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NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK

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The Shambles 22 Feb 02 - 05:03 AM
Fortunato 22 Feb 02 - 08:34 AM
Scabby Douglas 22 Feb 02 - 08:47 AM
kendall 22 Feb 02 - 08:52 AM
Scabby Douglas 22 Feb 02 - 09:00 AM
Fortunato 22 Feb 02 - 09:17 AM
Maryrrf 22 Feb 02 - 09:23 AM
Suffet 22 Feb 02 - 10:20 AM
Maryrrf 22 Feb 02 - 10:22 AM
The Shambles 22 Feb 02 - 11:25 AM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 22 Feb 02 - 03:48 PM
GUEST,JJ 22 Feb 02 - 03:59 PM
Pied Piper 23 Feb 02 - 06:53 AM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Feb 02 - 07:38 AM
Trevor 23 Feb 02 - 08:45 AM
GUEST,JJ 23 Feb 02 - 08:49 AM
The Shambles 23 Feb 02 - 01:25 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Feb 02 - 01:36 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Feb 02 - 01:38 PM
The Shambles 23 Feb 02 - 01:40 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 23 Feb 02 - 10:53 PM
Maryrrf 24 Feb 02 - 12:08 AM
The Shambles 24 Feb 02 - 05:59 AM
greg stephens 24 Feb 02 - 06:03 AM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 24 Feb 02 - 04:06 PM
CRANKY YANKEE 25 Feb 02 - 09:53 AM
Pied Piper 25 Feb 02 - 10:20 AM
The Shambles 25 Feb 02 - 12:54 PM
The Shambles 25 Feb 02 - 07:54 PM
JedMarum 25 Feb 02 - 08:31 PM
The Shambles 26 Feb 02 - 02:32 AM
The Shambles 26 Feb 02 - 02:45 AM
Noreen 26 Feb 02 - 02:23 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Feb 02 - 02:34 PM
Jim Krause 26 Feb 02 - 03:08 PM
Rollo 26 Feb 02 - 05:20 PM
Noreen 26 Feb 02 - 05:31 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Feb 02 - 06:08 PM
The Shambles 27 Feb 02 - 02:05 AM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Feb 02 - 05:19 AM
The Shambles 27 Feb 02 - 02:59 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Feb 02 - 04:39 PM
The Shambles 28 Feb 02 - 05:17 AM
The Shambles 28 Feb 02 - 02:47 PM
The Shambles 01 Mar 02 - 03:28 PM
The Shambles 01 Mar 02 - 03:38 PM
Gareth 01 Mar 02 - 06:53 PM
The Shambles 02 Mar 02 - 01:32 PM
The Shambles 22 Mar 02 - 01:52 PM
The Shambles 22 Mar 02 - 03:11 PM
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Subject: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 05:03 AM

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

Details of yesterday's HIGH COURT ruling can be found on this thread HELP MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY

Please help!


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: Fortunato
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 08:34 AM

Shambles,

It certainly hope to return to the UK, instrument in hand. I'm sorry I haven't followed this topic more closely. Some time ago I emailed, following your request, this minister you mention. But I've lost touch. Could you please briefly summarize for us where things stand and what we might do to help?

Regards, Chance


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: Scabby Douglas
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 08:47 AM

While I support The Shambles in his battle for folk music against the forces of petty bureaucracy and jobsworthiness, I have to point out that the continuing description of the English situation as applying to "the UK" is, to say the least inaccurate.

This is not an "I'm alright, Jack." post, but please let's get our facts straight...

Sessions in Scotland are not under threat, in fact, the session scene is thriving when many folk clubs are struggling. Can't speak for Northern Ireland, or Wales.

But if you do come to Scotland - bring your instrument!!

Cheers

Steven


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: kendall
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 08:52 AM

Doug, when I toured Scotland 11 years ago, I did not bring my own guitar. When I went through immigration the officer told me not to accept any work unless I wanted to be a guest of her majesty's government. I'm sure if I had brought my guitar he would have had some questions. I just smiled, knowing that Gordon Menzies (Gaberlunzie) was going to lend me one of his guitars.


