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Help Change Music In My Country

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The Shambles 14 Dec 01 - 07:45 AM
The Shambles 14 Dec 01 - 07:48 AM
The Shambles 14 Dec 01 - 07:50 AM
The Shambles 14 Dec 01 - 10:38 AM
The Shambles 14 Dec 01 - 05:57 PM
Mr Red 15 Dec 01 - 09:22 AM
The Shambles 15 Dec 01 - 03:19 PM
The Shambles 17 Dec 01 - 06:10 PM
GUEST,McGrath 17 Dec 01 - 09:19 PM
The Shambles 22 Dec 01 - 06:43 AM
GUEST 22 Dec 01 - 08:51 AM
The Shambles 22 Dec 01 - 10:50 AM
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Roger in Sheffield 30 Dec 01 - 04:38 AM
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Subject: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Dec 01 - 07:45 AM

Over the past year I have struggled against a particular local problem presented to traditional musical activities by the UK's outdated licensing legislation and local authority enforcement of this.

I have received much help from many contributors to the Mudcat (wherever they live) and this has made a real difference. Mainly in demonstrating that I was not a lone voice, representing a minority view that can safely be ignored and dismissed. These letters and e mails have helped to raise public awareness to the threat presented by current legislation to music making generally and traditional activities in particular. Details of this can be found on the following threads and websites.

UK folkies urgent help Minister insults folk music Uk folkies take note the law Gareth's site, local press coverage Trevor Gilson's site, Session Harassment, more general background information CaLM, more (London based campaign) information. The proposed reforms (White Paper)

We all need to ensure that the proposed new legislation actually does improve the situation. There are some pretty big players in these licensing reform and there is great danger that our voice will not be heard. It is vital that it is.

To that end can I ask that the same concerted effort that was directed at my local authority, which was so successful, now be made to inform the Government of our concerns. These expressed from potential overseas tourists seem to hit home and those just expressing incredulity at the attitude here and contrasting them with other country's attitudes, would be effective too.

Please can you all help to change our country's attitude toward music forever?

Kim.Howells@culture.gsi.gov.uk is the minister responsible. The civil servants at the ministry do not seem to think that the public has many concerns for this whole issue. Can you please help to change that perception? If we do not, I fear that the official 'jobsworths', will yet prevail.

UK residents (even folkies) do live in a democracy and do have a voice, we must use it now.

Below is a suggested letter that could be sent to our MPs by email now! Their email addresses can be found through the Parliament website www.parliament.uk, or Dr Howells direct and your local councillors too.

Dear _________


In the House of Commons on 3 December Culture Minister Kim Howells described the two-in-a-bar rule as 'silly'. He added that live music should thrive in pubs and restaurants. But these 'silly' rules have been a serious problem for nearly 20 years, and new legislation is unlikely before 2004.

Musician's opportunities to perform and freedom to make music are restricted by these silly laws, but it is silly local authorities who make this problem much worse either by making public entertainment licences prohibitively expensive, or by adopting over-zealous enforcement policies - or by doing both. This practice is not confined to a few local authorities. It is the norm in London, and in many other areas of England and Wales.

In Scotland, pubs and restaurants can generally put on live bands during permitted hours without a public entertainment licence (PEL). The same safety and noise legislation regulates these premises as in England. Clearly, for live music in this context, this legislation is adequate to ensure the in-built provisions to cover the protection of patrons, performers and the general public, irrespective of PELs.

But the Government's proposed licensing reforms will mean even one pianist in a bar will require prior local authority approval (and a fee).

The local live music scene thrives in Scotland and in Ireland. Local authorities in England and Wales have complete discretion over their PEL fees and conditions. They could revitalise work opportunities for musicians and change the face of traditional music now if they learned from the Scottish example. Instead of proposing to extend local authority jurisdiction over types of live music that are less of noise risk than recorded sound or satellite television, why is the Government not adopting the Scottish licensing example?

The present harassment of musicians, venues and the public, undertaken in the name of official control and revenue, shames our proud cultural heritage, make us a laughing stock and is to be prevented from continuing in any future form.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Dec 01 - 07:48 AM

UK folkies urgent help
Minister insults folk music
Uk folkies take note the law
Gareth's site, local press coverage
Trevor Gilson's site, Session Harassment, more general background information
CaLM, more (London based campaign) information.
The proposed reforms (White Paper)


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Dec 01 - 07:50 AM

CaLM, more (London based campaign) information.. PHEW!


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Dec 01 - 10:38 AM

Safety

 All premises like pubs and bars are 'workplaces' for the purpose of the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974. Since at least the early 1980's local authorities have been the enforcing authority for safety legislation in workplaces where activities including 'entertainment' and 'practice or presentation of the arts' take place [viz. para 9, Schedule 1, Health and Safety (Enforcing Authority) Regulations 1998]. Employers have a statutory duty to undertake risk assessments taking into account all activities on their premises, their impact on employees and members of the public [Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999].

 If a local authority inspector visits a workplace and finds that health and safety is not properly managed they have the powers to request that improvements be made or that activities stop until the required health and safety standards have been met.

 The provision of s 182 cannot be for public safety since it operates irrespective of the number of people on the premises. Nor can it be to reduce noise, because it permits any amount of recorded sound. Even in 1964 amplified music could be very loud indeed. Irrespective of any PEL requirement, there is a statutory framework within which the public safety implications of live music can be adequately addressed

Noise

 S 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 gives local authorities powerful redress against noise nuisance and is used against premises such as pubs and open-air venues.
 The Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993 amended the EPA, and could tackle problems from buskers (i.e. activities in a street).
 The Noise Act 1996 is also available, if adopted by local authorities, for problems with domestic premises.
 Noise conditions can be attached to the renewal of the Justices Licence.
 Town and Country Planning Acts can impose noise conditions on premises.
 Noise at Work Regulations can be used by local authorities to address noise levels inside workplaces.
A new EC directive aimed at reducing noise in the workplace will also apply to pubs and night clubs (Physical Agents Directive: Noise). These provisions under the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 that allow the police to close on-licensed premises – (for up to 24 hours) - that are 'unreasonably disturbing' local residents) are meant to come into force on 1 December 2001. To enable the police or a local authority to apply for a court order to close unlicensed premises which are being used for the unlicensed sale of alcohol, to amend the Licensing Act 1964 so as to allow the police to close licensed premises. In the interests of public safety and to prevent disturbance arising from excessive noise.
 Recent research has shown that noise nuisance is largely due to customers entering or leaving premises, and insufficient attention to noise insulation in night clubs [Noise Implications of City Centre Regeneration, Dr Raymond B W Heng, Sheffield Hallam University, Proceedings of the Institute of Acoustics, Vol 23, Part 6]. Noise problems as a result of live music are not mentioned.

