Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafesj

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2] [3]

Sessions under threat in UK?

Related threads:
How old is Brit trad of music in pubs? (88)
PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas (101)
PEL: demo - pictures (14)
BS: Is Kim Howells an arsehole? (65)
Common's Early Day Motion 331 (new)(PEL) (71) (closed)
Licensing Bill - How will it work ? (331)
Weymouth Folk Festival (UK) (120)
A little more news on Licensing (158)
Killed by the PEL system Part 2 (93)
The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs (55)
PEL Problems in Hull (39)
PELs: Are we over-reacting? (74)
Circus PELs - I told you so! (16)
PEL Mk II: UK Government at it again (24)
PEL stops session in Cheshire (78)
Lyr Add: PEL Song: A PEL Protest (Julie Berrill) (27)
PELs - Letters to important folk. (50)
Sign a E Petition to 10 Downing St PELs (506) (closed)
PEL: Architect)?) Andrew Cunningam (11)
Licensing Bill moves on -OUR FUTURE (286) (closed)
UK Government to license Morris Dancing (68) (closed)
EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs. (38)
PEL: Doc Roew gets through to Minister !!! (11)
PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show. (106)
From Eliza Carthy & Mike Harding PELs (36)
DANCING OUTBREAK! and definition. PELs (16)
PEL threads. links to all of them. (50)
BS: Village Greens and licences (3) (closed)
PEL's: News Blackout! (53)
PEL: Billy Bragg BBC1 Monday nite (17)
PELs: Exemptions? (107)
Petition Clarification (PELs) (9)
PEL debate on BBC TV Now. (6)
further 'dangers' with the PEL (24)
Stupid Music Law. (8)
Howells (now) asks for help PELs (68)
PEL : MPs' replies to your e-mails (40)
PEL: Where does Charles Kennedy stand? (10)
PEL: NCA Campaign free Seminar (18)
PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT! (45)
PEL : Hardcopy Petition (44)
PELs Government v MU & lawyers (48)
PEL Pages (5)
Human Rights Committee AGREES! PELs (20)
Churches now exempt from PELs (55)
Lyr Add: PEL 'Freedom to sing' song (12)
Lyr Add: PEL Protest song (14)
Can YOU help The Blue Bell session? (9)
PEL: Urgent soundbites - CBC interview (25)
BS: Kim Howells, but NOT PELS for a change (8) (closed)
PEL: Billy Bragg on Question Time 6th Feb (15)
Kim Howells (PEL) (85) (closed)
PEL - A Reply From An MP. (22)
BS: What is PEL? (3) (closed)
PEL - 'Demo' Fleetwood 30th Jan 2003 (25)
PEL – Robb Johnson on R3, 1215h, 26/1. (8)
New PEL. An alternative argument. (31)
PEL: DEMO 27 JANUARY 2003 (95)
Poet against PEL - welcome Simon (10)
PEL: First Lord's defeat of the bill (10)
PEL - 'Demo' Fleetwood 23rd Jan (5)
kim howells does it again (PEL) (69)
PEL UK - Unemployed Artist Dancer - look (22)
PEL hit squads! (16)
PELs for beginners (26)
PEL: Latest rumour/lie? It's gone away? (3)
PEL: but not music (9)
Folking Lawyers (PEL) (26)
MU campaign - Freedom of Expression (36)
PEL- Enforcement: How? (8)
PEL: Inner working of Minister's minds? (9)
PEL: What activities to be criminalised? (29)
A Criminal Conviction for Christmas? (PEL) (45)
PEL - Idea (34)
Glastonbury Festival Refused PEL (5)
MSG: x Pete Mclelland Hobgoblin Music (23)
PELs of the past (13)
BS: PELs and roller skates. (1) (closed)
PELs UK Music needs your HELP (64)
Fighting the PEL (43)
Lyr Add: The Folk Musician's Lament (a PEL protest (2)
BS: Queen's speech, and licensing reforms (32) (closed)
PELs UK BBC Breakfast TV Monday (1)
PEL: Licensing Reform? (46)
BS: PELs in Scotland (12) (closed)
BS: The Cannon Newport Pagnell UK - no PEL! (18) (closed)
Action For Music. PELs (28)
Killed by the PEL system (66)
TV sport vs live music in pubs. HELP (6)
PEL and the Law: 'Twas ever thus (14)
EFDSS letter to UK Government HELP! (2)
24 July 2002 Day of Action - PELs (77)
Help: PELs & The Folk Image (12)
Official 'No tradition' 2 (PELs) (55)
Is this man killing folk music? (19)
We have PEL - Rose & Crown Ashwell, 23/6 (2)
BS: Vaults Bar, Bull ,Stony Stratford - PEL (4) (closed)
What is folk ? - OFFICIAL (26)
Official: No tradition of music in pubs (92)
UK catters be useful TODAY (70)
Help Change Music In My Country (102)
PEL-More questions (7)
NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK (56)
Nominate for a Two in a Bar Award -UK (11)
USA- HELP Where is Dr Howells? (13)
BS: URGENT UK contact your MP TONITE (18) (closed)
Write an Email for Shambles? Part 2 (75)
UK TV Cove Session/The Shambles (24)
All UK folkies take note - the law!!! (68)
BS: Tenterden weekend (and PELs) (11) (closed)
PEL (UK) (25)
Will you write an Email for Shambles? (111) (closed)
Important - Attention All Mudcatters (99)
Council Bans Morris Part 2 (73)
Council Bans Morris Dancing (103)
Day of action for live music 19th July (44)
Traditional activities and the law (13)
Sessions under threat in UK PART 2 (15)
Making Music Is Illegal. (56)
Urgent Help Required!! Threat to UK Sessions (11)