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: Scabby Douglas
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 09:00 AM

I suppose it depends if your passport says "Musician" or "Database Administrator"

Cheers

Steven


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: Fortunato
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 09:17 AM

I suppose I'm naive. I had no idea that ANY COUNTRY would stop a musician at the border and threaten jail time if the musician made music for money. Does the US do that? Canada? Ireland? Wales?


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: Maryrrf
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 09:23 AM

I went through customs in Scotland with my guitar and they asked what I would be doing. I said I was going to a music festival. They asked if I would be playing and I said yes, but just informally (which was true!) and the customs officer told me to have a good time! I was in Glasgow not too long ago and sat in on some great sessions at the Lismore Pub off Byers Road in the West End. I didn't have my guitar with me but they lent me one. I have heard of people being questioned when they went through customs with instruments in the US but if you just say something such as "I'm an amateur musician and I like to jam with my friends" I'm sure that's adequate to get you through.


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: Suffet
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 10:20 AM

If you are coming to the USA and you have been booked for a legitimate ("on the books") paying engagement, the promoter (club manager, concert producer, festival director, etc.) should help you obtain a temporary visa as a visiting guest artist. Otherwise, follow the advice in the previous message.

By the way, after many years of being denied admission to the USA as a security risk, Ewan MacColl was finally granted a guest artist visa in 1970. However, I believe it was for just a few days in-and-out, and during that time his travel was restricted to New York City and its immediate environs.

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: Maryrrf
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 10:22 AM

Yes, but be warned. I know people who have tried the "guest artist" temporary visa and it's hard to get. Unfortunately they make you jump through a lot of hoops.


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 11:25 AM

Apologies to Scotland. If you click on the link you will see that this difference is made clear and will bring you up to date with the current situation generally.

I just could not fit England and Wales, into the box...

This is serious stuff though and the more help/pressure that can be placed, especially from potential tourists will help.

Please help us, in what ever way you can?


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 03:48 PM

For a club (as opposed to a session or singaround in the bar) a PEL is not required unless the public are admitted. Most London clubs are members only for this reason so either arrive with a member or phone / email at least 48 hours in advance.

Out in Essex we have tried to compile a list of members only clubs although a number of organisers are reluctant to confirm or deny their club's status.


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: GUEST,JJ
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 03:59 PM

Shambles,

You say:

Please help us, in what ever way you can

You asked us to email Weymouth Council, which we did. That didn't help at all. The only result was to annoy those concerned, and cause them to dig in further.

I admire you greatly, for trying to protect something that you feel is important, but to be honest, your strategy just isn't working.

What would you suggest we do now?

Please don't say more letters. That doesn't work.

JJ


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: Pied Piper
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 06:53 AM

Good News for visitors,come and play anyway and ignore the law. I play regularly at sessions in England and I'm not going to stop for some silly rule.Where's your sense of adventure?Do you only cross the road when the green mans flashing?.Show some bottle. Babylons to buisy to notice most of the time.As far as I know ther ar'nt any session police(you try getting the council to do anything outside office houres or at the weekend). Where are the licencies in all this? after all they make the brass out of sessions,or is it there usual attitude that there doing us a faver by leting us play. Besides its the landlord who takes the rap, ther not going to arrest us. So keep on playing and if the guy who makes the money is to stingy to pay for the appropriate PEL,TUFF.


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 07:38 AM

The people under threat by the law are not musicians directly, but those publicans who allow you to play. They who can be fined for not havig a Public Entertainment Licence. So, if they think there's a likelihood some pillock is going to apply the law, they won't let you even if otherwise they'd like you to.

It's a stupid law, and the best way of getting them to change it is for prospective tourists to write to the papers and the politicians in England saying it is putting them off comig to England. So do it now - there's a debate about it next Wednesday, which makes this a very good time to do that.

I gather there are stupid laws like that in some parts of the States too. If there are, let's be hearing about them so we can write stroppy letters to your pillocks.


