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What is folk ? - OFFICIAL

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The Shambles 24 May 02 - 05:36 AM
The Shambles 24 May 02 - 05:45 AM
The Shambles 24 May 02 - 05:27 PM
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The Shambles 25 May 02 - 01:27 PM
The Shambles 25 May 02 - 01:29 PM
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Watson 26 May 02 - 04:49 PM
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Subject: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 May 02 - 05:36 AM

Please feel free to copy and circulate this as widely as possible – for time is short.

What is Folk? OFFICIAL.
From: ronnie.bridgett@Culture.gsi.gov.uk

Sent: 20 May 2002 16:09In any event, we are not aware of a precise definition of what constitutes "folk music".

"We", presumably meaning the civil servants at the DCMS, may not know, but the following shows that the Government does know. Perhaps they should get together on this matter, before it is too late?

Parliamentary Questions 3 Dec 2001
Dr. Howells: We are straying into very dangerous territory. For a simple urban boy such as me, the idea of listening to three Somerset folk singers sounds like hell. Having said that, the hon. Gentleman is right: music does enliven many pubs and restaurants. It should thrive. Silly rules are preventing it from doing so.

Is Dr Howells actually aware that he is pushing through even sillier rules in his proposed reform, rules that will do even more damage to the music his Government appear to dislike so?

Or is it for this reason they do not care about the many events, folk clubs and venues that have been lost to silly rules in the past, the ones currently under real threat and the ones that will be threatened by the proposed reforms?

Where even one singer will be illegal in all premises without the premises paying for a licence which specifically details, well in advance the exact nature of the 'entertainment' to take place.

But where noisy late night (and early morning) crowds attracted to sports events on Satellite TV, will still not come under this licensing requirement.

What is going on at this Department - one set up to look after culture?

Please help to try and find out, before it is too late?

The following link is to the White Paper. Which after all is the starting point

. http://www.culture.gov.uk/new_responsibilities/liclaw.html

The following is the current position of EDM 1182. Has your MP signed yet?

http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=1182

The following link is how you can instantly fax you MP. All you need is your post code. http://www.faxyourmp.com/

For those (outside the UK) who do not have an MP, but would also like to help - Mr Bridgett's E mail address is given above.


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 May 02 - 05:45 AM

More info and discussion here No Tradition in pubs 2 (PELs)


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 May 02 - 05:27 PM

The following from Eliza Carthy

They can't possibly believe that this new law is going to help anybody at all. How can a landlord who has never heard of folk music imagine as he opens his new pub that there might be a folk club there in the area in need of a venue?


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 May 02 - 01:19 PM

94 MPs have now signed David Heath's public entertainment licence Early Day Motion 1182.

Only about 400 MPs are eligible to sign EDMs so this is a very significant level of support. If you are experiencing two in a bar problems in your area, the local press may now be more interested in covering the story, linking it to EDM 1182. If your MP has signed so much the better.

Has your MP signed? Check using the link below: Parliament is in recess from next Monday (27 May) returning on Monday 10 June, so the total may not rise as steeply as it has done over the last two weeks. Fax your MP direct from or write c/o House of Commons, London SW1A OAA. Please pass this message on to other musicians interested in the public entertainment licence issue. Thanks again to those of you who have already contacted your MP or the media about this.


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 May 02 - 01:27 PM

Sorry messed up above.



Fax your MP


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 May 02 - 01:29 PM

Early Day Motion 1182


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 May 02 - 06:38 AM

information is the key, if you really wish to help, please try and insure that the following or similar information is copied and made available at all the events/festivals you may attend, and is also made available to the media. Richard has made a start in the Kent area and this approach does seem to be making a difference.

THREAT TO FOLK MUSIC & DANCE

Richard Bridge, Forge House, High Street, Lower Stoke, Rochester, Kent, ME3 9RD mclaw@btinternet.com
With thanks to John Morgan, barrister, and Hamish Birchall, special adviser to the Musicians' Union

The government is "reforming" all licensing law. This includes the "2-in-a-bar" rule* (which has been used to close folk clubs and nearly wrecked one Broadstairs). You might have thought, after the fuss about this rule, the "reform" might aim for something sensible. But it won't.

The new law will ban even one folk musician or dancer performing (or a session) in a pub without a full local authority public entertainment licence. There will be a related rule for unlicensed places (like village fetes, or a public performance in your own house). No exemptions at all –not even a meeting with the EFDSS to discuss the threat to OUR cultural heritage – because unamplified folk music might be noisy and a public disturbance and a threat to safety! What do they think it is? Why do they think pub licences for pubs won't cover this anyway?

The government says that the new licences will be so cheap and easy that they will benefit everyone. I could go into the detail, but let me just say…..YEAH, RIGHT! We all know how helpful government is! They quote a letter from the Association of British Jazz saying there will be more for everyone. But they know it was written before anyone realised there were to be no exemptions. Still they dishonestly quote it about folk clubs and sessions.

What Can You Do?
Write fax or email to your MP, write or email the minister Kim Howells, write or email Ronnie Bridgett the civil servant in charge (addresses below).
Keep pushing the EFDSS to support the MU.
[If you don't know what to say, email me (above) and I'll email back a draft letter.]
DO IT NOW AND KEEP AT IT UNTIL THE GOVERNMENT BACKS OFF

*. The 2-in-a-bar rule says that all premises (licensed for liquor or not) need a licence for all music and dancing – but not for live music with only 2 performers (and a recent case says this means 2 throughout the entire evening, so one now and two later, or two now and one punter joining in the chorus is illegal).