Public order

 The police and licensees share responsibility for public order. It is already an offence to be drunk and disorderly in a public place.
 Under the Licensed Premises (Exclusion of Certain Persons) Act 1980 exclusion orders may be made by a court in relation to a person convicted of a violent offence on licensed premises.
 Various statutes contain powers of entry and inspection for the police and authorised officers.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Dec 01 - 05:57 PM

Q: Who needs a public entertainment licence (PEL)?

A: Anyone organising any public performance of live music virtually anywhere. Without first obtaining a PEL from their local authority they could face a criminal prosecution. Venues affected could include village halls, schools, hospitals, libraries and so on.

Q: Does that mean even a piano recital in your own home could be illegal?
A: Yes, if the public were invited to attend.

Q: What is the penalty?

A: Unlicensed live music is a criminal offence. The maximum penalty is a £20,000 fine and six months in prison.

Q: Is amateur performance exempt from the PEL requirement?

A: No. It is immaterial whether or not performers are paid, or whether admission is free or conditional upon payment of an entry fee. The PEL fee may be waived, however, if the event is for a charitable or educational purpose.

Q: When is an entertainment 'public'?

A: Unfortunately the legislation that defines public entertainment does not define the term public. Case law is therefore the only guide. In Gardner v Morris (1961) it was determined that the number of members of the public that were present was irrelevant. The test was whether any 'reputable' member of the public could gain entry! Broadly speaking if a member of the public could gain entry without discrimination, by payment or otherwise, then the event would be public.

Q: Are any exemptions allowed?

A: Yes, performances that are:

part of a religious service;

in a place of public religious worship (outside London);

on Crown land;

by up to two 'performers' in on-licensed premises (bars, restaurants etc).

Q: What about private members clubs?

A: It is possible to avoid the necessity of a PEL by setting up a private members club. However this can be complicated, so it would be a good idea to get legal advice. For example, if alcohol is on sale on the club premises formal registration must be made to the magistrates court so that a hearing can consider all aspects of the club formation (a minimum required number of members, rules, committee structure etc). This is not an easy option. If alcohol is not to be sold on the club's premises formal registration is not necessary. However it is advisable to set up the club with membership forms, committee, membership list etc, if only to reassure a local authority that it is properly constituted (in case they threatened action on the basis that a particular event was public). But this is not the end of the story. You need to check whether your local authority has adopted the Private Places of Entertainment Act 1967 – if they have, you would need to obtain a different type of formal licence!

Q: If I were to play a guitar in my local pub, and use backing tapes to get around the two musician rule, is that OK?

A: No. Combining even one live musician with any form of 'recorded sound' is illegal in such premises without a PEL. The term 'recorded sound' would also include minidisc. Even MIDI technology, almost universal in modern electronic instruments, is counted as 'recorded sound' by some local authorities.

Q: How many on-licensed premises have PELs?

A: There are about 111,000 on-licensed premises in England and Wales, including all pubs. Only 5% actually hold annual PELs.

Q: Do members of the public count as 'performers' if they participate by singing along during a performance in these premises?

A: Yes, many local authorities interpret the law in this way. They cite case law precedent from 1793 (Clarke v Searle) to support this position.

Q: Does that mean more than two people singing could be a criminal offence in over 100,000 pubs, bars and restaurants?

A: For the licensee - yes, particularly if it was advertised as a regular activity.

Q: What if I engaged one musician and invited different singers to 'do a turn'. Provided only two were performing at any one time, would that be OK?

A: Not according to London borough councils. They argue that only the same two performers should be allowed throughout the course of an entertainment in on-licensed premises. However, a recent case (London Borough of Southwark v Sean Toye, Inner London Crown Court, 9 April 2001) came down against that strict reading of the 'two-in-a-bar rule'. Southwark has subsequently changed its enforcement policy so as to allow more than a total of two performers, provided only two perform at any one time. Westminster, Islington and Camden, however, have indicated that they will not change their 'no more than the same two performers' interpretation. This particular issue was only one element of the case, the other being the question whether MIDI constitutes 'recorded sound' for the purposes of the law. Southwark argued that it does, thereby requiring a PEL if a live singer performs along with it (no combination of live and 'recorded sound' being allowed under s 182.1 of the Licensing Act 1964 - without a PEL). Southwark won that argument, and Mr Toye has appealed. The appeal will now go to the Divisional Court as a 'case stated' - no date has yet been fixed. This appeal may also lead to a review of Inner London Crown Court's decision about 'no more than two performers in total'. Interestingly, Mr Toye's defence is funded by the manufacturer of the karaoke equipment that uses MIDI technology.

Q: Does a pub need a PEL for any form of recorded sound or satellite television?

A: No - provided no live musicians play at the same time.

Q: What the rationale for PELs?

A: To ensure public safety, minimise public disturbance and the potential for crime and disorder - reasonable enough, on the face of it. Regulation is certainly necessary for events that might become dangerously overcrowded, noisy or boisterous. But for premises that already count as 'workplaces', like bars, restaurants and hotels, PELs duplicate existing public safety provision under separate legislation. In Scotland, for example, where exactly the same health and safety legislation applies to workplaces as in England, no PEL is required for live music in pubs during permitted hours. Across the UK external noise is also separately regulated, whether it emanates from a neighbour's hi-fi, a pub or a factory [Environmental Protection Act 1990, Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993, Noise Act 1996, Town and Country Planning Acts can impose noise conditions on premises]. Public order outside premises is the responsibility of the police, and, under the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, new provisions will enable the police or a local authority to apply for a court order to close licensed premises in the interests of public safety and to prevent disturbance arising from excessive noise.

Q: What is the Government doing to reform PELs?

A: It has proposed radical reform of both liquor and public entertainment licensing, and accepts that there is duplication of existing legislative provision for public safety etc. A White Paper (Time for Reform: Proposals for the Modernisation of our Licensing Laws) was published in April 2000. It proposed to end public entertainment licensing as a separate licensing regime. All venues which serve or sell alcohol or provide any entertainment to the public would be required to obtain a 'premises licence'.

The local council will become the licensing authority, and would decide the conditions to be imposed on those activities and on the premises itself, including the opening hours. Local residents and interest groups, such as musicians/promoters, will - in theory - also have a say. Recent comments from the DCMS suggest that local authorities 'would be obliged to consider favourably' plans for entertainment activities. Conditions imposed would be based solely on 'disorder, safety or nuisance factors'. Future licence fees will be centrally set in banded levels, but there will still be scope for local variation. There is, predictably, much debate about the precise fee levels, and the formulae that will be used to calculate them. The White Paper proposed fees that would be considerably lower than many currently set by local authorities. But the Local Government Association is lobbying vigorously to retain the local, discretionary fee structure and for higher fees than those proposed in the White Paper. It is worth noting that in Scotland, licensees do not have to pay anything above the cost of a liquor licence to provide entertainment, whether live or recorded (although noise conditions will be imposed on entertainment beyond permitted hours).