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: Trevor
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 08:45 AM

I thought that this was 'policed by complaint' but we've had reason lately to ask a couple of questions of our local authority and its obviously rung a few bells with them, to the extent that they've written to a colleague that 'if it comes to their attention that blah..blah...blah, they will take action'.

It's not a question of US taking the risk, it's the gaffers who have us in their pubs - or who may not if they decide they don't want to get a PEL.

Is there any onus, incidentally, on the organiser, ie the person whose name is in the sessions listings for contact. And is there an insurance issue - if something was going on without PEL would public liability insurance be invalidated?


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: GUEST,JJ
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 08:49 AM

OK McGrath,

I'll write again, though I'm not conviced it does any good (see my previous message)

Is the blunted letter the only weapon available?

JJ


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 01:25 PM

On the following link you will find a FAQ which should answer most of the questions. Q and A


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 01:36 PM

It's probably more important to write to the papers than it is to the politicians. And of course any time you write to a politicians or an official of any kind (tourists board etc), it i s best to send a copy to the press, and let the recipient know you are doing that.

"Is the blunted letter the only weapon available?" - well the crafty thing here is that it's not the musicians or singers who are threatened, so direct action and civil disobedience isn't a readily available option.

I suppose if some people were to get their act together and have a session in the lobby of a British Embassy or Tourist board office as a protest it might be a way of getting some people in the media interested.

In the big scheme of things it's not a big issue - but it's an irritating state of affairs, and it's one of the things that degrades the structure of social interaction. I'm sure that it has all kinds of unremarked effects - it contributes to a kind of social alienation. (Good sociological-babble there.)

And of course it's not just what might count as folk musi that is held in check, it's all kind of spontaneoud music. The law just gets in the way of people being free and feeling free , and that does matter.

People go on about the distinction between being a subject and being a citizen. Personally I think labels like that don't mean a thing, and they could change it tomorrow and it wouldn't make a blind bit of difference. The real difference is between a society where this kind of arbitrary law is accepted and one where it is laughed out of existence.

The Engllish tradition, of course, is to shrug off the existence of daft laws, while ignoring them much of the time, which I suppose is a lot better than those places where people complain, but then obey the law. But I think this is a daft law too far.


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 01:38 PM

It's probably more important to write to the papers than it is to the politicians. And of course any time you write to a politician or an official of any kind (tourists board etc), it i s best to send a copy to the press, and let the recipient know you are doing that.

"Is the blunted letter the only weapon available?" - well the crafty thing here is that it's not the musicians or singers who are threatened, so direct action and civil disobedience isn't a readily available option.

I suppose if some people were to get their act together and have a session in the lobby of a British Embassy or Tourist board office as a protest it might be a way of getting some people in the media interested.

In the big scheme of things it's not a big issue - but it's an irritating state of affairs, and it's one of the things that degrades the structure of social interaction. I'm sure that it has all kinds of unremarked effects - it contributes to a kind of social alienation. (Good sociological-babble there.)

And of course it's not just what might count as folk music that is held in check, it's all kind of spontaneous music. The law just gets in the way of people being free and feeling free , and that does matter.

People go on about the distinction between being a subject and being a citizen. Personally I think labels like that don't mean a thing, and they could change it tomorrow and it wouldn't make a blind bit of difference. The real difference is between a society where this kind of arbitrary law is accepted and one where it is laughed out of existence.

The Engllish tradition, of course, is to shrug off the existence of daft laws, while ignoring them much of the time, which I suppose is a lot better than those places where people complain, but then obey the law. But I think this is a daft law too far.


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 01:40 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: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 10:53 PM

I doubt there could be a better date! Didn't some bunch of bearocratic arseholes try to ban morriss dancing ladt year, was this the same local council? It would not surprise me at all if they won a tourism awarad.


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: Maryrrf
Date: 24 Feb 02 - 12:08 AM

What is the twisted reasoning behind these beaurocrats not allowing sessions in pubs! I think here in the States you might have to get a license in some places to have paid entertainment - but to have people come in and play for free - what's the problem?!