McGrath of Harlow 05 Feb 01 - 07:31 AM
GUEST 05 Feb 01 - 11:50 AM
Richard Bridge 05 Feb 01 - 12:17 PM
GUEST,Hamish Birchall 05 Feb 01 - 01:00 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Feb 01 - 01:30 PM
Ella who is Sooze 05 Feb 01 - 01:45 PM
GUEST,~Walkabout Cookie 05 Feb 01 - 01:51 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Feb 01 - 01:57 PM
GUEST 05 Feb 01 - 02:16 PM
The Shambles 05 Feb 01 - 03:05 PM
The Shambles 05 Feb 01 - 03:22 PM
GUEST,Hamish 05 Feb 01 - 04:23 PM
The Shambles 05 Feb 01 - 06:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Feb 01 - 01:43 PM
Liz the Squeak 06 Feb 01 - 03:28 PM
The Shambles 07 Feb 01 - 02:33 AM
Richard Bridge 07 Feb 01 - 12:38 PM
FOG(Friend of Gnome) 07 Feb 01 - 06:48 PM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Feb 01 - 08:07 PM
GUEST,Hamish Birchall 08 Feb 01 - 01:37 AM
The Shambles 08 Feb 01 - 02:06 PM
GUEST,CraigS 08 Feb 01 - 02:59 PM
Snuffy 08 Feb 01 - 05:50 PM
Richard Bridge 08 Feb 01 - 06:38 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Feb 01 - 08:01 PM
GUEST,Hamish Birchall 09 Feb 01 - 04:02 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 09 Feb 01 - 06:46 AM
GUEST,CraigS 09 Feb 01 - 09:33 AM
The Shambles 09 Feb 01 - 09:40 AM
wes.w 09 Feb 01 - 09:54 AM
GUEST,Hamish Birchall 09 Feb 01 - 10:39 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 09 Feb 01 - 10:44 AM
nutty 09 Feb 01 - 01:12 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Feb 01 - 03:38 PM
The Shambles 09 Feb 01 - 05:39 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Feb 01 - 06:32 PM
The Shambles 10 Feb 01 - 06:39 PM
GUEST,oh-no 11 Feb 01 - 12:22 AM
The Shambles 11 Feb 01 - 02:43 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Feb 01 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,Chris Nixon 11 Feb 01 - 05:22 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Feb 01 - 05:55 PM
menzze 12 Feb 01 - 10:02 AM
menzze 13 Feb 01 - 03:11 PM
GUEST,The Celtic Bard 13 Feb 01 - 03:47 PM
menzze 13 Feb 01 - 06:24 PM
The Shambles 13 Feb 01 - 11:06 PM
GUEST,oh-no 14 Feb 01 - 12:37 AM
The Shambles 14 Feb 01 - 06:38 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 14 Feb 01 - 06:45 AM
Share Thread
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum Child
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:

Subject: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 07:31 AM

This is really part 2 to a thread called HELP with UK Music Licencing problem? which was getting a bit long. (And I've changed the name, because we could do with a few other people contributing, and I thought a name change might help there.)

We've been exchanging comments and information about the legal situation as regards informal sessions in pubs in the UK. The current situation is very unclear, and the law is applied very in consistently all over the place, and it gets in the way of us playing sometimes.

But new legislation is pending,and we are trying to sort out what people can do to try and make it sensible and helpful rather than the reverse. And one thing we need is information about what happens elsewhere in the European Union, especially maybe in Ireland, in case someone's got it right (or dramatically wrong, for that matter.)

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 11:50 AM

It was a really good idea to retitle this, Kevin. I did a little skimming in the first thread, now that you have started this one-- I had no idea. How awful!

I would like to suggest that you might want to write a brief summary of the situation and of what sorts of helps you are asking for.

Also, would an international e-mail campaign from musicians make any difference as legislation is considered? What about involving US arts and folk preservation organizations to bring greater visibility to the insanity factor about this? If you can focus your thought somewhat on how non-UK Mudcatters could help-- good Lord. The birth mother of what we all treasure, muzzled! You might find a large hue and cry available, if those of you in the UK with understanding of the laws and politics could help aim the force.

If you UK-ers could come up with an idea along those lines, you could start a thread aimed directly at asking for international Mudcat help and titled clearly in that vein.

Another approach-- here in the US, legislative issues frequently involve a series of Public Hearings where special interest groups' representatives, and others affected by the impending legislation, come present their viewpoint. Now, if the Chieftains were to show up at a US hearing on a similar topic, to "testify" in full instrumental array.... LOL!

Then there is the US Save the Music effort. Can you pull in a commercial sponsor who would help lobby and raise awareness? Who benefits if things are left unlicensed? Get them organized.

Finally-- have you asked Big Mick how to leverage this thing? I would think he would have tremendous ideas about turning out a large amount of support.

Ironic. Here we are pissing and moaning about US politics when this is going on. Kinda makes ya think.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 12:17 PM

Has anyone asked the EFDSS? The same thing would apply to dancers too

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: GUEST,Hamish Birchall
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 01:00 PM

Following requests for more info: Section 182 is part of the 1964 Licensing Act. This is the Clause, with notes, adapted from Pattersons 1999 (a standard law reference book):

182.1 Relaxation, with respect to licensed premises, of law relating to music and dancing licences and billiards. No statutory regulations for music and dancing(1) shall apply to licensed premises(2) so as to require any licence for the provision in the premises of public entertainment by the reproduction of wireless (including television) broadcasts [or of programmes included in any programme service (within the meaning of the Broadcasting Act 1990) other than a sound or television broadcasting service],(3) or of public entertainment by way of music and singing only which is provided solely by the reproduction of recorded sound, or by not more than two performers, or sometimes in one of those ways and sometimes in the other.(4)

182.2 ….5 Previous corresponding enactment: Licensing Act 1961, s.23 (2), (3).

NOTES (1) See s.201(1), post. (2) See s.200(1), post. (3) Words inserted by Broadcasting Act 1990, s.203(2), Sch.20, para 7. (4) However a combination of any of these alternatives, e.g. recorded sound and one or two live performers playing at the same time would require an entertainment licence. The use of a karaoke machine in a public house should be covered by an entertainment licence. (5) Repealed by the Billiards (Abolition of Restrictions) Act 1987, s.1, Schedule.

* * * * *

Note that the clause is an exemption from the general requirement that all public entertainment should be licensed. The definitions of public entertainment that apply occur in the London Government Act 1963 (for premises inside London) and the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions)Act 1982 (premises outside London). (If you want more info on this pls let me know).

Andrew Cunningham is the Home Office civil servant who wrote the licensing White Paper. Consultation is officially over, and at this stage Government lawyers will be sketching out the wording of a new Bill.

Mr Cunningham is also, in effect, a Government spokesman in that he gives talks and presentations to industry conferences/meetings about the future of licensing. He would probably respond positively to an invitation from an organisation representing folk musicians.

I should be meeting Andrew Cunningham sometime in the next two/three weeks as part of the Arts Council consultation. I have already promised to include statements/representations from folk musicians who have contacted me directly, and to draw attention to the existence of this discussion forum.

If you have first-hand experience of local authority enforcement of PELs, including conditions/fees that have prevented local performance, please either copy to me or write direct to the Home Office (Andrew Cunningham or Lord Bassam). However, a co-ordinated approach would be better - and not being a folk musician myself, you will know far better than me the channels of communication which might be used to lobby organisations that represent folk music.

You might also contact your Regional Arts Board, and ask to speak to whoever is responsible for the 'social inclusion' policy there. The connection between this new responsibility and the need for licensing reform for live music has now been accepted by the Arts Council. By all means mention that I am working with Nikki Crane at the Arts Council of England on this (0207-333 0100).