Behind the scenes debate will continue until the Government publishes a new licensing Bill, at which time a Regulatory Impact Assessment concerning licence fees will also be made available to Parliament. The entertainment industry's level of concern about inconsistency in local authority PEL fees led to the publication last year (at the same time as the White Paper) of Home Office Circular 13/2000. This was a formal warning to local authorities that overcharging for PELs could be 'ultra vires', and a warning not to impose, in its words, 'excessive' conditions. It appears, however, that local authorities have taken little notice of the Circular. Most London borough councils, for example, have since increased their PEL fees in line with inflation. Both the licensing White Paper and the Circular are available on the DCMS website.

Q: When will new licensing legislation be introduced?

A: A new licensing Bill was promised just before the General Election, but it was dropped from the Queen's Speech. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, responsible for licensing since 8 June this year, is now saying that legislation will be introduced 'as soon as Parliamentary time permits'. In the meantime it has suggested that it may consider issuing further guidelines to local authorities


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: Mr Red
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 09:22 AM

reading offline. back in 5


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 03:19 PM

5 days? *Smiles*

This link is to BBC TV's Watchdog Programme. You can not only find out how to contact your MP but also see their voting record. http://www.bbc.co.uk/watchdog/knowyourmp/index.shtml


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 06:10 PM

This was posted today on uk.music.folk.

Ah we've had a reply - if not from the minister himself - at least its from a member of the DCMS.

Dear Mr Coe,
Kim Howells has asked me to thank you for your email of 6 December concerning his recent remarks about folk music. Dr Howells certainly regrets any offence his comments may have caused. They were intended merely as a light-hearted observation during typically boisterous exchanges in the House of Commons on the issue of public entertainment licenses.

As he made clear in the House, Dr Howells intends to reform the and modernise our archaic licensing laws to make it easier for pubs and restaurants to play host to folk, and other, musicians.

This Department, and Dr Howells personally, both have a strong commitment to all forms of music, including folk traditions from around the UK and beyond. This Department's support for folk is delivered primarily through the Arts Council of England, which has been happy to engage with the development of the English folk music scene over recent years.

The folk music constituency is making increasing use of the Regional Arts Lottery Programme and the National Touring Programme to support its work. The Arts Council directly funds two development agencies for the sector - the Folk Arts Network and the Association of Festival Organisers - both of which provide information and resources to the sector.

One of the most influential agencies in the folk music sector, Folkworks, is a key partner in the emerging and innovative development at the Arts Council lottery-funded Music Centre Gateshead (over £40 million). This dynamic development incorporates the first Folk Music Degree course in the UK and symbolises the folk music sector's ability to renew, refresh and strengthen its position within the cultural life of the country.

The level of government support for folk music has never been greater. Finally, let me take this opportunity to reassure you that Dr Howells has always been a great champion of live music, and that he is determined to help in whatever way he can to ensure that proper venues for music are in place the length and breadth of this country.

Yours sincerely
Samantha Turner

-- Pete Coe


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: GUEST,McGrath
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 09:19 PM

We're getting somewhere - but it might not be exactly where we want to get to, so it really is important that people push at this time. If they get it wrong this time, it's likely to stay wrong for a long long time.

If you are in the United Kingdom, much better than an email is to send a fax to your MP - it means there is something physical in their letter tray. "Fax your MP is a website that allows you to do it as easily as sending an email - no stamps needed. You just type in your letter, and they send you an email to confirm that they've got it right, and that it's authentic, and bingo the MP get's it the next time he or she looks in the in-tray.

And one crucial thing that is being missed is that all the focus of the promised (well, sort of promised)amended legislation is on premises that are licensed for drinks - thus heading of any development of live music in coffee bars or pizza houses etc. And of course also discriminating against any people who might feel disinclined to make music in pubs, such as devout Muslims (or recovering alcoholics for that matter).


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 06:43 AM

This from Hamish Birchall

Junior Culture Minister Dr Kim Howells yesterday answered two more questions about public entertainment licensing.
The written questions were asked by Nick Harvey, the Lib Dem Shadow Culture Minister.
I have put my own thoughts at the end of each question (italics).
In a nutshell it seems that the Government has made a political decision to avoid implicating local authorities at all costs, in spite of the fact that while the law may be an ass, council enforcement policies are equally to blame:

House of Commons - Written Questions - Wed 19 December 2001 Public Entertainment Licences

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations she has received regarding the issuing of public entertainment licences; and if she will make a statement. [24133]

Dr. Howells: Representations from hon. Members, industry, performers and licensing law practitioners concerning public entertainment licensing law have tended to fall into five main categories. These are concerns about inconsistent approaches adopted by different licensing authorities; the scope for local licensing authorities to impose disproportionate and burdensome requirements on smaller venues; the duplication of the requirements with the fire safety and health and safety regulations; some evidence of excessive fee charging; and the limitations on the exemption from public entertainment licensing for public houses in the Licensing Act 1964. Changes to public entertainment licensing laws require primary legislation, and our reform of the alcohol and public entertainment licensing laws will address these anxieties. We shall present the necessary legislation as soon as Parliamentary time permits.

 The Minister does not really answer the question, which specifically asked about representations received 'regarding the issuing' of PELs - not concerning PEL law. The distinction is important.
 He omits the key facts: while Parliament is responsible for primary legislation, local authorities are responsible for PEL fees, conditions, and enforcement policies.
 There would be no representations if local authority practice were reasonable and consistent.
 The five categories are interesting, but the wording is calculated to obscure the key role of local authorities.
 There is scope in the law to charge nil fees and to set reasonable conditions. The representations arise because disproportionate and burdensome requirements are commonplace, particularly London.
 The fixation on pubs must be knocked on the head: the PEL exemption in the Licensing Act 1964 for two performers, recorded sound or satellite tv, applies to all on-licensed premises including restaurants, hotels, bars, cafes etc where the public can buy and consume alcohol - a total of 111,000 premises in England and Wales.
 Duplicated legislation: Doesn't the Scottish example show that for most entertainments, including live music, PELs are unnecessary in on-licensed premises? Scotland and England share the same health, safety and noise legislation.
 'Some evidence of excessive fee charging': a classic understatement. There is voluminous evidence, including comprehensive MU data. Even the Home Office, when they had responsibility for PELs, accepted overcharging was a serious problem. By way of response it issued a Circular jointly with the LGA (13/2000, 10 April 2000) warning local authorities that overcharging is ultra vires [illegal, basically], and that this could harm the entertainment and tourism industries. This asked that local authorities consider lowering PEL fees, and to review PEL policy. The Circular advised that the Home Office would write again to all local authorities six months later for feedback. We need to know a) whether the Home Office actually did this, and b) if it did, what the replies were.
 While new primary legislation is essential in the long run, live music could thrive if local authority practice was reasonable and consistent. The DCMS could work to achieve this by issuing guidelines to local authorities on best practice concerning PEL fees, conditions and enforcement policies. Steps could be taken now to ensure that enforcement no longer happens merely because there are more than two performers in on-licensed premises. Such enforcement is not only irrational and absurd, but violates the right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention, and is probably unlawful under the Human Rights Act. Section 3 of the HRA requires that local authorities must read and give effect to all legislation in a way that is compatible with Convention rights. The reasonable grounds for enforcement would be if there were a noise complaint or a convincingly established safety risk beyond that addressed by existing safety provision.
 Prohibitively expensive PELs and heavy-handed enforcement restricts on-licensed premises to providing only recorded sound or satellite television, or one or two live performers. It would be sensible to encourage local entertainments that represent less of a risk to residential amenity than either recorded sound or satellite tv. This could be done by charging very low PEL fees where acoustic live music is provided, for example, and implementing public safety under existing health and safety legislation as local authorities are legally bound to do in any case.
 There is no need to wait for Parliamentary time to draw up guidelines. There is every reason to produce them as a matter of urgency. Serious two-in-a-bar problems really began in the early 1980s after local authorities acquired responsibility from magistrates for public entertainment licences.

