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Sessions under threat in UK PART 2

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The Shambles 18 Apr 01 - 03:04 AM
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Subject: Sessions under threat in UK PART 2
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Apr 01 - 03:04 AM

As the second thread on this subject Sessions under threat in UKhas reach 100 posts, it is time to start a new one.

I have a feeling that this problem go on and will get worse and may have to, before it gets better?


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Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK PART 2
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Apr 01 - 03:16 AM

Click here if you wish to start at the start? Help etc


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Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK PART 2
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Apr 01 - 01:46 PM

(Grateful for this interesting point made by Trevor Gilson in a recent letter).

According to my local council, the session requires a PEL because there are more than two 'performers'. This they say is to ensure the public's safety and interests.

Should Robbie Williams and Brittany Spears form a duo and 'perform' in the same place? A PEL would not be required as there would be only two performers.

The then REAL issue of public safety would have to be dealt with the other, already exsisting legislation.

The very same legislation that already ensures public safety for the members of the public at the session without a PEL.


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Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK PART 2
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Apr 01 - 04:08 PM

I have eventually received a reply to this letter

I would like to respond as follows to Mr Locke's points, and request answers from him, to the questions posed in them.

1. The licensee has to deal with the situation as best as they can. They will have to conduct an ongoing relationship with the council's officers and their considerable power. A power that they hold on behalf of the public and which the public has trusted these officers with. The issue is slightly different for those members of the public and performers whose rights are not considered of any importance, in an issue seen to be only between the authority and the licensee. True criminals are only convicted after a trial and an opportunity to speak in their defence, a right denied to those members of the public whose musical activities are involved here. It makes little difference that those members of the public are not the ones under threat of criminal prosecution when it is the activity that is being made illegal.

Would he agree that it is especially so in this case, as their activity is made illegal by virtue of only one individual's unchallenged opinion (no matter how expert they are considered), as to the nature of what has been witnessed?

Given that the House of Lords eloquently expressed this on 11 December 2000. And Lord Bassam of Brighton, speaking there on behalf of HM Government, expressed doubts that there were any councils that would act in the "peculiar and perverse way', against members of the public. Would he not agree that it is plainly absurd that anyone should face a heavy fine or a possible jail sentence for allowing people to join a pub sing-along? If he does not think it absurd, would he please ask the members of the council if they agree with him or the House of Lords?

Would Mr Locke state that the council's legal department has fully considered the full implications to them of taking action to prevent performances and free cultural expression, where there are no noise or safety issues, in the context of Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights?

2. My implication may have been that the council's strict interpretation of the legislation belonged to attitudes more in keeping with 1901 rather than 2001. It was the WPBC's Mrs Earnshaw, in her letter of 08/02/01 that quoted 'dusty' legal precedents dating back to 1793 (Clarke v Searle).

However it is ancient legislation: Licensing of public entertainment began with the so-called 'Disorderly Houses' Act of 1752 (or 1753). The reasoning behind the 18th century legislation was to prevent a rising tide of robbery and mugging at entertainment events. However, the reasoning behind the legislation today is to a) maximise public safety and b) minimise disturbance.

Mrs Earnshaw, in her of 22/02/01letter to Mr Burchall also states that: "In the present case the Authority responded to a complaint from the public that the premises were holding unlicensed performances".

In the light of the fact that it has now been established that
There were no such complaints made about our session.
That it has been established that there were no complaints made against our session at all.
That it has been established that there is no evidence that there was ever any complaint made about the establishment staging unlicensed events.
That it is clear that irrespective of the nature of the entertainment, the informal and participatory traditional session in question presents no more risk to public safety in this case, than daily occurs in any other public house or workplace, that the council has a separate statutory duty to ensure public safety in.

Would Mr Locke now agree with Mrs Earnshaw's view stated in her letter of 22/02/01 to Mr Birchall (below), about the council's action. Also her counter to a request, for one basic human right to be exercised, being dismissed, with reference to an absolute right (which was not ever requested)?