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Feb 02 - 05:59 AM

I doubt there could be a better date! Didn't some bunch of bearocratic arseholes try to ban morriss dancing ladt year, was this the same local council? It would not surprise me at all if they won a tourism awarad.

Yes, and it is this very same council that is in the running for an Excellence in England award for 'best resort'!!!

This is to be presented at the Royal Opera House in the presence of our Government's Minister of Culture and Tourism Dr Kim Howells. To take place on the day when people in England celebrate their patron saint's day.

Council Bans Morris Dancing


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: greg stephens
Date: 24 Feb 02 - 06:03 AM

There is a reason for the ban on more than two musicians playing. It was found that when people started folk-sessions in pubs back in the 60's, there were several tragedies when regulars were seriously injured in the rush for the door.


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 24 Feb 02 - 04:06 PM

Of course if Sid and Joleen were busted for Upstairs@The Bull then there would be a real outcry. Maybe we should all hit the with suggestions along this line.

(For the benefit of our American cousins this is a reference to a long running UK radio soap)


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 25 Feb 02 - 09:53 AM

Look, I don't know how it is now, but I was stationed in England with the USAF between 1957 and 9161. I was an "Off Duty" singer/musician. I had to get written permission from the Secretary of State in the Home Office for every performance we did off base. BUT, IT WAS NOT HARD TO GET. It was simply a matter of following the rules. We used to perform in clubs, at fetes and even in theater concerts. I sat in with the Vipers Skiffle Group and with Chas. McDevitt and eventually recorded for the Parlophone company. A simple request for permission in a letter was all that it took to obtain the Home Office's Approval. TRY GOING THROUGH PROPER CHANNELS WITHOUT HAVING A CHIP ON YOUR SHOULDER AND YOU'LL SEE HOW EASY IT IS.

Jody Gibson


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: Pied Piper
Date: 25 Feb 02 - 10:20 AM

Hi McGrath You seem to know quite alot about the situation.Do you know ruffly what the cost of a PEL allowing sessions to take place would be?


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Feb 02 - 12:54 PM

Example of fees

Jody things have changed. If there are chips on shoulders, it is on the shoulders of those in the Home Office or now it is the Minister of Culture, Media and Sport. But really the local enforcement od PELs is the main problem at the moment.


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Feb 02 - 07:54 PM

This from: Marianne Elliott. Who was kind enough to permit 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: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: JedMarum
Date: 25 Feb 02 - 08:31 PM

It sounds like the bureaucrats have decided to get serious about collecting their PEL fees. Too bad. Just another way of generating tax revenue.

In the US we don't have those fees, generally - but places that allow performances are subject to publishing restrictions. As we saw here at Mudcat, the 'publisher police' from each of the major publishing organizations pressure performance venues to become due paying members of their organizations. That means, if I own a club, and I let other people perform there, and those people perform copyright protected, published works of other people - then I am bound to pay a fee for the performance of each song. In short, if I am a member of ASCAP, BMI or some other publishing organization - then I am probably covered for payment of the fees through my annual dues. Seems complex and cumbersome - but it is apparently the best way we've worked out to pay authors for the right to play their music.

Does the PEL tax/license cover the same sort of thing, perhaps?


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Feb 02 - 02:32 AM

No.

Session Harrassment for detals.


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Feb 02 - 02:45 AM

Probably the best advice for visitors wishing to play in the UK, as pointed out earlier in the thread, is VISIT SCOTLAND!

Seriously as the Minister for this issue is for both culture and TOURISM and tourism is a big issue, all you have to do is to write and say that you will visit Scotland and not England and Wales.

There is no need to debate the details of a law that this Minister has stated is 'silly', but still remains enforced.

E mail address details can be found in the thread linked to earlier. If you do this, it will help. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: Noreen
Date: 26 Feb 02 - 02:23 PM

See also You Can't Sing Here


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Feb 02 - 02:34 PM

Or Ireland, both sides of the border.

Or the rest if Europe for that matter.

And it doesn't matter if you've no plans to come over anyway - no need to tell a fib either. Just say that you would sooner spend your hiolidays in places where informal music is weocomed and not penalised, and while the law in England discrimates against people making music informally, you can't see yourself paying us a visit.