"Time for Reform"
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to implement the proposals outlined in 'Time for Reform'; what estimate she has made of the time scale for implementation; and if she will make a statement. [24132]

Dr. Howells: We remain fully committed to the proposals set out in the White Paper "Time for Reform" and intend to introduce legislation to implement them. The timetable for implementation inevitably depends on when it will be possible to introduce the necessary legislation in Parliament and this will be done as soon as parliamentary time permits.

The White Paper was produced with little input from performers or their unions. There was, however, plenty of input from nightclub owners, via their umbrella organisation the British Entertainment and Discotheque Association (BEDA) and, of course, from the Local Government Association. It is the LGA that lobbied to extend local authority jurisdiction over all live music, and this is what the White Paper proposes.There will be no exemptions.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 08:51 AM

Interesting site, McGrath.

You linked to the wrong page on the site though:

FaxYourMP.com


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 10:50 AM

Hamish Birchill has provided this written question/answer about public entertainment licences which has recently come to light.

On 11 December Baroness Anelay of St Johns received a written answer from Baroness Blackstone concerning public entertainment licence fees. Being from the Government, the reply is authoritative - to a degree. It is, of course, not only fees but the additional costs of compliance that are the primary deterrent for many premises intending to provide live music. Note that Baroness Blackstone says that the Government does not have data for the compliance costs. That is not entirely true. See my notes at the end (in italics):

Written Answers
Lords Written Answer, 11 December 2001

Public Entertainment Licences

Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the average cost of making an application for a public entertainment licence as borne by (a) the licensee; (b) the police; (c) the courts; and (d) the local authority.[HL1842]

Baroness Blackstone: There are no costs falling on local authorities, the police and the fire authorities, as public entertainment licensing fees allow the local authority concerned to recover the costs of administration, inspection and enforcement associated with licensing regime. The magistrates' courts and the Court of Appeal become involved in public entertainment licensing only if a decision of the licensing authority is appealed, and the courts have the discretion to recover their costs if appropriate.

Existing legislation does not provide for any single fee structure. Public entertainment licence fees are set by local authorities and vary enormously. Generally, most fees vary between £40 and £20,000, depending on the venue or scale of the event. There are some higher exceptions.

For example, rarer large-scale events involving an audience of more than 5,000 can incur fees between £25,000 and £50,000. For permanent premises, renewal is required annually. The main cost falling on the licensee are the fee, the cost of legal representation, if needed, and the indirect costs of meeting the terms, conditions or restrictions attached to a licence. We estimate that the fee and legal costs to a licensee running permanent premises commonly range between £200 and £25,000 per year. However, no information is available centrally on the indirect costs to licensees of compliance with the terms, conditions and restrictions which may be attached to any licence.

While local authorities may charge 'cost recovery' fees how can there be 'no cost falling to the police and the fire authorities'? When a PEL application is made, these bodies have an input. In the case of the fire service this should include a site visit and inspection. Local authorities may recover their costs (although many PEL fees appear vastly to exceed any cost directly attributable to the granting of the licence), but the fire service does not charge the licensee or the local authority for its inspections.

A liquor licence, which is simultaneously a permission to provide any amount of 'recorded sound' or satellite television, costs £30 and runs for three years. Renewal is also £30. The grant of a liquor licence may also involve site visits by the licensing justices and the fire service, and significant admin by the magistrates court.

Long established Treasury policy, I am told, is that all licences should be full cost recovery. Clearly this has not been the case for liquor licences, under successive Governments.

'...no information is available centrally on the indirect costs to licensees of compliance with the terms, conditions and restrictions which may be attached to any licence...'

The 'indirect cost of meeting the terms, conditions or restrictions' of a PEL are often far greater than the cost of the licence itself. In 1997 the Coat and Badge public house in Putney wanted to put on a jazz band. Because there were more than two musicians the pub had to apply for a PEL. The landlord had just completed a £160k refurb, but he was told by Wandsworth council that to meet the PEL conditions he would have to put in disabled toilets, put a vestibule inside the main entrance, make a new safety exit, estimate the number of audience per square metre for the whole forthcoming year, paint all the pipes in the cellar (many installed in Victorian times) in a colour scheme according to what was in them. The cost of the PEL itself was to be £2,300 a year. He sold the pub.

I passed this and other examples to the Home Office in 1999. Dick Laurie, another prominent two-in-a-bar campaigner also sent them similar examples and costs.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 06:06 AM

FRIDAY 10 AUGUST 2001

The Lord Colwyn: To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has responsibility for public entertainment licensing; and how they ensure that any advice they give is consistent. [HL669]

BARONESS BLACKSTONE

Responsibility for public entertainment licensing policy was transferred from the Home Office to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on 8 June this year. The administration and enforcement of public entertainment licensing law remain the statutory responsibility of the local authorities.
The Department offers advice where it can be helpful to enquirers; but the interpretation of public entertainment licensing law is ultimately a matter for the courts.
Whenever it has been considered necessary to issue guidance to local authorities for the promotion of consistency in good practice, the Home Office approach has been to issue circulars to local authorities, thus ensuring that the same guidance reaches all. Where possible circulars have been issued jointly with the Local Government Association. We expect to adopt a similar practice.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 11:31 AM

http://www.users.waitrose.com/~gceilidh/join.html#top is an example (from Essex) of the effects of this legislation on folk activities and the measures that have to be taken to enable them.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Dec 01 - 05:07 AM

Link to the The Times 28 December.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,2-2001601663,00.html>/a>.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 30 Dec 01 - 04:38 AM

Ok I will contact Mr Howells and my MP (who seems to have lost interest) about local carols and local Sword Dancing. I don't have any pictures of the Sword Dancing as it is so popular that I was well back in the crowd with my camera.