"I would argue that the action taken in this case was reasonable, necessary and proportionate. As you will of course be aware the right to freedom of expression contained in article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights is not an absolute right. The Authority's decision to insist on a PEL in this case was made in the interests of public safety, control of nuisance and the prevention of crime and disorder and is consequently justified."

3. As I am sure that Mr Locke is aware, the council has considerable room for discretion before the provisions apply.

Do not the provisions for a PEL apply only after it is established that an event is staged as Public Entertainment and that there are more than two performers are providing that entertainment?
Do those provisions apply when the council's officers can clearly see that it is organised by the customers as a participatory event for their own entertainment, like a quiz night or a darts match?
As members of the public do not yet need a licence to express themselves, by talking together in a public house. Does Mr Locke consider that they now need one to express themselves by singing together in a public house?

4. Mrs Earnshaw stated in her letter of 22/02/01 to Mr Burchall: "Regular weekly music performances were being held on public premises. (I do not share your doubts that musicians who attend an advertised event and perform to members of the public in a public place can be anything other than performers)"

If no one responded there would be no entertainment.
Would it not be a very strange public entertainment indeed and one unlikely to make much money, if it relied on musicians to attend, in response to an advertisement?
I am surprised that the Public Enforcement Officer would have been able to spare the time to visit our session In December. They should have been far too busy at that time, inspecting all the advertised Christmas Carol Concerts; being staged in public places i.e. churches.
For would not Mrs Earnshaw's definition turn, the choir and all those members of the public who attended to sing carols, into performers, meaning that these events and possibly all church services, would require PELs?

Do church carol services regularly feature in the Public Enforcement Officer's visits and will they do so from now on?

Mrs Earnshaw may have her opinion on musical matters but despite her superior knowledge of the law, cannot change it.
As further in the same letter she wrongly states: "Performances involved at least four musicians there fore the exemption under Section 182 of the licensing Act 1964 did not apply".

This belief that these two words are interchangeable further reduce the strength of the council's case in bringing this action. For does not the Act refer to performers only?

The number of participants being given as "at least four musicians" gives an impression that one could just be describing a band. When the number of participants involved is higher, it begins to give the impression that must be a huge band or may in fact begin to sound like not a band at all?. There have been as many as fifteen to twenty musicians playing depending on the time or the particular evening. If one includes members of the public, clapping (or singing) along as performers, as the council does, many more participants.

Apart from early on in the evening, I can not think of any occasion where there have been as little as four participants. I accept that for the purposes of Section 182, it is only necessary to be able to count past three. However the council's officers have stated the minimum amount of 'performers' witnessed by the Pubic Enforcement Officer. Could I request that Mr Locke obtain and supply the maximum amount of performers witnessed, with both the date and the times of the visit?

Mrs Earnshaw's and I am sure Mr Locke's knowledge on legal matters is far in excess of my own. However, I would suggest that they both but struggle to answer this question because they make certain assumptions and may not have the required knowledge of musical and performance matters? However I consider myself to be the world expert on my own musical activities. I feel quite confident, as one of the musicians described above, that if given the opportunity. I can demonstrate to Mrs Earnshaw's, Mr Locke's and the entire council's satisfaction. The very clear distinction between when I am making music as a customer or member of the public and when I am performing, in the very same establishment.

I would hope that, if not just for my sheer persistence alone I would I have already established at the very least some doubts on the certainty of the council's actions? I feel that I have made a good case for the review of their action and more importantly the policy to future events, resulting from this action.

5. It is widely accepted that such strict enforcement of the kind that WPBC have taken, has resulted in the closure of many live folk sessions across the UK where there have been no noise or safety issues.

Can this really in the public interest?

The reason for these closures is the full costs of a PEL are prohibitive for small-scale events, which do not usually make much money for either the licensee or musicians. And yet this kind of local music-making, which strengthens the community, would seem to be preferable to other kinds of entertainment that are far more likely to contribute to crime and disorder in the neighbourhood.