I'd suggest sending it to Tony Blair, and he can redirect it down to the appropriate people.


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: Jim Krause
Date: 26 Feb 02 - 03:08 PM

But if you do come to Scotland - bring your instrument!!
Cheers
Steven

Scabby, One of my pet dreams is to go accross the pond, fiddle in hand and see if I can keep up after I've sampled the local brew.
Jim


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: Rollo
Date: 26 Feb 02 - 05:20 PM

Maybe I am a little bit simple in this point, but can`t you mobilise your Royals? I would imagine since you still have a monarchy their word would weigh a lot although they don't have to do more than to sign new laws. Hell, if our Bundespraesident held a speech and told our Gouvernment "are you completely run out of good sense or what?" everyone would duck, expecially because normally he doesn´t and it is even considered bad manners if he made a point about daily policy.
But as far I can see this is not a matter of daily bureaucracy. This is a matter of national culture. To forbid a nation to sing is to forbid a nation to be themselves, it is to supress freedom not with bajonets but with paragraphs. Something very, very big seems to run the wrong way on your island, and I guess bureaucracy takes over the reins of gouvernment.
So my advice is: collect signatures in the pubs and on the streets, write a petition to Her Royal Highness and beg for a word of sense against your bureaucrats´stupidity.
And make sure the SUN is informed, that should be your best weapon. *GGG*


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: Noreen
Date: 26 Feb 02 - 05:31 PM

If only, Rollo! I can't somehow imagine the Sun getting on our side, unless we resurrect the idea from an earlier thread of topless morris dancers- and where they fix their bells...

And if there were a musician among the royal family, that might be worth a try... anyone any ideas?


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Feb 02 - 06:08 PM

Good ideas. But letters from America probably carry more weight than petitions.

One thing that people keep getting mixed up about, (people on the Mudcat, people in Parliament, people in the Media) and I don't know how often it has to be repeated. This is nothing particularly to do with folk music as such, or pubs. A Public Entertainment Licence is a legal requirement in England for any live music, in any place to which the public has free access.


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 02:05 AM

On the subject of our Royals-This from Terry Redmond on uk.music.folk

"That's one protest I WOULD NOT support as the DCMS have advised."

1 That occasional PEL licences, street closures and public land permits should be issued free of charge for the Jubilee celebrations. "If it's OK when it suits their purpose (cheap flag waving) it can't be justified at other times".

2 That professional musicians could be paid in food or beer for Jubilee celebrations. "Which I feel is insulting offer. If a musician chooses to give a free performance, fine. Could you envisage the outcry if Local Government officials were ordered to be paid in fish paste sarnies for the same period?"

"Check both those facts on." www.goldenjubilee.gov.uk/content/serve.pcgi/gj/Jubilee_Celebrations/Celebrat ions_Toolkit/celebtk_download/celebtk_complete/toolkitall_e.pdf


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 05:19 AM

I don't think there'd be a public outcry if it were proposed to pay Lcal Givernment Officials in fish paste sarnies (that's sandwiches for those who aren't famiiar wity the lingo). I think it would win widespread approval. If it were extended to central givernment officials I think the approval would be virtually universal.

I hope that the Golden Jubilee can be used as a way of opening up things - I was pleased to see that in his draft letter to MPs Hamish Birchall included a couple of sentences about it: "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?"

Meself, I'm all for street parties and celebrations, and I couldn't give a monkey's whether they are Golden Jubilee celebrations, or Not-the-Golden-Jubilee Celebrations. Or ambiguous ones where you can maje up youir mind.

It's not too late to FaxYourMP - and here is Hamish Birchall's suggested letter:

Today (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: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 02:59 PM

This from DCMS press release website.

http://www.culture.gov.uk/role/search.asp?Name=/pressreleases/role/2002/dcms027

Department for Culture, Media and Sport 2-4 Cockspur Street London SW1Y 5DH www.culture.gov.uk

27/02 25 February 2002

FUNDING ANNOUNCED FOR BRITAIN'S BIGGEST EVER TOURISM CAMPAIGN Plans for a new international campaign to boost the British tourist industry were unveiled today, by Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell. The campaign will be funded and managed by a unique coalition of Government and tourist industry organisations.