The difficultly as always, will be to point out the ludicrousy of the legislation while also making sure that the examples given as evidence aren't damaged by having attention drawn to them.
I was going to send something to the South Riding Folk Network on this, as I think there needs to be some discussion on this subject among their members.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Dec 01 - 09:38 AM

Sunday Times 30/12/01 (news review page 16)
Carol singers are classified as live musicians and therefore must have a licence.
Westminster City Council

Sunday Telegraph 23/12/01

Brian Flynn, the landlord of the Cove House Inn, on the Isle of Portland, Dorset, has accused council officials of being "heavy-handed" after they told him that he needs a public entertainment licence for carol singalongs in his pub.

A happy new year?


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: Gareth
Date: 02 Jan 02 - 04:58 PM

Roger kindley sent me copies of the Presscuttings refered to above.

I have added them to the collection.

CLICK HERE FOR THE INDEX and then see the NEW NEW line, click on the link Teo snipets.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: 53
Date: 03 Jan 02 - 11:58 AM

didn't the beatles come from britian? so there shouldn't be any problems with the music in your country, you guys had the beatles and they mastered everything, just follow their footsteps, and you should be ok. BOB


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Jan 02 - 09:40 AM

The Beatles where gigging before the current legislation which is from 1964 and 1982. May not have been so easy for them if it had been in force?

At next week's Weymouth and Portland Borough Council meeting, I will be again trying to get the elected members to make a democratically made decision on what this borough considers to be the definition of the word performer. As Mr Grainger in the following, states that "In our view, there is no discretion to Council Members over this matter", there does not appear to be much chance of this!

http://www.weymouth.gov.uk/index.html for Mr Grainger's E mail. I am in need of your help, badly. If each council can set its own fees and all other aspects of PELs, it can decide locally who and what is a performer. Indeed they must and the officers have made the decision for them, it is currently anyone who sings in public.

From the Chief Executive Tom Grainger to Jim Knight MP 21/12/01.

In many ways, this is quite a simple subject, made more complicated by some quite extreme interpretations.

As you now, the statutory base for public entertainment licenses is the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act of 1982. Having adopted the provisions of this Act, local authorities must, of course, try to comply with its regulations in a consistent manner. The Licensing Act 1964 exempts premises from the need for a licence if there are two or less performers. The argument put forward by Mr Gall and other musicians is that a number of people gathering informally to undertake musical activities do not count as performers. This is the crux of their argument.

From the Council's point of view, we have consistently argued that each case needs to be considered on the circumstances. Thus, an impromptu sing-song is unlikely to lead to the view that people taking part are performers. This contrasts with the other end of the spectrum whereby there could be a group booked and with clear contractual obligations to perform on a regular basis.

Your question is how much discretion is there to Council Members, as to the definition of 'performer'. In our view, there is no discretion to council Members over this matter. The issue is one of interpretation of legislation. Ultimately, of course, it would be for the courts to decide as to whether the kind of events that take place at the Cove House Inn fall within the definition of 'performing'. Having discussed the matter with a wide range of other licensing authorities, we believe the argument that the circumstances in which entertainment takes place at the Cove House Inn is so far removed from the extreme of the impromptu, informal gatherings, that there cannot be an exemption in law. It is, of course, a matter for the Licensee and the Licensing Authority to reach a view on and, as far as I am aware, there is no dispute between these parties. It is a third party that is challenging the approach. If there was a dispute with the licensee, then the Council would need to decide how strongly it believed its case was before it tested the matter in court.

As always, there are little complications that need to be taken in to account. In particular, there is some case law dating back to the nineteenth century which Mr Gall and other musicians quote, which seems to imply that under certain circumstances people taking part in regular performances do not count as performers! Equally, there is other case law to suggest that they do count as performers.

Overall, therefore, we concluded some time ago that on the evidence available to us the activities that are undertaken at the Cove House Inn are such that the exemption in (to?) the 1982 Act does not apply. It was this interpretation which led a number of people to call on Councillors to take a policy decision on the matter. As the report to Committee last June suggested, and I have emphasised in various pieces of correspondence, the policy issue is whether to consistently enforce the provisions of the Act.

You do ask whether better guidance from Government would help. Notwithstanding the need of a general review of the Public Entertainment Licence system (which the officers of the Council generally support) members will be formally asked to take a view on whether to support a change in the law, at the next Social Community Committee. We are not convinced that any further guidance is necessary. To us, the law is clear and inevitably in interpreting the law, there will be some grey areas on which local discretion and judgement is best used. The Cove House Inn is not a grey area. We had some objections to the recent licence renewal which have been resolved. The current system is actually working. It is probably worth repeating that there is no evidence that musical activities within the Cove House Inn (or anywhere else in the Borough) have been adversely affected by the requirement to have a licence.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jan 02 - 07:22 AM

Incidently, at this same meeting the members who according to their Chief Executive have no discretion on what is a performer in their borough, are being asked for their discretion for a 10% increase in PEL fees!

It is probably worth repeating that there is no evidence that musical activities within the Cove House Inn (or anywhere else in the Borough) have been adversely affected by the requirement to have a licence.

Had the licensee not applied for the licence when faced with the threat of prosecution from the council and a possible £20,000 fine or 6 months in prison, the session would have been lost. It is credit only to the licensee that it was not. For Mr Grainger to attempt to gain any credit for this from our MP is quite unacceptable.

Many licensees do not agree to pay and valuable musical activities are not just adversely affected by not being able to ensure the event will be able to take place, as this was, but are prevented altogether.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jan 02 - 09:19 AM

The following from the Chief Executive Tom Grainger to Jim Knight MP 21/12/01.

In many ways, this is quite a simple subject, made more complicated by some quite extreme interpretations.

No disagreement with this but it is Mr Grainger who is making these extreme interpretations.

As you know, the statutory base for public entertainment licenses is the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act of 1982. Having adopted the provisions of this Act, local authorities must, of course, try to comply with its regulations in a consistent manner. The Licensing Act 1964 exempts premises from the need for a licence if there are two or less performers. The argument put forward by Mr Gall and other musicians is that a number of people gathering informally to undertake musical activities do not count as performers. This is the crux of their argument.

Of course the participants are not performers, but case law supports the argument that these activities taking place on a regular basis are not even to be considered as public entertainment and therefore not even subject to the PEL requirement. Brearley –v- Moreley.

From the Council's point of view, we have consistently argued that each case needs to be considered on the circumstances. Thus, an impromptu sing-song is unlikely to lead to the view that people taking part are performers. This contrasts with the other end of the spectrum whereby there could be a group booked and with clear contractual obligations to perform on a regular basis.