Unfortunately the action has been taken. Is Mr Locke now saying that this action is now regretted and the council do not now stand by Mrs Earnshaw's statements in her letter 08/02/01? For this letter was received after, I was informed by Councillor Booth, in December 2000 that the council were investigating how other council's were viewing this matter.

If there is now such an investigation, taking place can I suggest that it is conducted more thoroughly than the first one was, that I be informed of its progress and the nature of its outcome?

I have supplied a report on how another council treated this matter. I have supplied this document before. In the absence of any comment on this, from the council's officers, I would be grateful if I could receive comment from Mr Locke on the common-sense way that Oxford City Council have recently found to deal with this issue. After action was taken by its officers and it was brought to the attention of the council members?

None of the responses I have received from the council since December 2000 have given any encouragement about their future treatment of this issue. The council's officers have stated and continue to defend a policy that considers that members of the public are performers. This despite the tangle this places them in, the full implications of adopting such a policy and the very little benefit to anyone of such a policy.

There have been and there are other such sessions taking place in the borough on a regular basis in (the usually smaller), premises without PELs. Is Mr Locke now saying that the council would treat these in exactly the same way? If I were now to issue a complaint against these premises? Or in light of the fact that a complaint does not appear to be a requirement for action to be taken, if they should be unwise enough to place an advertisement, for participants in the Dorset Evening Echo?

As the council's officers have not given any indication that any of my written approaches have cause them any doubts at all about their actions. More importantly that they have not given any firm indication that they intend to treat future such events any differently than they have this one. Until they can do this, I would be most grateful if I could finally receive an answer to my repeated request to the council, made via its officers, its members, and my MP? It is that I am given the opportunity to address the council to inform them as to the true nature and value to the community of this and other traditional folk music events?

If a horse expert should classify a zebra as a horse, largely because they have the equipment to deal with a horse, the effects could well be dangerous and the zebra would always know it was not a horse.

Just yesterday (which was my 50th birthday), I saw a advert on the 'tube'. It contained a quote "backward thinking has now met its Waterloo". The most significant part was that this was written over a series of huge photographs of a zebra!….. I hope that it will turn out to be true, a good omen and a very welcome birthday present?

Roger Gall.


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Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK PART 2
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Apr 01 - 04:12 PM

This was the reply.

Thank you for your email.
I apologisr for not replying to your earlier email. This matter has already been very well discussed in correspondence with officers of the Council. I see little ponit in arguing the matter back and forth.
As I see it the law is clear and the Council are enforcing it as fairly and evenhandedly as it can.
Your arguments would be better addressed to Government as a change in the law would seem to be required by you.
If you are aware of other authorities who are interpreting the law differently then let us have details and we will discuss it with them.
I am bound to say that we have not found any authority including Oxford who do interpret it differently.
When we have all the information we can reasonably get from other authorities then I will be reporting on the matter to our Committee and I would be happy to notify you of the date so that you could address the Committee ( subject to the Chair,s .approval which I am sure would be given).


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Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK PART 2
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Apr 01 - 04:16 PM

The council can be contacted here. Weymouth and Portland Borough Council. They have a chat room too.


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Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK PART 2
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Apr 01 - 05:03 PM

This memo was also attached.

I have been in contact with Oxford City Council who Mr Gall cites as taking a more lenient approach. Folk musicians did address their Environment Committee and members treated the request to allow unlicensed participation folk evenings with sympathy. The Council's legal and licensing officers were asked to advise and have now submitted a report which states that the law is clear on the subject and such events are public performances and must be licenced. I have a copy of their report.

Oxford also tell me that they have contacted other authorities referred to by musicians as taking a different approach and in every case it turns out that wherever officers are made aware of these events they alert the licencee to the need for a PEL.

Sue Allen is circulating other licencing authorities via the internet to see whether there is anyone who differs in their approach.

I wonder what she will say to them when she finds one?

If this is the way our councils now form policy, so much for democratic local government………


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Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK PART 2
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Apr 01 - 12:06 PM

I have today sent the following.