Last but not least, try to find local press/tv reporters with an interest.

Yours Hamish

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 01:30 PM

Good stuff Hamish! Or rather, probably not that good stuff, but the stuff we need.

But GUEST, (whom I assume is someone with a cookie gone walkabout rather than someone seeking anonymity, so I'll break my normal rule ignoring anonymous GUESTS), I wouldn't panic too much. We're pretty used to operating with a silly law that doesn't get enforced much of the time, partly because it wouldn't stand up in court.

But it might help perhaps if people in America wrote to tourist offices indicating that your plans to come to England and spend enormous amounts of money here are now at risk because you've heard that informal music and singing sessions may not be going to be allowed in pubs here; so you'll probably be spending all that lovely money in Ireland or somewhere. Especially people with Texas addresses, because the tourist people probably think you are all millionaires...

And what would also be helpful, as I said, was information about places where informal sessions in licensed (or for that matter unlicensed premises are allowed to take place without restricted entertainment licences etc. From countries in the European Union especially, because the same essential Human Rights provision applies to us all (and it's not the same as that in America, which is why for example you can still have executions over there, and what counts as protected free speech isn't quite the same).

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 01:45 PM

grrrrrrrrrrrr...... RULES....... ggrrrrrrrrr I hate them..... grrrrrrrrrr

bloomin poxy pen pushers jobsworths....

grrrrrrrrrrrr spoil all our fun, and waste their time on all the wrong things...


sorry but all this make me mad, I get so annoyed with the petty beaurocracy (spelt wrong - but it's a dyslexics curse I am afraed)


Ella.... (off to a session tonight....) grrrr

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: GUEST,~Walkabout Cookie
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 01:51 PM

Aw, I thought you'd know it was me, Kevin!

How many Susans do you know who ~squiggle~?


(AKA Praise)

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 01:57 PM

I thought it might be you. A clear case of MCS - multiple cookie syndrome.

I think once we've got the precise facts and targets sorted out, this could be fun...

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 02:16 PM

This is off topic, sorry folks.


You know... some days... that cookie is just too damn heavy to carry. A millstone. Some of my "fans" search up my posts to make mischief, and frankly I feel one of those times coming on. The e-mail mischief is already running, and the flames usually follow. And then I may as well be invisible, obscured under the efforts people make to "defend" as others "attack." And it has nothing to do, really, with me.

And sometimes people will not listen to what I say just because it is me saying it and they have a skewed view. Mostly I sign the posts when I go coookieless, though I don't always enter a name in the who-from field. So my name being there in the post list doesn't get someone's blood boiling before even seeing what I may have said. And one thing I noticed awhile back is that there are a lot of people at the Mudcat who never realize that every one of us is growing and changing and learning and re-evaluating every day. I could post that I have decided to give up Christ and become a satanist, and people would still call me that sanctimonious proselytizing bitch Praise!

To "come back" to Mudcat I had to reclaim my voice, and it was hard. I drowned for awhile in opinions; I could hardly turn around some days. I came back very quiet, very bland, very timid. But I kept working on what was making that happen in me. Now, I post as frankly with the cookie as without. But the cookie price is not a cost I can always pay; some days I just am not up to it.

But see, I think if what I have to say is worth anything at all, it doesn't matter who is saying it, or if people know who did... it's the thoughts that count, if they are worth anything at all. I finally learned how to be, here. How to BE HERE. And that is, however I feel like being from one moment to the next. These occasional breaks from the cookies are a real challenge to discipline-- to think and write without leaning on or defending against the stereotypes.. it's a new form of participating, for me. If anyone has a problem with the motives or the means... it's too bad. I am the same Susan, regardless. Just a human bean trying to sprout, like everyone else.

And I am not hiding. I speak about it openly just like this post. I am just not waving flags anymore except when the subject matter warrants it. Because I learned that people will thrust those flags into my hands whether they are mine or not, whether they are flags I would even recognize.

Some people put these sorts of thoughts into PMs. I think PMs are sometimes a crutch. I'm just as happy to have it all in the open, visible.

Thanks for listening, Kevin. You have been a good friend.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 03:05 PM

My thanks to Kevin for giving part two a new name. As a result of all this I do now know how to spell licensing, and it was a source of much irritation to keep seeing my spelling of it as licencing in the thread title.

This is a short account of the effect, in personal terms of the existing legislation.

In December 2000 I obtained the licensee's permission to hold an informal tradition tune session at my local pub. The local authority's enforcement officer visited one of these nights, and issued a letter stating that they had counted five performers and threatened prosecution under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 1964.

The interpretation was that, they had witnessed more than two performers providing a public entertainment, requiring that the premises hold an additional Public Entertainment Licence. Two or less would not require such a licence.

The issues of noise or of public safety are already covered by existing licenses and other legislation and HM Government have indicated that they do not wish local authorities to threaten prosecution, under these circumstances and they have indicated that these Section 182 requirements are to go anyway.

I have made my local authority aware of HM Government's comments (full text from The House of Lords, can be found in the first thread), and we await their decision.

It is no small thing for me when a friend (the licensee), is being threatened with prosecution and a possible large fine for providing a place to make traditional music, and that largely as a favour to me.

The musicians involved are the ones most effected by this decision, but are pretty powerless and unable to do much without making the situation more difficult for the licensee.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 03:22 PM

Public Entertainment Licensing - Fees And Conditions

Liquor, Gambling and Data Protection Unit
Constitutional and Community Policy Directorate
50 Queen Anne's Gate
London SW1H 9AT

Switchboard: 020 7273 4000
Direct fax: 020 7273 3205
Direct line: 020 7273 2466


10 April 2000
Chief Executives of District Councils in England
Chief Executives of Unitary Authorities in England and Wales
Chief Executive of London Borough Councils
Town Clerk of the City of London

1. This guidance is issued jointly by the Home Office and the Local Government Association. Its purpose is to inform local authorities of the basis on which fees should be set, and the purpose of any conditions imposed, for public entertainments and similar events licensed under the following legislation:

 Section 1, Schedule 1 Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982

 Section 52, Schedule 12 London Government Act 1963

 Theatres Act 1968

2. Proposals for the longer-term reform of entertainment licensing are set out in the White Paper on licensing which has now been published. Local authorities should have regard to the guidance contained in this letter pending implementation of these wider reforms.


3. The Local Government Association and the Home Office have recently been in discussion about the level of fees charged by some local authorities for public entertainment licences and apparent inconsistencies between local authorities. Concerns have also been expressed about seemingly unreasonable conditions attached to some public entertainment licences, which add to the costs involved.

4. There are grounds for concern that particularly high fees and associated costs are deterring some organisers from offering entertainments, with knock on effects for performers, venues and the wider leisure industry. A thriving public entertainment sector has a key role in promoting tourism. It is therefore important to ensure that the burdens imposed by the necessary licensing of these events are justified.