The campaign, which will cost up to £40 million, will spearhead the tourism industry's recovery in 2002 and future years. Its core will be a TV led advertising campaign to promote Britain, focusing on heritage, countryside and cities, with a particular focus on Royal Heritage and the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002.

Launching in April, in seven markets, it aims to bring back one million extra visitors to Britain this year. It will run in the USA, Canada and five European countries which together account - in a normal year - for 60 percent of visitors to this country. The extra one million visitors will spend an estimated £500 million.

The campaign will set out all the attractions Britain has to offer its visitors and give people practical help in planning and travelling to Britain.

Three agencies have been short-listed to work on creative element of the campaign which will be jointly managed by the British Tourism Authority and contributing partners from the tourism industry. Those already part of the coalition include the members of the British Hospitality Association (including Hilton, Thistle, Jarvis, Six Continents, Whitbread and Million Copthorne), P&O, the BAA plc, British Airways, American Express, Avis Europe and Stena Line.

Speaking today, Tessa Jowell said. "The Government will give up to £20 million for this new initiative. I am confident it will be matched pound for pound by the tourist industry. Together, that adds up to the largest ever promotion of British tourism. This coalition of Government and the private sector will send a message around the world: Britain's an unbeatable holiday destination - especially in 2002. And the price is right.

"This is a real chance to help British tourism recover from the body blows of foot and mouth, and the aftermath of September 11th."

David Quarmby, BTA Chairman said: "This is a ground –breaking partnership between the industry, government, BTA and the national tourist boards. The huge resources to be deployed will enable Britain to get its message across in what has become a fiercely competitive world market place.

Lord Sterling, Chairman of P & O and Chairman of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Weekend Trust, said: "The Queen's Golden Jubilee gives this unique campaign a marvellous opportunity to encourage foreign visitors to return with confidence this year, and share our celebrations and rich heritage, plus everything else the UK has to offer.

"The major private sector companies involved with tourism will play a key role. The blueprint for the future will rest on the success of this dynamic campaign."

Notes for Editors

1. The new campaign will run in the US, Canada, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland. It will launch in April and run until September 2002.

2. In 2001 there were 23.4 million visitors to the UK, who spent £11.3 billion, this is a drop of 14 percent on the previous year's figure. 3.The campaign will be run by a partnership led by the British Tourist Authority of more than 20 travel and hospitality organisations in the UK. Alongside the core campaign, these partners will integrate part of their own overseas product marketing by linking messages and campaign branding.

4. £19 million of funding will come from the Government: £1 million to exploit the tourism aspects of the domestic UK market. The industry's contribution will be at least £5 million in cash, and up to £15 million worth of related marketing activity.

5. COI Communications has short listed three agencies to develop creative options: They are: AMV, Ogilvy and Mather and BMP.DDB.

6. The British Tourist Authority's role is to promote Britain abroad in order to raise the value of overseas visitors' spending in the UK.

Press Enquiries: 020 7211 6267/6269 Out of hours

telephone pager no: 07699 751153 Public Enquiries: 020 7211 6200 Internet: http://www.culture.gov.uk

Million Visitor Campaign - Tourism Industry Partners

London Tourist Board

Teresa Wickham, chairman of London Tourist Board and Convention Bureau, said: "LTB is delighted to be a part of this major industry and government initiative to bring visitors back to Britain throughout 2002 and beyond. London's tourism industry is still experiencing a substantial downturn and only a long-term marketing effort can address this. Over the last month, LTB has been running its largest ever marketing campaign in the UK and the time is now right to start comprehensive promotion of Britain and London overseas."

BAA plc

Mike Hodgkinson, chief executive, BAA plc, said: "We are delighted to contribute to this valuable campaign by government and the many strands of Britain's tourism industry, to attract foreign travellers to Britain for this Golden Jubilee year."