Thank you for your email (19/04/01) and apology for not replying to email (12/04/01) (copy of a letter 29/03/01)! As you say the matter has been discussed. The quality of that discussion, from the council's officers, has resulted in the quantity of it from me. The discussion will continue, as this member of the public will not be prevented from adequately informing the council members of the facts, to enable them to make the correct policy for the borough.

You are indeed entitled to express your personal opinion that you see "little point in arguing the matter back and forth".
 However I am equally entitled to expect answers to the questions I politely asked you, in reply to the 5 points you made in your letter to Mr Ian Bruce MP. As you are confident of the legal support for your officer's actions, it should present no difficulty for you to convince me of that support, by answering those questions.
Are you not employed and obliged to continue to try to satisfy this member of the public, certainly after selecting those 5 points in reply to Mr Bruce?
After I have received these answers I have no intention of entering into any further exchanges with The Director of Tourism.
Can you please advise when I will be receiving those answers and what stage under WPBC's complaint's procedure you would consider us to be at, should these answers not be forthcoming?

You are also entitled to your personal opinion that "the law is clear".
 However I am equally entitled to my opinion that the particular law that you refer to, is not clear, does not apply in these circumstances and is not required to ensure the public's safety and interests. There are other laws, rights guidelines and regulations relevant to this issue that I have been advised are clear. The Director of Tourism has not selected these to address. Simply to keep repeating that "the law is clear", will not make it so, or make it apply in these circumstances.

You are entitled to your personal opinion that "the Council are enforcing it as fairly and even-handedly as it can".
 I am entitled, as a council tax payer and an expert witness with first hand experience of the effects of this enforcement, to strongly maintain that it is not. For the any of council's officers to advise their members to enforce a law that prevents the public's right of freedom of expression, where there are no issues of noise or public safety and then to claim this policy can be fair and even-handed is laughable. Or would be if the implications of such actions and statements were not so dangerous. This "fair and even handed" policy is described as "peculiar and perverse" by Lord Bassam of Brighton speaking on behalf of HM Government in the House of Lords.

You are entitled to your personal opinion that, my arguments "would be better addressed to Government" and that "a change of law would seem to be required by you?"
 I am entitled to my opinion that my arguments are best addressed to those that have wrongly enforced this law (despite HM Government's direction that they should not) and who then choose to hide behind this law. Insisting on wrongly advising council members that they have to take this action. This law is to be changed. But no change to the present law has been requested by me here, or is required to bring about a satisfactory conclusion to this matter of council policy.

However unlike The Director of Tourism, the onus is not on me to legally prove my opinions. My opinions are not resulting in legal action being threatened or the right of freedom of expression being prevented.
 I am a musician. I am not a campaigner a professional letter-writer nor a constant complainer. I object to The Director of Tourism's insinuations, especially in letters to Mr Bruce MP, remarking on the amount of correspondence from me on this subject.
The need to attempt to sideline a difficult problem by implying that the problem is in the nature of the individual raising the issue is I feel, yet another example of the weakness of The Director of Tourism's case.

Regretfully this volume and variety of correspondence has only been necessary because, of the various unhelpful attitudes of some of the officers in The Director of Tourism's department. Who have appeared to follow The Director of Tourism's example of not recognising their responsibility to acknowledge and to reply to, polite and considered correspondence from concerned members of the public, to enable a timely and satisfactory outcome to all parties.

 They have gone to great lengths to find reasons or excuses to demonstrate why they cannot help.  The investigation, a little late in the day, in to how other councils act, is a perfect example of this.  I requested, in December 2000 that the issue be taken to a meeting of council members.

My wish is to see a satisfactory outcome for the case in question and for WPBC to hold a sensible future policy on how, these participatory events can be encouraged and certainly a policy that will be decided democratically.

It may well be considered that, the council's officers give advice to the council members. However what they may give to members of the public, I would consider to be the council's officer's opinion. I do not need to know The Director of Tourism's personal opinions, unfortunately that is just about all I have received, in one form or another, since December 2000. Unfortunately little of these opinions have actually been addressed to the problems of, and intended to help these small-scale participatory folk events. That was the ONLY issue in December 2000.