5. The current legislation governing public entertainment licensing gives local authorities considerable discretion with regard to fees and conditions, given the mutual impact of local circumstances and the management of public events. Nevertheless, there are fundamental principles of fairness, transparency and consistency that should be applied to the administration of public entertainment licensing as they are to any other enforcement regime.

Basis for licence fees

6. Existing legislation does not provide for any single fee structure. But case law has established that local authorities are entitled to recover the cost of administering a licensing scheme, provided that allowance is made for exemptions or reductions for charities (Rv Greater London Council ex parte Rank Organisation Ltd 1982). It has also been determined that local authorities are not empowered to raise revenue through a licensing scheme (Rv Manchester City Council, ex parte Donald King 1991).

7. Most local authorities seek to recover their costs by setting bands of fees for occasional and annual licences, either together or separately, based on the maximum capacity for the event or venue. This is usually in the form of one fee, according to band, or a flat rate for all applicants supplemented by a top up determined by capacity or actual cost recovery. In many cases the size of the event or venue is probably a broad reflection of the time and resources a local authority needs to devote to issuing a licence and can therefore provide a useful rule of thumb in establishing a fee structure. It should be recognised, however, that this has the potential to work unfairly in individual cases.

8. Submissions have been received by the Home Office from various bodies engaged in event management and performance which suggest that, irrespective of the fee structure, some authorities may be setting fees which are over and above the cost recovery criteria allowed for by the existing legislation. The evidence indicates significant inconsistencies between fees for events which appear to be similar in terms of their nature, venues, organisers and numbers of people attending. Differences of several thousands of pounds have been reported with a higher fee being charged even when the local authority input was minimal.

9. Local authorities are therefore now asked to review their fee structure for entertainment licensing to ensure that it is defensible and proportionate in the light of the principles outlined earlier in this letter. Local authorities are particularly urged to bear in mind the following:

Cost recovery: this relates to reasonable charges to cover administration, inspection, and enforcement in respect of public entertainment licensing only. Anything over and above that which is included in the calculation of public entertainment licence fees would be ultra vires.

Reasonableness: local authorities should review their procedures to ensure that the expenditure they currently incur in administering various aspects of the licensing regime is always necessary to meet the requirements for licensing events in their area. In considering whether charges are reasonable the need for specific actions, and the resources devoted to them, should be addressed as well as the basic fee structure.

Charities: reductions or exemptions for charities in terms of entertainment licence fees must be discounted against the cost of administering the licence system. Any attempt to include these in the estimate of the overall expenditure on entertainment licensing would have the effect of transferring the expenditure to other licence fee payers and, again, would be ultra vires.

Flexibility: local authorities should be prepared to charge lower fees than those proposed in their fee structure where this is justified. This is particularly relevant to repeat events where knowledge of the organisers and venue is good and little work is required of the local authority. In those cases especially they should keep in mind the potential impact on venues and performers of high fee levels.

Benchmarking: local authorities should have regard to the charges levied in other areas. This can be pursued both through national and regional licensing fora, and individually. The purpose of this exercise is to keep fees as low as possible, rather than raise them. There may be valid reasons for some differences between areas but local authorities are asked to investigate when comparable fees are lower and consider whether there are lessons to be learned from the experience of others.

10. In the next few months a sample of fees will be studied to help the Home Office and LGA in assessing the impact of this guidance.


11. The purpose of licence conditions is to ensure safety, minimise nuisance and prevent crime and disorder. The nature of any conditions that are attached to a licence inevitably varies according to the venue, the event and local considerations. But there are concerns that some conditions are excessive, that they replicate other regulations or are inappropriate to the premises or event. Compliance with conditions clearly adds to the cost of the licence and it is therefore important that local authorities ensure that they are reasonable.

12. All local authorities are urged to review their licence conditions to ensure that they are relevant for each application and that they achieve the objectives of public entertainment licensing without adding unnecessary burdens for the applicant. Local authorities are specifically asked to review the application of any 'standard' conditions and consider whether they are appropriate. Each application should be treated on its own merit and have conditions attached accordingly. Care should also be taken that conditions do not unnecessarily duplicate or overlap with existing regulation where this is adequate for the purpose of the licence.

13. By way of example, the Home Office has received complaints that some licensing authorities have insisted on a condition that all electrical wiring equipment must conform to current building regulations, even though there is no question of its safety and adequacy. In the Home Office's view such conditions are excessive.

14. The Local Government Association recently invited a working group of the Local Government Licensing Forum to examine public entertainment licensing conditions and recommend some reasonable model conditions that could be utilised by local authorities. A consultation draft of the Working Group's findings is available on the Local Government Association's website (


15. This Guidance is not intended to detract from the efforts of local authorities to manage the administration and enforcement of the public entertainment licensing regime in full accord with the spirit and letter of the law. But transparency is required in the business of local government together with a need to show that decisions and actions are fair. The implementation of Best Value, and impending Government consultation on the future of licensing provide a timely opportunity for all authorities to review this service.

16. We shall continue to monitor the situation with licence fees and conditions and the Home Office will write again to local authorities in six months time for information about the action they have taken as a result of their review of their current arrangements. The Home Office and LGA will also be discussing the processes and procedures for dealing with entertainment licences in the light of other concerns that have been expressed with a view to issuing guidance on that in due course.

ELLIOT GRANT, Head of LGDP, Unit Home Office

BRIAN BRISCOE, Chief Executive, Local Government Association

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: GUEST,Hamish
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 04:23 PM

To Shambles et al

Musicians are no longer powerless.

In this case their 'freedom of expression' is being prevented for no good reason: no safety risk - no noise complaints.

Under the Human Rights Act, because they are directly affected by the local authority enforcement they could bring a case against the council. Remember: where there are two possible interpretations of the law, one that is compatible with European Convention rights, and one that is not - the compatible interpretation must be adopted.

In other words, counting members of the public as performers where they sing or play an instrument is the incompatible interpretation.

It's worth investigating.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 06:54 PM

Well that is the optimistic view


My view is that, Hamish is probably right but the best approach, under the present hiatus, is to try to create the climate that will ensure that the authority does not take the action.

Once they have, as in my case, any action even if it could be funded and eventually proved successful, will not help the licensee's future relationship with the licensing authority.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 01:43 PM

I had a look at the site mentioned in the report Shanmbles gave us, for public consultation -

It looks like we missed the boat on that stage of the consultation - I wonder is anyone in the folk world got to get their two-pennyworth in? Still, there's still time to get in, I'd imagine, since I doubt if it's yet gone through the legislative process.