National Express Group

Supporting the campaign on its objectives, Philip White, Chief Executive of National Express Group, one of the UK's leading transportation groups operating bus, coach and rail services said: "The UK provides a unique culture and diversity of experience to overseas visitors all year round. It's important that visitors realise that it's business as usual with the UK offering the leisure and business traveller endless opportunities.

Avis Europe plc

Mark McCafferty, Chief Executive Avis Europe, said: "We are delighted to be supporting British tourism with our industry partners, the Government and tourist authorities. Tourism is an important part of our national and local economies and the industry employs thousands of people in the UK, so our investment in this campaign will help the communities where we do business."

· Tourism is one of the largest industries in the UK, worth approximately £75 billion in 2000, comprising:

Spending by Overseas Residents £ billion Visits to the UK 12.8 Fares to UK carriers 3.2 Spending by Domestic Tourists Trips of 1+ nights 26.1 Day Trips 32.7

· It accounts for 4.7% of GDP and employs 2.1 million people.

Inbound Tourism to the UK:

· The 25.2 million overseas visitors who came in 2000 spent £12.8 billion in the UK. · The total number of visits for 2000 was 25.2 million, a -1% change compared with 1999, and an increase of 2% in spending to £12.8 billion. · The UK ranks fifth in the international tourism earnings league behind the USA, Spain, France and Italy. · The top five overseas markets for the UK in 2000 were:

Visits Spend Millions (£m) USA 4.1 USA 2,752 France 3.1 Germany 887 Germany 2.8 France 684 Irish Republic 2.1 Irish Republic 570 Netherlands 1.4 Australia 517

Employment:

· There are an estimated 2.1 million jobs in tourism related industries in the UK, some 7% of all people in employment in Great Britain. There are more jobs in tourism than in construction or transport. · Approximately 160,000 of these jobs are in self-employment.

2001 The US terrorist attacks of September 11th, which followed hard on the heels of the foot and mouth outbreak, have depressed travel to Britain. Final figures for 2001 confirm that inbound tourism lost £2billion, a drop of 16%.


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 04:39 PM

So let us hope that Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell ("Culture Secretary" - do you think they know what a ludicrous job title that is?) will be getting mailbags full of polite but forceful letters from Mudcatters.

Actually the full title is Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Like most MPs she doesn't have any arrangements for people to email her, or any website, at least they aren't in the official list produced by Parliament.


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Feb 02 - 05:17 AM

Link to where you can find details of the Commons debate on the subject 27 February 2002

Easiest way to find it is to scroll right downn to the bottom.

A satisfactory reply from the Dept of both Tourism and Culture?


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Feb 02 - 02:47 PM

Friends in the USA can be of great help to us here in the UK and there will not be a better time. Can you please try and ensure that your media are alerted to our plight.

This from Hamish Birchall.

I have sent a letter for publication to the New York times re the above. Their foreign newsdesk e-mail address is: foreign@nytimes.com

If you wish to do the same I think you will need to put a full name and address at the end to stand any chance of publication. This is a copy of the text of my letter:

* * *

Dear Sir/Madam

Dr Kim Howells, Junior Minister for Tourism and Licensing at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in the UK, just made landfall in New York. His presence is part of the UK Government's £40 million bid to entice American visitors back to Britain.

Dr Howell's credentials as an ambassador for traditional culture and its potential attraction to overseas visitors were called into question on 3 December last year, however, when he said in the House of Commons that listening to Somerset folk singers was his idea of 'hell'. The remark was prominently reported in The Times (5 December 2001, p5) and on BBC television and radio.

The bad joke, unbecoming of any MP, let alone a Minister for Culture, attracted opprobrium from leading lights of the UK folk world and beyond. As The Times reported: 'Martin Carthy, the guitarist and singer regarded as one of the most influential figures of English folk music, whose admirers are said to include Bob Dylan, said "Musicians have a tough enough time without a prat like that."'

In the same breath, however, Howells had referred to the 'silly rules' which prevent live music from thriving in the UK. Folk music in Ireland and Scotland is very much a part of their attraction for tourists. But last week an Appeal Court ruling tightened the restrictive live music rules in England and Wales still further. The court's draconian decision is front page news today in The Stage, Britain's premier entertainment industry paper, and is the subject of its editorial.