The only event Mr Grainger is not prepared to insist on a PEL for is one that is over before he is aware of it. If it is repeated or he knows about it in advance he will insist on a PEL to enable it. I prefer the word informal, impromptu is the council's word. One of the meanings of it is unrehearsed! One could argue that even a regular session, with its varying content, personnel and resulting dynamics is always an impromptu event. The regularity of the activity is not a factor under legislation anyway. The Cove session was prevented from taking place without a PEL not for any of these factors but because the number of participants exceeded two, and these were considered as performers.

Your question is how much discretion is there to Council Members, as to the definition of 'performer'. In our view, there is no discretion to council Members over this matter. The issue is one of interpretation of legislation. Ultimately, of course, it would be for the courts to decide as to whether the kind of events that take place at the Cove House Inn fall within the definition of 'performing'. Having discussed the matter with a wide range of other licensing authorities, we believe the argument that the circumstances in which entertainment takes place at the Cove House Inn is so far removed from the extreme of the impromptu, informal gatherings, that there cannot be an exemption in law. It is, of course, a matter for the Licensee and the Licensing Authority to reach a view on and, as far as I am aware, there is no dispute between these parties. It is a third party that is challenging the approach. If there was a dispute with the licensee, then the Council would need to decide how strongly it believed its case was before it tested the matter in court.

Each authority decides it's own PEL regime. If the members are being asked for their discretion on the lever of the fee, as they are at the next meeting, they must have discretion on what the borough considers to be a performer. The dispute with the licensee must have ended according to Mr Grainger when the licensee was encouraged to apply for a PEL. Encourage being the council's word for issuing threats of prosecution.

As always, there are little complications that need to be taken in to account. In particular, there is some case law dating back to the nineteenth century which Mr Gall and other musicians quote, which seems to imply that under certain circumstances people taking part in regular performances do not count as performers! Equally, there is other case law to suggest that they do count as performers.

The little complications to Mr Grainger view is the actual wording of the legislation and the existing case law. The case law Mr Grainger claims to support his view refers to dancing and dates back to the 18th century, 1793! Whilst this recognises a conflict and which might appear to most people to be a 'grey area', the following conclusion, reached only by his officers, just ignores the case law from 100 years later. Overall, therefore, we concluded some time ago that on the evidence available to us the activities that are undertaken at the Cove House Inn are such that the exemption in (to?) the 1982 Act does not apply. It was this interpretation which led a number of people to call on Councillors to take a policy decision on the matter. As the report to Committee last June suggested, and I have emphasised in various pieces of correspondence, the policy issue is whether to consistently enforce the provisions of the Act.

This conclusion was made when the single officer decided the activity was a public entertainment and counted past three, actions that were later endorsed by the members when, they were instructed by the officers that to do otherwise would not be legal.
The earlier statement that: "From the Council's point of view, we have consistently argued that each case needs to be considered on the circumstances", would seem to contradict with "the policy issue is whether to consistently enforce the provisions of the Act". If indeed they were actually doing this.

You do ask whether better guidance from Government would help. Notwithstanding the need of a general review of the Public Entertainment Licence system (which the officers of the Council generally support) members will be formally asked to take a view on whether to support a change in the law, at the next Social Community Committee. We are not convinced that any further guidance is necessary. To us, the law is clear and inevitably in interpreting the law, there will be some grey areas on which local discretion and judgement is best used. The Cove House Inn is not a grey area. We had some objections to the recent licence renewal which have been resolved. The current system is actually working. It is probably worth repeating that there is no evidence that musical activities within the Cove House Inn (or anywhere else in the Borough) have been adversely affected by the requirement to have a licence.

To deduce from the year-long travesty, that was the Cove House Inn's attempts to obtain a valid PEL and the problems highlighted from this, that there are any positive elements at all and to attempt to claim that the system is working is simply incredible. Or would be if I was not now so used to such nonsense.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Jan 02 - 02:28 AM

The outcome of the second council meeting 15 January 2002.

Mr Locke belittled the whole issue. 'Too much officer's time had already been spent on a matter that was only of concern to one individual', He did not read Chris Lonergan's or your letter. He contemptuously said whilst throwing them on the desk that as fast as they answer one E mail another comes in. He told the members that they were not going to use suggested recommendation contained in them, even though to my knowledge the members were not made aware of what they were, although they had a pre-meeting where this may have been 'discussed'.

Under questioning he had to admit that there was a LGO complaint being investigated. That led to discussion about whether they should be talking about the matter at all. He told them they could. He was questioned about if WPBC had to hold the current definition and he just repeated that no other authority held a different one and vaugely implied that they had consulted other experts.

I gave my councillor 3 questions to ask. One to legal, one to Mr Locke and one to Sue Allen. As Mrs Earnshaw (legal) was not there, after reading out the first one, he just handed them all to Mr Locke and asked for written replies! The other members not even knowing what the questions were.

He asked his big one. What was a performer? That led to the usual rubbish from the Licensing Manager about the nature of the events witnessed at the Cove and general merriment about the committee being performers. They did not seem to understand that it did not matter what their opinion on the subject was as the officers had stated there wa no discretion available to the members on the definition of the word performer.

At the point when one of them was saying a word for our poor Licensing manager, "who had taken a few knocks and was doing a fine job", I lost my patience with them and left. Whatever rubbish they were going to decide, I didn't have to listen and be insulted any longer.

So much for local democracy!

At the item before they had just made a big U turn, when they decided that their previous decision, not to build on any allotment land, was made on insufficient information!

Roger


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Jan 02 - 10:57 AM

Account of the meeting, by Martin Lea in the Dorset Evening Echo 16 January.

Councillors have agreed to lobby the Government in a bid to change licensing laws which campaigners in Dorset fear could threaten live music performances.

But Weymouth and Portland Borough Council's social and community committee decided yesterday that officers should not enter into further discussions with protesters as the issue had taken up too much council time.

As the law stands, pub landlords must have a licence for more than two people to perform live on their premises. Protesters say the law is unfair and threatens live music in pubs and smaller venues.

The campaign has gathered pace in Dorset since a dispute over a folk club at the Cove House Inn on Portland.

The committee heard from folk musician Roger Gall who urged councillors to direct their attention to the matter.

Councillors agreed to write to the Government to ask for a relaxation of controls on live music performances.

But they accepted the advice of Ian Locke, the director of tourism and corporate services, who said the debate had taken up valuable resources when it was not even a major issue for the council.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Jan 02 - 10:59 AM

Have you had a reply from Mr Locke yet Dave?


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Jan 02 - 02:12 PM

But they accepted the advice of Ian Locke, the director of tourism and corporate services, who said the debate had taken up valuable resources when it was not even a major issue for the council.

It has been pointed out to me that it must be a bit of an 'own goal', for the person in charge of this to describe something that is considered to be such a vital aspect for tourism, not to be a major issue?


