). Under the current two in a bar system it is illegal to allow three folk singers to perform in a pub. Because of the spontaneous nature of this activity, we would welcome a section of the Bill which addresses non-amplified music.
Please contact the English Folk Dance and Song Society for further details on 020 7485 2206.
Chair, National Council