 My opinion, for what that is worth? Is that I have found the Director of Tourism's views to be unhelpful, inflexible and have become the main problem These views are totally at odds with the spirit expressed (as follows) by those I find whose views I can respect.

"I believe that the quality of our arts and cultural industries, our creative talents are central to the task of recreating the sense of community.. I value too the folk group in the local pub in Trimdon Village." Tony Blair, Mansion House speech, 03 February 1997.

"If the arts were more widely appreciated among the masses - is that a phrase one is allowed to use in our classless society? - I would say there would be less crime, more understanding between various parts of the community and perhaps more national pride." Lord Renton, House of Lords debate on the arts, 18 March 1998.

"Live music - particularly in pubs and clubs - is at the heart of Britain's thriving music industry... we hope [licensing reform] will provide many more opportunities for people to experience live music." Janet Anderson, Culture Minister, Dept Culture Press Release, 5 July 2000.


How any other local authorities may view this issue has very little direct effect on those members of the public unfortunate enough to be living under this current policy in this borough.
Are WPBC's officers to advise the members to adopt a bad policy based on the fact that other authorities may also adopt a similar bad policy?
 Whatever these views, may turn out to be, I hope this will not influence or prevent WPBC from holding the right policy for both the residents and visitors to Weymouth and Portland?
 For what is preventing WBPC from taking the lead and setting an example that other authorities would follow?  Could it possible be the resulting unpopularity of WPBC's officers, with officers from other authorities, if they should be seen to advise the council members to set the only good and sensible example?
 Other councils were referred to by me mainly to demonstrate that, members do decide their own PEL policy.
 WPBC's members to do not have to take their own officers bad advice. I hope that they do not think they have to accept other authority's officer's bad advice and turn that in to policy for Weymouth and Portland.


The only opinions that really matter on this issue are those of the elected members of the council. They will hopefully deliver a sensible decision on future policy after receiving advice from their officers and after hearing a first–hand account from an expert witness, as to the nature of the event in question.

For I have continued to pursue this matter as a witness. In order to present evidence, to enable the council members to decide the nature of the event and decide if this law should apply. I will then accept that whatever they decide, will then be the council's policy. Rather than having to accept that the council's officer's opinions are forming this policy.

After asking for this since December 2000, Via Councillor ……., more helpfully with other councillors and our MP, I am pleased to note the first written reference to this matter going to a meeting of council members and look forward to future notification and details of this. I would like my thanks to be conveyed, in advance to the Chair and also my request that if possible, for my presence at any further meetings on this subject, should resolution not be possible at this one. I trust that these meeting will enable all aspects of this issue to be discussed openly? Not a meeting just to 'rubber-stamp' The Director of Tourism's often expressed personal opinions, as WPBC's policy.


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Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK PART 2
From: Big Mick
Date: 21 Apr 01 - 12:12 PM

I have sent a communication, Roger, and BCC'ed you. Mudcatters, if the need arises, we should be prepared to flood them with letters from folkies all over the world. This is one of the things that I indicated we could do if the need arises. They must believe that we are all looking at this.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK PART 2
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Apr 01 - 01:59 PM

Thanks Mick

This from the Chief Executive of WPBC. Tom Grainger.

Thanks for your email. I am aware of the issues you raise and that you have been pursuing the matter with various officers. Since you sent your eamil, but before I read it, I understand Ian Locke responded to you. There is little I can add to the advice Ian and the other officers have already given to you. Our view was and remains that the policy issue is whether we try and enforce existing laws in a fair and evenhanded way. We believe we are doing so.


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Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK PART 2
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Apr 01 - 02:07 PM

I have repied as follows.

Dear Mr Grainger

I am pleased to see that WPBC' officers have now at last agreed and accepted that, what they advise the members, as to how they should enforce existing law, is the policy issue in question here.
Up to this point they have maintained that they have no discretion. A little strange whilst at the same time supposedly 'investigating' how other authorities officers advise their members, to enable these councils to make policy on how they should enforce the same existing law?