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Jan 02 - 04:03 PM

Back to the wider issue. This letter was sent from Kim Howells to Graham Dixon, who kindly agreed for it to be posted here.

I appreciate Mr Dixon's concerns about the current legislation relating to alcohol and entertainment licensing which is outmoded and restrictive. As you may know the Government is proposing to introduce a new streamlined licensing system, details of which can be found in the White Paper 'Time For Reform" published in April 2000. This can be read or downloaded from the DCN MS web-site (www.culture.gov.uk/new-responsibilitiesliquor-index.html).

I am committed to introducing a licensing reform Bill as soon as Parliamentary time is available. The new proposals offer a more flexible and simplified system of licensing for alcohol and public entertainment and will promote greater opportunities for musicians and other performers.

The current requirement for separate licences for the sale of alcohol, public entertainment and rate night refreshment will be replaced by a single integrated system whereby venues will be required to obtain one premises licence to cover all such activities from the local council. When considering whether to introduce conditions on the premises licence, the local council would be required to obtain any views from the police, local residents and other interested bodies before coming to a decision. This procedure would allow musicians and other performers to submit comments to the council in support of any ptans by venues to provide live entertainment. The new system would allow the operator to put forward plans for entertainment activities which local councils would be obliged to consider favourably, and would only be able to impose conditions on disorder, safety or nuisance factors.

Under this scheme, there would be no place for the "two in a bar" rule mentioned by Mr Dixon, which states that no more than two musicians can perform in premises licensed to sell alcohol without that premises having to obtain a pubLic entertainment licence. It has widely been recognized that one performer with powerful modern amplification can generate greater sound levels than, say, a trio of folk musicians.

As a comparison, the new system would be very similar to the one currently operating in Scotland.

I should finally explain that the fees currently charged by local councils for public entertainment Licences is by law only required to cover their cost of adrninistering the system LocalLy. It cannot therefore be considered as an additional source of local taxation.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Jan 02 - 05:03 PM

Good in parts - But... Yet again Kim Howells ignores the possibility that people might actually want to sing and make music in places where alcoholic drink isn't on sale, such as a coffee bar or a hamburger joint - and currently the PEL restrictions don't even allow one musician to perform in such a setting, unless a PEL is in existance.

The modification that is proposed appears to mean that, unless it is appropriate for a drinks licence to be provided, no entertainment licence can be provided either.

But, please people, especially American people, write to the local paper in Weymouth, The Dorset Echo, and tell them that as a tourist you feel pissed off at Ian Locke the director of tourism saying you don't matter, and they needn't expecxt to see you this summer. Here is the paper's website - why not send an email now from the link on the webpage? Right now.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Feb 02 - 08:45 AM

On the front page of Friday 16th February's local paper was the following news.

In April this year 2002 there is to be a glittering award ceremony at the Royal Opera House attended by culture/tourism minister, Dr Kim Howells.

This event is to present local authorities with Excellence in England awards.

The nominations were from members of the public and are based on resorts that have improved over the last five years.

Astonishingly Weymouth and Portland Borough Council are battling with Hastings and Whitby for the award of 'Top Resort'!

The tourism chief (not Mr Locke), was quoted as saying "a number of projects have been developed with the support of Government and European funding which have made the borough a market leader".

HELP


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: Tone d' F
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 04:47 AM

As I suggested at Tenterton racial and cultural discrimination


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 05:15 AM

There are a number on 'irons in the fire' on many angles such as these, we shall just have keep up the pressure and wait and see. If there is anything you can DO on the above suggestion or any other, please do it.........

But do you think a council's officers be rewarded with a reward for exellence, by 'market leading' in enforcing a policy that is questionably legal, morally repugnant and culturally danaging?


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 04:30 PM

Excellence in England Awards


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 06:28 PM

Is this a bad dream?

The reward for damaging traditional English activities is to be presented to my council on St George's Day!


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 06:06 AM

The other council involved in the practice of preventing sessions and also expecting to be rewarded for it, is Oxford City Council.

Oxford's bid to become a European Capital of Culture 2008, a bid backed by the two universities, Southern Arts, the City and the County Councils, has just taken a big leap forward.

Joe Simpson has been selected to co-ordinate the bid. He will be working in Oxford during the next ten months and will prepare the City's submission by the end of March 2002. His task will be to create a shared vision involving the different partners and the local community and to develop this vision into a successful bid. Some of the options he may consider when putting together the bid include extending the City's range of music venues, providing wider access to the city's magnificent architectural heritage and running a festival of different art forms and community activities across the county.

A short list of the top contenders will be published in the autumn of 2002, with the winner being chosen by the Prime Minister in spring 2003. The Government will also award a mark of cultural excellence to all the cities short-listed and these will become recognised centres of culture.

- from Southern Arts Newsletter 34, July/August 2001


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 06:06 PM

David Heath MP (Lib Dem, Somerton & Frome) has secured an adjournment debate on reform of public entertainment licences in the House of Commons on Wednesday 27 February:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmfbusi/20225a01.htm

This is, I believe, the first time PELs will be the subject of a timetabled House of Commons debate.

It was David Heath's question in the Commons on 3 December that provoked the now notorious comment by Junior Culture Minister, Dr Kim Howells: '...For a simple urban boy such as me, the idea of listening to three Somerset folk singers sounds like hell...'

Mr Heath had pointed out: '...Does the Minister not recognise that live music in pubs and inns has the potential to make a major contribution to tourism in rural areas, which we have already said we want to promote?'

It was odd that Dr Howells did not take the opportunity to develop this important point. A few weeks earlier he had remarked: '...Somebody told me the other they had calculated that even in remote areas the hospitality industry and the tourism industry between them is worth four times that of farming, and many times that in terms of employment. So it is absolutely essential, I think, that we do not sit back, we do not delay too far on this but we say "Let us see how we can help the industry by deregulation"...' [Select Committee hearing on licensing deregulation, 16 October 2001]

In fact, deregulation as a means to remedy the absurd iniquities of two-in-a-bar was rejected some years ago. Meanwhile, all the Government will say about a new licensing Bill is that it will be presented 'as soon as Parliamentary time permits'.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 02:37 PM

This from Hamish

No more than two...

From today only the same two performers will be allowed during the course of an evening's entertainment in bars and restaurants that don't hold a public entertainment licence (PEL).

In a judgement at the High Court this afternoon it was decided that the two-in-a-bar rule, which applies in over 111,000 liquor-licensed premises in England and Wales, must be interpreted as strictly as possible. This means that if a pianist and a singer are playing, it becomes a criminal offence for licensees to allow another singer (or indeed any other musician) to do a turn. Unless, of course, a PEL is first obtained from the local authority.

MIDI also implicated...