Anyway, I'm going to start working through the various documents we've had on the thread, and mentioned on links etc, and I hope other people will as well. Then, when everyone's a bit clearer about the changes we need, and than the changes we don't want, we can maybe try and get a wider set of people involved.

I agree with Shambles that for licensees to try to fight this one through the courts isn't a wise or a practical proposition. But there are other ways of tackling it.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 03:28 PM

Doesn't seem to have affected the amount of sessions that Manitas keeps finding.... grumble grumble....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 02:33 AM

Is he a licensing officer then?

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 12:38 PM

I would be very pessimistic about the Human Rights agument at least in teh UK courts. I went on a course about Human rights just the other day, and many of the arguments that were beign expected to thrive are beign stamped on by the UK courts - leaving those who wish to rely on tehm to exhaust UK remedies (that means going all the way to the House of Lords) beofre going to the foreign court.

That ain't dylexia, it's just lousy typing and the thought that if I correct too much the machine will (as it still sometimes does) eat the post without sending it.

Does anyone know if the EFDSS has put in a submission? Does anyone deal enough with the government to check, or the EFDSS to ask why the *** not - isn't that what representative bodies are for?

I'll mention it at folk lcub commitee toight and see if the club wants me to say something to the government venues provided.

The other peole who ought to have commented would have been the organisers of all folk festivals - ROchester, Broadstars, and Sidmouth to name just a few, that depend on a "fringe" and amateur performers.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: FOG(Friend of Gnome)
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 06:48 PM

Some friends of mine who started a club in Chorley in the North of England found themselves in the bizarre situation on the one hand,that the local councils Leisure and Arts Department were helping and encouraging their efforts with free publicity,flyers etc. while the Public Licensing section were trying to shut them down because more than 2 people were getting up. Beaurocracy disappearing up its own arse or what? Me and my good lady both sing together in the bath. If I can get another young lady to join us and we leave the window open-will they come and close us down?-just a (incredibly optimistic) thought.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 08:07 PM

But the UK courts don't have the final say. If the courts in England start interpreting the Human Rights requirements in an over-restrictive way, they can expect to be slapped down. I'm not suggesting that this issue is necessarily going to be the one to be fought through the highest level, but there are others that will be.

Still no information from people in any other European country, which really would be helpful in this context. I mean, what happens if a bunch of musicians are playing in the corner of a beer garden in Germany, or a French Cafe, or an Irish pub?

I get a vision of a group playing away in some green coffee-house in Amsterdam and the proprietor comes up and says "You'll have to stop playing that music, we aren't licensed for that kind of stuff". And all round the dope-hazy customers nod their head in solemn agreement.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: GUEST,Hamish Birchall
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 01:37 AM

The Human Rights argument applied to live music is about 'balancing the right to a good night's sleep with the right to a good night out' (Jack Straw).

It's true that 'freedom of expression' might be countered with 'right to peaceful enjoyment of one's possessions' - both of which feature in the European Convention, and are covered by the Human Rights Act (HRA).

But where local authorities are in real danger of falling foul of the HRA is when they prevent live performance where there are no noise or safety concerns. The present law allows them to do that, and we know that this is common practice.

My argument is that such enforcement fails the strict 'proportionality' tests that must be passed (under the HRA) before local authorities may interfere with Convention rights, and would therefore be unlawful. Even the Home Office is prepared to concede this (off the record of course).

Using live music to discover all sorts of public safety problems in a pub is a neat way for the local authority to deflect attention from the fact that has failed to fulfil its statutory duty to inspect the premises under separate health and safety legislation.

FOG's story is very interesting - a good example of competing agendas within local authorities. Licensing departments appear not to understand that they share responsibility for creating the social and economic conditions in which everyone can 'participate freely in the cultural life of the community' (Article 27 Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

By the way, the 'three-in-a-bath' performance is definitely breaking the law! A £20,000 fine and six months in jail would seem reasonable.

I have not been able to gather much information from abroad except that in Ireland pubs without a live band are the exception (there is certainly no 'two-in-a-bar' rule), in the Netherlands it seems pubs and bars are allowed to put on unrestricted live music because they meet strict safety conditions anyway (mostly - there was a terrible fire in a bar just recently, although no live music was going on at the time). The jazz scene in France and Germany and the Netherlands is certainly healthier than here in the UK. I don't know what the folk scene is like though.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 02:06 PM

The interesting fact is that during all this recent process, of the licensing officers dispute with the licensee. There was little or no consideration given, certainly from the licensing side, to the musicians involved and the possible effect on them and/or their livelihoods…………… <,b>Nor did I expect them to be…..

That is probably the worst indictment of the present Licensing Act's Section 182, its enforcers and an example of the negative effect it has had on music………..

It may also explain our failure generally to organise and contribute to the proposed new legislation and our general pessimistic attitude to this subject. There are some notable exceptions, such as Hamish and I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank him and others for their efforts on our behalf.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: GUEST,CraigS
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 02:59 PM

I don't know about the legal side, but I do know this much:

In most of the continental places which have folk music, 1) the entertainment is held in coffee bars, which may or may not sell alcohol;

2) the audience come to see a booked guest;

3) there are no floor singers - records are played instead;

4) the guests are all "booked in" through agents,mainly German, who operate a "circuit" as a "closed shop".

This relates to Germany, the Benelux, and northern France. I know there are bars in Paris where spontaneous entertainments take place, but as far as I know these and other similar sessions involving amateurs are what one would call accoustic sessions, rather than folk sessions with a traditional bias.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: Snuffy
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 05:50 PM

Are we talking about trying to get rid of PEL for any acoustic music, including booked guests and paid admission? I thought the concern was about informal sessions, with people expressing their culture, not sitting on their arses and watching it.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 06:38 PM

Is anyone organising a sensible (if late) submission on behalf of the Mudcat (with lots of UK members)? Pressure of time precludes me offering. Sham and Magrath may be best placed but if drafting do avoid the inflammatory or argumentative (been t here, done that, failed to persuade DTI who are a s slippery as a bunch of snakes). How the do we organise mudcat signature of the petition?

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 08:01 PM

I think the simplest thing to ask for would be some kind of provision that acoustic sessions on licensed premises or in similar settings, where no admission charge was made, held with the agreement of the proprietor, would not require any kind of entertainment licence - with the proviso that if there was a proven public nuisance or risk to public safety that would be a valid reason for proprietors stopping a session, and it would be their duty to do so..

A petition along these lines would be a good idea - and I would imagine that it would not be hard to get an lot of people signing it at this year's festivals.

Alongside that, letters to the press, articles in the folk press, and letters to MPs would all help stir it up. And MEPs too, who must be bored out of their crust, and to whom it might offer a chance of getting into the press.(And, as I said earlier, communications from abroad, maybe addressed to the relevant tourist board.)