Right across England and Wales it is now a criminal offence for licensees in 95% of pubs and bars if one singer replaces another in a duo. Unlike other silly laws, this one is vigorously enforced by local authorities. Law breakers face heavy fines and a jail sentence if they risk an acoustic trio in their premises - without first buying an expensive licence. Curiously enough very similar laws operated in New York City until 1988 when jazz musicians had them struck down with a 1st Amendment law suit.

News of heavy-handed enforcement against UK folk musicians spread to the USA last autumn. Many wrote directly to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council expressing disgust at that council's heavy-handed enforcement against an informal folk session in a local pub, The Cove House Inn, Portland. The letters were published in the Dorset Echo (01305 830930) and the story was covered by local television.

Last night in the Houses of Parliament this was raised during a Commons debate led by David Heath, Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Somerton and Frome. He made an impassioned speech setting out these laws in all their absurd glory, and called for Government action. You may read the Hansard transcript from this link (go to end of page, then 'Page Up' a couple of times): http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200102/cmhansrd/cm020227/debindx/20227-x.htm

But Culture Minister Richard Caborn made no firm commitment to a timetable for reform, and had nothing in the way of practical help to offer.

Musicians in Britain would love to see American tourists return in numbers. Many of us have lost work in hotels because of the decline in American visitors. I certainly hope Dr Howells' mission is a great success. But if any of you value live music, perhaps you could send a message to Dr Howells to do a little more on his home patch when he returns: kim.howells@culture.gsi.gov.uk


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Mar 02 - 03:28 PM

Front page news in The Stage.


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Mar 02 - 03:38 PM

This week's new ruling effectively means that folk clubs, as we know them, taking place in 95% of premises without a Public Entertainment Licence are a thing of the past.

The two performer exemption will now require it to be the same two individuals, so no subsequent performers or floor singers will be permitted. They must now also be some question to as to the legality of members of the audience joining in with chorus songs.

Some sensible local authorities may choose not to enforce this (although it would not be safe to now rely on it), but all such clubs are now at risk.

BBC Manchester's Rob Cave is very keen to hear from all establishments and folk clubs at risk. As we need all the help we can get, could I ask you to contact him and to ask others to do the same? The more response he receives, the bigger the story and the more chance we have of influencing and pressurising those in power.

His number is 0161 244 3148.


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: Gareth
Date: 01 Mar 02 - 06:53 PM

Press cuttings update ! Click 'Ere

Gareth


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Mar 02 - 01:32 PM

"The intangible heritage might be defined as embracing all forms of traditional and popular or folk culture, i.e. collective works originating in a given community and based on tradition. These creations are transmitted orally or by gesture, and are modified over a period of time through a process of collective recreation. They include oral traditions, customs, languages, music, dance, rituals, festivities..."

UNESCO Intangible Heritage programme.


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 01:52 PM

Please write with your concerns to the following and to any newspapers. There are not many of us that care so we are going to have to make a great deal of noise.

The current situation is bad enough but the proposed reforms, as they stand, will make things worse.

Many of the 95% of premises that do not have the current licence can and do safely provide small-scale events (two or less performers) but will not be able to do this under the reforms.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Tourism Division

2-4 Cockspur Street London SW1Y 5DH

www.culture.gov.uk

Tel 02072116374 Fax 02072116319

ronnie.bridgett @culture.gsi.gov.uk


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Subject: RE: NEWS for visitors wanting to play in UK
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 03:11 PM

The major licensing reforms, also, will provide a major boost to tourism by sweeping away considerable red tape and making our cities and towns more attractive to visitors from the British Isles and abroad. I hope that my letter allays many of your concerns.

The following is a quote from a letter from the above Mr Bridgett (full letter is on the HELP thread). It does not allay any of my concerns, how about you?

I fail to see how making every place in England and Wales that wishes to hold any form of musical activity subject to even more unecessary red tape, can be sweeping away any red tape either.

Please help us with this madness.


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