The High Court judgement also ruled that MIDI files constitute 'recorded sound'. Under the two-in-a-bar rule (s 182.1 of the Licensing Act 1964) no combination of 'recorded sound' and live performer is allowed without a PEL being in force. The implication is that use of MIDI files during a live performance, even if only one live performer is involved, will be illegal unless the premises is covered by a PEL.

The case (London Borough of Southwark v Sean Toye) arose when Southwark successfully prosecuted former landlord Sean Toye for allowing karaoke without a PEL in September 1999. The karaoke manufacturer funded the landlord's defence because, he argued, the MIDI files in use did not count as 'recorded sound' as usually understood, and therefore the s 182 exemption should apply.

This frustrating judgement may, in the end, speed up reform. I hope that David Heath MP will be able to raise it in the House of Commons during his adjournment debate on reform of PELs next week (Wed 27 February).


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: Gareth
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 06:35 PM

Sorry - The Lobbying Power of the LGA (Local Government Association) will ensure that PEL's will remain within Council Mandate.

Whilst personally I would prefer to see the "Scots Option" the proper way to go, the fact remains that " Jobsworths" will see PEL's as a means of empire building, and career structure. I regret that if you give a Council Official a means of power they are reluctant to give this up.

Still "Nil Carborunum Iligitmi" - We'll keep plugging away.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 04:49 AM

PLEASE HELP!

The above ruling means in effect that any folk club taking place in the 95% of UK licensed premises without a PEL, who books a duo, will have to ensure that no other (floor) singers perform at all.

Or the licensee of the premises will face a possible maximum £20,000 fine or 6 months in prison.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 04:53 AM

To non those UK people who plan to to visit us, and to whom making folk music is an important part of that visit, you may as well leave your instruments behind.

Please help!


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: kendall
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 08:47 AM

I left mine at home, and borrowed a guitar from Morticia's husband, Steve. No worries. I'm not clear on who is behind this "law". Who benefits? Have you folks ever heard the word "Revolution"??


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 06:41 PM

Link to an acticle in The Stage, about a small but possibly significant move from one the very highest charging local councils, towards at least recognising the problem.

However, The sense of control is so imgrained, that they are really quite incapable of addressing a problem where anyone but council officials can see obvious solutions.

The Stage 21 Feb 2002


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 07:26 PM

So a "nominal" fee means £250...That's not going to encourage a pub which just might be willing to allow a few mates to play a tune or two in the corner.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 02:18 AM

It is "nominal" for the full rates that Camden charge, but it is still £30 more than what Weymouth and Portland charge for a full PEL(small capacity and charged per head)!!!


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 02:24 AM

Camden proposals for the full official awfulness of all the proposals and you will find this one buried on page 14 (look for licensing, if the link does not take you directly there).


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 02:30 AM

I don't have Camden's fees (yet) but this link to charges in the South and West regions will give some idea of the variation and the hugh hyke for large outdoor events. They could not be using this high fee to discourage such events coming to their area, could they????????

PEL Fees


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 01:38 PM

A suggestion was made on uk.music.folk that a musical day of protest take place and wanted a suggestion for a date.

How about St George's Day?

On that day my council Weymouth and Portland, who have the most unyielding approach to preventing sessions, will be up against Scarborough (including Whitby) and Hastings and for tourist award for Excellence in England.

This to be held at the Royal Opera House, in the presence of Dr Kim Howells......................

Can anyone suggest a better date?


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Feb 02 - 08:03 PM

From: "Marianne Elliott". Who was kind enough to allow me to post this.

Belper Folk Club has recently been 'raided' by the police. We had Sensible Shoes booked who are a three people group. We have been running the club as a membership club, but we have been making people members at the door.

Two people came to the gig and I made them members, they bought tickets and stayed for about a quarter of an hour. Paul, the landlord, had a call from the police a few days later, and he said that they wanted to meet with us, and him.

We met one of the policemen who had come to the club, and he explained that as the pub didn't have an entertainments licence, we could run the club as membership only, but that people had to have registered as members at least 24 hours in advance, and preferably 48 hours.

A singaround session counts as more than two performers, so this applies to the singaround nights as well. Apparently Amber Valley Council are taking the matter very seriously, and we cannot afford to take any risks.

After a lot of discussion we have decided to move the club out of Belper to a new location with a PEL. But there has been a folk club at the Old King's Head for about 30 years (on and off), and it seems such a shame, but we felt that we couldn't carry on where we were.

Marianne Elliott


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Feb 02 - 02:59 AM

This from Hamish Birchall

It is vital that as many MPs as possible contribute to the Parliamentary debate tomorrow (27th FEB) on reform of public entertainment licensing. The more MPs that participate the more likely it is that the debate will be reported in the press and on television. Media coverage is essential to raise public awareness and to convince the Government that this issue cannot be ignored.

You can fax your MP quickly and easily from the web via this very useful free service: www.faxyourmp.com

Here is a suggested draft text to adapt as you see fit:

Dear Sir/Madam

Tomorrow (27 Feb) David Heath MP will lead an adjournment debate in the Commons on reform of public entertainment licensing. This legislation regulates public access to live music and dance throughout England and Wales. But the law is in a mess. Its draconian interpretation and enforcement by local authorities threatens to kill off any form of spontaneous music and dance.

In a traditionally liberal and tolerant democracy it may be difficult to accept that harmless music-making or dance is treated so harshly. But the fact is that 95% of licensees would be committing a criminal offence this evening if they allowed a trio or quartet to perform on their premises, or one person to dance. Even Morris dancing in a pub car park, or garden would be illegal. That is because only 5% licensees currently hold a public entertainment licence. The maximum penalty for unlicensed entertainment is a £20,000 fine and six months in prison.

An Appeal Court ruling last week makes the situation even worse (London Borough of Southwark v Sean Toye, Adminstrative Court, 21.2.2). Without a public entertainment licence it will now be illegal for licensees to allow one singer to replace another in a duo, or for a solo pianist to perform after a duo. Members of the public will now count as 'performers' if they sing along for their own amusement. This is undoubtedly bad law, but it is strictly enforced across the country.

What does this imply for Golden Jubilee celebrations? Will thousands of licensees face heavy fines and a jail sentence for allowing parents to dance with their children in a pub garden?

Can I ask that you participate in tomorrow's debate and encourage the Government to take immediate action.

Yours faithfully



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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Feb 02 - 03:18 AM

For those reading this, who want to help, who do not have an MP, I am thinking of those outside the UK, you can be of great help to put some pressure on.

Kim.Howells@culture.gsi.gov.uk is the Minster responsible for both Culture and Tourism. he has already described the law as 'silly', but it remains enforced, as detailed above. But is does not apply in more sensible Scotland.

You do not need to go into details, just write and indicate that you will be visiting SCOTLAND and not England and Wales until the situation is changed.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Feb 02 - 05:39 AM

Kim.Howells@culture.gsi.gov.uk


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