Oh yes, and there is Liberty (which used to be called The National Council for Civil Liberties) And I think the best way to approach them would be in connection with a real case where the law has deprived people of freedoms they had enjoyed - and Shambles has just such a case. (They should be in a good position to find out how the law here compares with that in other countries and so forth.)

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: GUEST,Hamish Birchall
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 04:02 AM

Thanks to CraigS for continental info. Very useful.

PELs will effectively disappear in licensed premises if the licensing White Paper is fully implemented as written.

No additional licence should be necessary for acoustic, or even 'semi-acoustic' sessions in pubs, bars etc. This is the view of enlightened civil servants and politicians. Provided pressure is maintained by musicians (the petition is a great idea), writing to MPs, Home Office etc, and engaging local press and TV where sessions are under threat, I think there is a very good chance that the new law will end the present restrictions completely.

One stumbling block, however, is the Local Government Association's opposition to low licences fees, set centrally. This key proposal in the licensing White Paper would effectively reverse the trend of 25 years. High PEL fees, which are common in the bigger cities, are a disincentive to the provision of live music.

Local authorities complain that without the fees, they won't have the resources to fulfil the statutory duties to inspect premises. My argument is that central Government has to make up the shortfall - a consequence of their duty to 'create the social and economic conditions in which rights to participate in the cultural life of the community' can flourish.

The total PEL income for England and Wales is about 11 million UK pounds. This is a small sum in terms of local authority budgets. The benefit to the community of freeing up access to local music more than justifies the principle of centralised funding. It worked up till 1974 - at which point the legislation was amended to allow 'cost recovery' fees. Until then I think PEL fees had been only a few quid a year.

Back to the petition idea: I am presenting case studies to the Arts Council and Home Office on 21 Feb. I realise that's not enough time to get a petition together, but if you want me to forward a particular message (expletives deleted!)please let me know.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 06:46 AM

We may all have to move to Greece where dancing on the tables & bar tops and spontaneous outbreaks of singing and playing even by tone deaf Englishmen is tolerated. The concept of "kefi" or joi de vivre is encouraged and officialdom ridiculed.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: GUEST,CraigS
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 09:33 AM

Two further points:

1) Back in the 30s 40s 50s 60s it was very common for pubs and clubs to employ a pianist one or two days a week to lead a sing-song session. There was never any trouble in distinguishing that there was only one performer, but most of the audience would be singing. The obvious point is - where is the line drawn, if only a few people are singing at any one time - are they performing or joining in?

2) While listening to Radio 2 I heard a small item which suggests that the PRS are about to go after people using musical items for pub quiz purposes. Should we set up a formal body to anticipate action from this direction?

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 09:40 AM

I think that he may agree?
Kevin McGrath and myself, have justly earned a reputation on The Mudcat, one that can be clearly demonstrated, of not using just one word when we could used several. Thus the responsibility of drafting a petition, entrusted to either us, would most likely prove to be a wordy and possibly confusing document?

However, Kevin has made a good stab at it above. While I understand the acoustic reference, I think that a specific reference to it, may cause problems in gaining maximum support.? I think it may need to be a little shorter, to be most effective, but still cover the following.


1. Not all musical expression takes place as paid entertainment and that these should be excluded from any licence or scheme that seeks to generate funds for additional controls required for places of paid entertainment

2. All musical expression, taking place on licensed premises, with the permission of the licensee, already possesses all the necessary requirements for noise and public safety considerations, under existing legislation.

3. If there should prove to be issues of noise and public safety that authorities should not view these as reasons to automatically stop the musical expression. That where ever possible, they should use all their expertise to try and help overcome these issues. That the authority be charged to try and ensure that the musical expression can continue rather than only appearing to try to find reasons why it cannot.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: wes.w
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 09:54 AM

1.Guilty until proven innocent?

2.PRS? Anticipate action? A lot of us got bottled by them during informal trad. sessions in a Dorset pub 'near 20 years ago.

Things like this make me wonder why I still live here.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: GUEST,Hamish Birchall
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 10:39 AM

I've just heard what may be good news. Oxford City Council (OCC) has made a significant u-turn in their regulation of local folk sessions which could set a national precedent. In tandem with local petitions, OCC's decision could resolve some of the difficulties experienced by folk clubs across the country.

You probably know that participatory sessions in a pub called the Old Ale House in Oxford were threatened with closure a few weeks ago by local licensing officers.

The council counted members of the public as 'performers' under s 182 of the Licensing Act 1964, and decided that landlord Sean Donnelly needed a PEL. It is the combined cost of the PEL fee itself and implementing the often mystifying public safety conditions that deter proprietors. Mr Donnelly couldn't justify the cost.

But yesterday (8 Feb)OCC met with local musician and campaigner Bob Lloyd and conceded that separate legislation ensured public safety on the premises, and that in consideration of the fact that there were no noise issues, they would regard the sessions as being on a par with quiz nights - in other words they will now leave them alone.

More info later.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 10:44 AM

Good news, Hamish (but I'd still rather be in Greece than Oxford!)

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: nutty
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 01:12 PM

Is there no law like the one that establishes Right of Way
This is not a joke question but PEL's are to protect copyright to some extent but what about playing and singing traditional music - surely a precedent must have been set by now

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 03:38 PM

That Oxford decision sounds fine. Only problem I have about it is that, if the same situation came up elsewhere, and the people involved tried to use it as a legal precedent, I suspect the court would be likely to see it merely as an exercise by Oxford of its discretion, which didn't have any binding authority.

But it might be worth people locally approaching their own local authorities and asking them to adopt the same policy. Like Nuclear Free Zones, if you remember them, but actually having a local effect.

What I'm not clear about the proposed abolition of PELs for licensed premises is, could that mean that rather than them being free to allow music, they might be even more limited than before? Unable to have music at all. I mean, it is an abolition of the need to get a PEL if you're a licensed premises, or is it an abolition of the right of a licensed premises to apply for a PEL?

I think a petition would be a good thing anyway, even if we're pushing on an open door - and it would be a way of making it more likely that our voices were heard, and make unintended slip-ups in the drafting less likely to happen. And it also might help draw the attention of more people to the existence of sessions. Even among people who go to festivals there are a lot who just aren't aware that there are such things.

I'd go for a simpler petition than Shambles - when it comes to actual legislation drafting inevitably becomes complicated, but I think a petition can be more straightforward:

How about this?:

We believe that people should have the right to sing and play music in the pubs of England, where the landlord agrees, and there should no longer be any laws that limit that right, over and above those that exist to prevent public nuisance because of excessive noise,and danger because of overcrowding.

We call upon Parliament to restore our rights in this matter.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 05:39 PM

Its getting better. To make it shorter still the last bit could just be "noise and public safety".