WPBC's officers may offer "advice" to the council members. Since December 2000, I consider most of what I have received from them and in particular from The Director of Tourism, are their personal opinions.

If "advice" it is considered? My opinion it that is poor "advice" being given to the council members. "Advice" that is designed to prevent embarrassment and inconvenience to council officers, rather than "advice" that is designed for the benefit of the electors of and visitors to Weymouth and Portland.

I note with some horror, Mr Grainger's opinion that preventing the public's freedom of expression is considered "fair and evenhanded" . That this opinion forms "advice" to enable the council members to make policy is even more disturbing.

Would Mr Grainger advise:

1. It is "fair and evenhanded" when, is has taken since December 2000, to grant a request, that a matter of policy questioned by a member of the public directly affected by the council's officer's actions, be discussed by a relevant policy making meeting of the council's members?

2. It is "fair and evenhanded" when, the evidence of this member of the public, both a direct witness and an expert witness to the crucial aspects of the nature of the activity in question, has been prevented since December, from being heard by a relevant policy making meeting of the council's members.

3. It is "fair and evenhanded" when, in glaring contrast to the above treatment, the council's action was taken on behalf of the public, when there was no complaint ever made by the public about the activity in question and where there were no issues of noise or public safety? Where penalties for the licensee could be a £20.000 fine or a six month, prison sentence for allowing a sing-along in a public house?

4. It is "fair and evenhanded" when, the council's officers continue to badly advise the council's members to hide behind an unsound interpretation of a law? When the leading authority in this area of the law, Dr Colin Manchester (author of Entertainment Licensing – Law and Practice, Butterworths) has been consulted on precisely this point and he is adamant that there is "no decided authority to support this interpretation of s 182"?

5. It is "fair and evenhanded" when, the council's officer's "advice" to WPBC's members, is just to follow the "advice" from other council's officers not employed by or responsible to the electors of, or addressing the particular problems of the residents and visitors to Weymouth and Portland.

6. It is "fair and evenhanded" when the requested meeting is further delayed to enable this "advice" to be obtained?


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Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK PART 2
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 May 01 - 05:38 AM

Because during the period set aside for public comments, there were objections to the licence applications, a hearing was set up for 09/05/01.

None of the objections were to the session. None of the technical bodies had any concerns or required any additional modifications to the application.

The objections and the Environmental Section's response to those objections (their recommendation that loud outside music cease at 06.00pm), all referred to a one-day outside charity concert, involving amplified bands.

In fact these objections had already been dealt with a year ago and should not have delayed the granting of the PEL. A temporary licence was obtained then, with the condition that the outside amplified music moved inside at 06.00pm.

As we had written in support of the application, during this period, I managed to obtain a copy of the report prepared for the hearing and the right to speak at the meeting. This was not easy. For despite the fact that the public notice had asked for 'comments' the subsequent hearing procedures referred only to 'objectors'.

This was to prove academic however as at 08.30am 09/05/01, I received the following Email. "This is just to inform you that the objectors have now dropped their objections to Mr. ....'s application and have reached a compromise with him. This morning's hearing is therefore cancelled.".

The hearing report was distributed to all the council members. This report created a lot of smoke. Had the hearing taken place, it would have been demonstrated that there was no fire. It will however prejudice the meeting of the Social and Community Committee on 05/06/01, which will decide council policy toward participatory folk events.

Despite the fact that the application was only for the "bar and rooms either side". The licence was granted with the additional permission to ""hold one outdoor charity event each year, which must cease no later than 06.00pm".

This means (according to the Licensing Manager), that no other entertainment, even a mime act, can now take place outside. If you were see the unique position of the pub in question, which has no residents to the west at all, except fish, you would see how senseless this condition is.

Except for Morris apparently, although this is not worded in the licence. For according to the Licensing Manager, Morris takes place on ground that is not part of the pub premises? Although this is the very same ground that the stage for the outside charity event takes place. I wonder how she would have viewed it without that excuse?

