The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #55964   Message #872460
Posted By: The Shambles
22-Jan-03 - 07:26 PM
Thread Name: PELs Government v MU & lawyers
Subject: RE: PELs Government v MU & lawyers
This snippet is very interesting and goes to the heart of the fight to exempt folk sessions under current legislation........There have wriggled out of one trick postition into another one. It is difficult to see from the following how local authorities can continue to dismiss this case as not relevant to including unpaid customers making music as 'performers'.

3. Entertainment in places where alcohol is sold
3.1 It has been claimed that "110,000 on-licensed premises in England and Wales would lose their automatic right to allow one or two musicians to work. A form of this limited exemption from licensing control dates back to at least 1899."

3.2 This point is disingenuous. In 1899, the courts held that impromptu performances by customers were not licensable, but performances given by a customer or any musician "for a consideration" were licensable. The Report of the Royal Commission on Licensing (England and Wales) 1929 – 1931 (paragraph 249) confirmed this interpretation of the law. Working musicians were therefore not exempted as claimed. The "two in a bar rule" was introduced by the Licensing Act 1964. The Bill does abolish the "two in a bar rule" but introduces new arrangements whereby any pub may obtain permission to stage live musical events at no extra cost when obtaining permission to sell alcohol.

3.3 Under existing legislation all public performances of music in licensed premises are licensable. The only exemption is provided by the "two in a bar" rule, which allows two musicians or less to perform without a public entertainment licence when a Justices' Licence is held.

3.4 We are abolishing the two in a bar rule for two very good reasons. First of all, the effect of the rule is very restrictive – it restricts drastically the forms of entertainment that may be carried out. Only entertainment consisting of one or two performers of live music is exempt. Anything beyond that – including the performers combining live music with sound recording – requires an additional licence. The perverse effect of the rule is that many types of music and other forms of entertainment are discouraged by reliance on the existence of the rule. Furthermore, this means that the range of cultural experience available to the general public is narrowed severely.

3.5 Secondly, the rule is anachronistic. It is quite possible for a single performer using amplified equipment to give rise to considerably greater nuisance than four or even more entertainers performing acoustically. The Government simply does not accept that live music in pubs is never a source of disturbance. The Institute of Acoustics lists "amplified and non-amplified music, singing and speech sourced from inside the premises" as a principle source of noise disturbance from pubs, clubs and other similar premises. It is equally the case that the public safety issues that the Bill addresses can arise where there are one or only two performers. It is therefore important that the likely risks are considered and proportionate steps taken to address them if necessary.