Is it just England and pubs then?

Looks like good news from Oxford. Like to see the small print though.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 06:32 PM

I'm not sure about this, but I'd have thought this is the kind of thing "devolved assemblies" would have the last word on, so the Westminster mob would only be dealing with what happens in English pubs.

Yes, I thought about coffee bars and all, but it gets a bit clumsy for a petition. "Pubs of England" has a ring to it - "Places of public refreshment" wouldn't sound the same. And sessions of this sort currently only seem to take place in pubs, in my experience.

I think keeping it just to pubs gets the foot in the door. But it could be changed to:

We believe that people in England should once again have the right to sing and play music freely, for example in pubs where the landlord agrees, and there should no longer be any laws that limit that right, over and above those that exist to prevent public nuisance and protect public safety.

We call upon Parliament to restore our rights in this matter.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Feb 01 - 06:39 PM

Seems about right to me. How about you?

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: GUEST,oh-no
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 12:22 AM

Many years ago I recall being in Pubs in England and Wales where singing was almost assumed and if people harmonised, very popular, there never was a stop made by anyone except if after hours. Then the Land Lord/Lady would ring the Bell etc.

Instruments, we used play all kinds and sometimes there would be a Piano, a Box, Harmonica and Guitar. Never any problems. We used call these Fooo Foos - no idea why, maybe Spike Milligan coined the term.

Why are they getting down on it now? Is it because there is less money in the music bizz there?. Or is it because there is too much music in Pubs. If I remember right, one had to hunt out these little Pubs and some Towns it was nearly impossible to find any.

I am unhappy to read the report and if going for a Vacation restricted sessions would spoil my visit. So count me in the Petition.

typical visit would be Home Counties and perhaps hop over to ROI.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 02:43 PM

The following is from Bob lloyd, who has given permission to pass this on if I thought it would be useful.

Music Sessions can fall foul of the law...

We all like to go to pub sessions where local musicians and singers can share in the pleasure of making folk music. Unfortunately some environmental health departments have viewed this as requiring a Public Entertainment Licence (PEL). What this means in practice is that the landlord can get a phone call from the council saying that a licence is needed if the sessions are to continue and although this is not usually expensive, there's often a catch.<,,br>

The local authority grants a license only once the premises satisfy certain conditions - usually a fire certificate which in turn requires changes to the building such as illuminated fire exit notices, separate power supplies, etc. These changes can escalate the cost of compliance from perhaps a hundred pounds to thousands. Breweries are understandably reluctant to part with this sort of money when there is no chance of increased attendance: it's the customers who are participating! Bottom line - sessions close.

In Oxford, before Christmas, one local session at the Old Ale House pub was the subject of a complaint and this prompted the environmental health department to require a PEL or the session would have to stop. We decided to investigate this and see whether or not we could reach a sensible agreement with the council. First we checked up on the law.

The 1982 Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act says that "public dancing or music or any other public entertainment of like kind" requires a licence with an exemption being made if the number of performers does not exceed two. So two people singing is not a problem but if a third joins in a licence is needed. This has achieved notoriety as the "two in a bar rule" and has caused problems for working musicians for years. Not only that, but councils are not at all consistent in the way they apply the rules. In some parts of the country, they have been using the rule as a way of raising revenue because they can set the charge for the licence as high as they like.

This is now all set to change with the preparation of a new licensing bill which will include an entertainment licence automatically as part of the premises licence. The "exemption" will disappear but that doesn't guarantee that music sessions will be safe. With the exemption removed, the conditions which normally apply to the issuing of licences will be determined by local councils - they could simply inherit the old conditions and we could find ourselves in a similar difficult position.

In April 2000, local authorities were issued with guidance from the Home Office about how to handle applications for PELs. They were told not to apply blanket conditions and especially, not to insist on additional conditions which duplicate regulations that already exist. That means that councils can no longer simply insist on a Fire Certificate because if the pub is already safe for customers, it is safe for a participatory music session as well. Unless they are able to show otherwise. The "two in a bar rule" applies to the number of performers, NOT the number present, and therefore cannot be invoked on the grounds of safety.

We put out a notice on the internet to see if the situation had arisen in other parts of the country. Emails flooded in listing sessions that had been closed down, folk clubs which had to close after years of successful activity, sessions which were pounced on as soon as they started. Lots of heat all round.

We decided to approach the local council and the environmental health officers to see what could be done. We circulated local councillors with a description of the problem explaining what damage it did to folk music and the opportunities for participation. We also phoned the environmental health department. The response was very positive. They said they were not trying to shut down the sessions or restrict access to folk music but that where a landlord had already obtained an entertainment licence, they would complain if others were not also expected to comply. The environmental health officer I spoke to was very reasonable and it was clear that they were in an awkward position. If they failed to act, someone would be on their backs.

We asked for an opportunity to make a representation to the Health and Environment Committee and started a petition of all those who were involved in the local sessions. Although given an assurance that our item was on the agenda for the meeting, somehow we were relegated to the end where members of the public are granted the opportunity to speak to the committee. Once the issue was explained, the following was agreed by the meeting:

· The committee did not want to be in conflict with musicians and singers over this issue · The committee wanted to support folk music in pub sessions not close them down. · The sessions could continue without any action being taken by the environmental health department · There would be no threats of prosecution · The officers would draw up recommendations to classify the sessions as participation events and that they would therefore not requires licences. They would bring these recommendations to the next meeting (March) · Before the new legislation comes in, the committee will listen to representations from local musicians and singers to make sure that there will be no problems over licensing issues.

We have been very encouraged by the response of the local council so far. We still have to get a suitable recommendation from the environmental health department but there is every indication that they are trying to be helpful rather than restrictive. If this turns out well, it could be used as a precedent for other sessions who run into difficulties with local authorities. Whilst not all local authorities will react in such a positive way, this does seem to be a reasonably effective approach to the problem.

We would like to thank all those people who provided us with information, advice, signatures on the petition, and general encouragement, and the local councillors for advice on how to approach the relevant committees.

If you need to get hold of further information about any of the above send me an email on and I'll send you whatever links I have.

Bob Lloyd
Oxford Feb 2001

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 03:24 PM

That was an excellent piece by Bob Lloyd.

Our experience over the past few years round here has been that, where pubs have allowed sessions, there haven't been any problems. How far that has been because the local authorities haven't noticed, or have been turning a benevolent blind eye, or have a policy that doesn't see sessions as falling under the entertainment category I couldn't say. It could even have been in some cases that there was a PEL in existence.

That would be in the council areas of Harlow, East Herts and Epping. And it's included pubs where sessions have been regularly flagged up in local papers.