I have asked if they consider that advertised Morris events are considered as the licensee providing public entertainment and thus subject to a Public Entertainment Licence. Can I see the advent of two person Morris sides?


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Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK PART 2
From: vindelis
Date: 24 May 01 - 07:48 PM

Yep, they dance jigs.


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Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK PART 2
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 May 01 - 04:19 PM

From: Tim Walker [mailto:Tim@efdss.org]
Sent: 25 May 2001 14:49

IF YOU WANT LIVE MUSIC VENUES TO SURVIVE, LIVE MUSIC NEEDS YOU - ON THURSDAY 19 JULY!

The Government's proposals for licensing reform are not guaranteed to end the absurd treatment that many local gigs receive at the hands of local authorities.

The Home Office estimates that only 5% of licensed premises currently hold annual public entertainment licences. In effect, this means that a performance by three or more musicians would be a criminal offence for the proprietor in 95% of the UK's recreational premises.

This ludicrous situation is under-reported in the national press – but that could be changed. What are you doing on the afternoon of Thursday July 19th? Would you be interested in participating in an event to celebrate live music, and to draw media attention to the bizarre "two-in-a-bar rule"?

The message to the Government will be that future licensing legislation must recognise the value of live music for the whole community.

HOW WILL IT WORK?

The plan is that a variety of bands, which must be unamplified and portable (so no grand pianos!), will turn up at prearranged bars and pubs in central London and put on an 'impromptu' performance. In fact, venues will have been selected and briefed beforehand. Bandleaders will carry an info sheet advising licensees that if they don't hold a public entertainment licence the band should be asked to leave - in the nicest possible way, of course.

A full media briefing will precede the event and it is hoped that both national press and TV will attend, following some bands from venue to venue. Musicians of all kinds are needed. The event is being co-ordinated by the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS), and is endorsed by the Musicians Union, Jazz Services, and the Campaign for Live Music (CaLM).

The afternoon will close with performances outside Number 10 Downing Street, before crossing the road to the Red Lion for a drink followed by a party at EFDSS. The event is expected to run from 11.30am to 5.00pm.

If you are interested in participating please forward contact details to livemusic@efdss.org .

Please state what instrument(s) you play, the style of music, and whether you will bring along other musicians. Remember to include your full name, address and phone number as well as email address.

EFDSS will be dealing with public liability issues. However, if you join EFDSS for £26, you and your group will have full public liability insurance cover all year through the EFDSS insurance scheme. If you are interested, contact us for details.
Please pass this email on to anybody you know who feels strongly about live music

.

We look forward to hearing from you, Rupert Redesdale Development Officer & Tim Walker Chief Officer EFDSS
Cecil Sharp House
2 Regents Park Road
London NW1 7AY
Tel 0207 485 2206
Fax 0207 284 0534


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Subject: RE: Sessions under threat in UK PART 2
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 May 01 - 08:29 AM

There is nothing to stop those who are unable to travel to London from organising their own local protest

.

I would like to invite anyone who wishes to protest, help and make some music to The Cove House Inn, Chesil, Portland, Dorset on the 19th July.

As you may or may not know this session has been subject to The Local Authority preventing it, on the grounds that it is a public entertainment provided by the licensee, consisting of more than two 'performers'.

The licence has now been obtained (after six months of wrangling) but senseless conditions have now been placed on outside entertainment.

Senseless, as in the past there were objections made to an outside charity event, involving amplified music, that took place once a year. These were dealt with a temporary licence, issued last year..

Senseless, as there are no residents to the west of the pub except fish.

Senseless, as the condition now prohibits any outside entertainment, even a mime act or a story-teller.

To bring attention to this in particular and the situation generally, I would suggest a protest where folk events take place outside and are recorded as being asked by the licensee, to come inside.

So all dance sides, storytellers and musicians etc, are invited to what we hope will be a very enjoyable protest, in a quite wonderful spot, where the children can take to the beach.


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