So locally we aren't complaining - but the uncertainty remains, and that probably has made some pubs resistant to the idea of having sessions. And of course, unclear policies can change without warning. And elsewhere the position is clearly very patchy, and bad in some places.

I've thought of approaching local authorities round here for a policy statement - but there's always the worry of that backfiring. "Oh shouldn't we be doing something to stop or regulate this kind of unlicensed activity."

It'd be useful to know where problems have been experienced by sessions, with councils misinterpreting their responsibilities in such a way as to interfere with informal sessions, and how widespread it has been. Is it on the increase? My impression has been that the number of sessions being held in pubs has actually increased over the past decade, but of course that in itself might mean that more places have experienced the kind of problems that Shambles has told us about.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: GUEST,Chris Nixon
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 05:22 PM

One consideration raised by the last coupla replies - perhaps it's not that the local authority hasn't noticed before, but as with many other areas the fatherless sons in local government have simply discovered another way of raising revenue and aren't really interested either in our safety or our music. And like the man said, how long has it been unlawful for one person to sing and many to join the chorus? If it's any consolation, we had a blinding English music session on the marsh last Friday... Pip pip.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 05:55 PM

I'm as cynical as anyone about anything to do with politics, but I doubt Chris's speculation there. There's not enough money in it to make it worth the candle.

There are some people around with an instinct for petty bureaucratic bullying, and some jobsworths who are scared they might get into trouble if they aren't carrying out every jot and tittle of the rules; and cutbacks mean that lots of people in local government have got shifted to jobs they don't know anything about.

But I suspect that, if we're becoming more aware of this kind of thing happening, it's more because, on the one hand our communications are becoming better, and on the other there are probably a lot more sessions going on than there have been before, in recent times anyway.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: menzze
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 10:02 AM

I just can't believe what I read here. We live in Europe, do we? Not in Orwell's 1984? On the other hand it reminds me on what England tried to do to the Irish some centuries ago when they tried to forbid to the Irish people to play their own music, to play their own instruments(the harp f.e. and the tradition of the bards, it's political and religious aspects) as a try to destroy the Irish culture and identity by these means. Fortunately the former paddies invented lilting and the musical tradition lived on.

Seems a bit the same, doesn't it?

When people in Germany come together in pubs by chance and an unexpected session starts it may be the owner of the bar to stop them because he doesn't like it (and sometimes it's really the best to avoid serious damage of ears) but I doubt if there is any law against it. Anyway I'll try to make that shure and find out more about the juridical side of this subject.

I'll tell you about as soon as I know.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: menzze
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 03:11 PM


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: GUEST,The Celtic Bard
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 03:47 PM

All these years and folk music is still getting the squeeze? This is starting to sound like the days way back when when you could get killed for singing traditional songs.

Overall, I think it's a real bummer. Folk music by its very nature has always been spontanious, spur of the moment, from the heart, and sung anywhere and anywhen the singers and musicians wanted.

I guess if the British government wants to regulate their own musical heritage into oblivion, that's their business but it sure makes the rest of us a whole lot more miserable.

Good luck.

Rebecca <><

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: menzze
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 06:24 PM

I wrote a request to the German Ministry of Justice to find out if there is anything similar existing here. I'm pretty interested in the answer. Post it as soon as I got it, if they'll answer at all. I've also asked if there is probabely already a European Law which might force England to stop this idiot thing. I keep close.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 11:06 PM

The official view.


The Licensing Manager has passed to me copy correspondence from Mr Gall regarding music performances at the …………….Public House.

The council is aware that the Government published a white paper last year proposing major review of Licensing Legislation. The current legal position however is as regards the licensing of public entertainment is stated in the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 Section 1 and Schedule 1. The act requires that in order to provide live performances of music a Public Entertainment Licence must be obtained from the Local Authority. An exemption from the need to obtain a Licence is contained in Section 182 of the Licensing Act 1964 which includes an exemption for the provision of public entertainment 'by way of music or singing only which is provided …by not more than two performers'.

The Council's Licensing Officers have, on more than one occasion, witnessed performances at the ……….by at least four performers. It has long been established that a Licence is required not just where music is provided by performers to entertain the public but where members of the public themselves participate in music making (Clarke-v- Searle 1793). It is also well established that whether or not a fee is charged for admission to the performance is immaterial to the requirement for a licence (Gregory-v-Tuss 1833).

The entertainment which has been provided at the …………. is clearly public in that it takes place on premises which are open to the public. Of course if Mr Gall and his friends chose to make music together in a private place, whether on premises operated as a private club or in their own homes, a Public Entertainment Licence would not be required although other licensing provisions may apply.

There seems to be some suggestion in Mr Gall's letter that musical performances at ……………….. are impromptu. The Council's Licensing Section is however aware that the musical performances have in the past been advertised in advance in the local press and a sign board at the premises continues to advertise live musical performances on Thursday evenings. It is quite clear that such advertising is intended to attract custom to the premises. …………, operating without a Public Entertainment Licence has enjoyed an unfair commercial advantage over Licensees of the other 65 premises within this Authority who pay an annual Licence fee and abide by the standard conditions attached to all Public Entertainment Licences designed to ensure public safety and to control noise nuisance.

The Council as Licensing Authority has a duty to enforce the law as it stands impartially. I can see no justification for failing to encourage the Licensee of the …………. to apply for a Public Entertainment Licence and, should it become necessary to take enforcement action in the event that unlicensed performances take place on the premises. I understand that the Licensee of the …………. has now submitted an application for a Public Entertainment Licence, which will be considered in the normal way once the 28 day notice period has elapsed.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: GUEST,oh-no
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 12:37 AM

Shambles, yes - but what does it mean?

Anyone recall those home made Tea Chest Bass thingies? I remember thumping on one till my fingers were almost bleeding.

Also who remembers songs like Midnight Special? Delia?, Chewinggum Song by Lonnie Donegan? Keep on Truckin? Top of Ole Smokey?

Who remembers Teddy Boys LOL

Steam Trains?

I almost forgot to ask, what is to become of the Trad Jazz Pubs? I recall one great one in Brighton Sussex. I do hope they don't stop them :(

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 06:38 AM

It means its illegal its immoral or it makes you fat.

1793 indeed.

I do seem to have received permission to make music in my own home, "although other licensing provisions may apply".

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK?
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 06:45 AM

Jazz pubs? Still around: Bull's Head in Barnes, Jagz at The Station in Ascot etc. etc. Lots of pubs round here (Berks/Surrey borders) seem to do live music at least once a week even if it is local metal bands so the problem may be local??
(and see skiffle/Donegan threads Oh-No)
RtS (who still has a pair of drainpipe jeans [but the waistband seems to have shrunk] but lost the sideboards/sideburns some years ago!)

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")

Mudcat time: 31 January 8:56 PM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 2022 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.