Draft Letter… Dear MP/Minister

Government plans to "reform" licensing law will in effect ban all folk music or dance without a licence. This is unacceptable. The protesters about the current "2-in-a-bar" rule wanted sensible exemptions. They did not want their music and dance regulated out of existence. The "reform" proposed will vandalise an important part of our cultural heritage. The suggestion that folk music/dance is a noise or a nuisance or a threat to public order or safety and must be licensed is offensive and may be contrary to human rights. The fact that the government refused to meet the EFDSS to discuss the problem is almost unbelievable.

The government pretence that new local authority licences will be so cheap and easy that all will benefit is frankly silly. Licensing is never cheap quick and easy.

This philistinism is completely unnecessary. A suitable exemption is vital. Music provided by (say) up to 100 performers (or the licensed capacity of the venue if less) without amplification should not need a licence. Keyboards without external amplifiers or speakers should count as acoustic for this purpose. There is no need for the law to regulate folk music and dance. The government's position is making the UK the laughing stock of the civilised world. Please confirm that you agree.]

Addresses
Kim Howells – kim.howells@culture.gsi.gov.uk - or The House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Ronnie Bridgett – Ronnie.Bridgett@culture.gsi.gov.uk - DCMS, 2/4 Cockspur St, London SW1Y 5DH

Your MP – www.faxyourmp.com - or [name/constituency], House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

EFDSS - www.efdss.org - Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent's Park Road, London, NW1 7AY

MU - www.musiciansunion.org.uk - 60/62 Clapham Rd London SW9 0JJ FOR HAMISH BIRCHALL


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 May 02 - 04:37 PM

This letter to Michael Portillo MP from Dr Howells, makes a new and rather important observation (in bold).

Thank you for your letter of 17 February, enclosing one from your constituent, ………….. of ……………………, who is the licensee of the 606 Club. Mr …… has expressed concern over the current public entertainment licensing laws.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the adjournment debate in the Commons as I had to be in the United States of America to promote Britain's hospitality, leisure and tourist industries in the Golden Jubilee year. However, I am aware of what was discussed at the debate.

Although it would be inappropriate for me to comment on individual cases, I would like to take the opportunity to explain the relevant law. There is no current restriction on the number of musicians or dancers who may perform together in licensed premises if the licensee has first obtained an appropriate public entertainment licence from the local authority. However, under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 1964 a public entertainment licence is not required if music or dancing is performed by less than three performers on licensed premises i.e. the 'two in a bar rule'. The rule is intended to apply to public performances put on by a public house to entertain the public and should not prevent ordinary people singing together or dancing in public houses.

The purpose of licence conditions is to ensure safety, minimise nuisance and prevent crime and disorder, and we would expect local authorities to take these factors into consideration when considering applications for public entertainment licenses, particularly during special occasions such as the Golden Jubilee.

Local councils have considerable discretion under the existing system for public entertainment licensing with regard to conditions and fees, and it is acknowledged that there are inconsistencies which must be addressed. The councils have been formally advised that their conditions should be relevant the venues, and that the replication of regulations which may contribute towards higher fees being charged should be avoided. My Department is continuing to liase with the councils and is looking into the possibility of offering further guidance on public entertainment licenses in the near future.

As you know we are planning a comprehensive reform of the alcohol and public entertainment licensing laws. Details of the proposals can be found in the White Paper "Time for Reform" published in April 2000, which can be read or downloaded from our web-site address (www.culture.gov.uk/new-responsibilities/liquor-index.html). The new proposals will provide a more flexible and simplified system of licensing for alcohol and public entertainment and promote greater opportunities for musicians and other performers. In order to ensure consistency and fairness across the country, close controls will be placed on the powers of local authorities who will administer the proposed new streamlined licensing system. It is my intention to bring forward a reform Bill as soon as Parliamentary time is available.

I should end by mentioning that we are marking the Golden Jubilee by placing before Parliament a proposal to relax the alcohol licensing hours, which will allow public houses, nightclubs, restaurants, registered members' clubs and bars, to open for an additional two hours on the evening of 3 June until 1am. I am confident that this proposal will be enthusiastically welcomed by industry and the general public, allowing a greater freedom to choose when and where to celebrate.

Dr Kim Howells MP

The following is a letter to Dr Howells (via my MP) and his reply dated 02/05/02.

04/04/02

Dear Mr Knight

Despite all this proposed major reform we still seem to be stuck with the definition of public entertainment, for purposes of licensing, as music and dancing. The proposed changes will not be a reform without a new and more sensible definition of what is or is not public entertainment.

That one form of art or expression should alone be singled out as only permissible after a fee is paid by a third party to a local authority is an unfair disincentive to music making, and not specifically addressing the stated goal of the licensing.

Ensuring the public's interests and making premises safe for whatever activity is to take place, or whatever future form this may take, can probably best be done with a general statement of that requirement, rather than attempting to specify exactly the nature of every activity.

If (some) music related activities are seen to present a specific problem, not presented by other forms of public entertainment, such as noise this is the area that needs to be (and is), addressed by other legislation.

The standard conditions applied to the current licences, and which I assume will still apply to the premises licence, apply to non-musical entertainment like hypnotism or pyrotechnics.

Many forms of musical activity do not in fact present any appreciable noise concern, but the current and proposed law makes no distinction. A licence refused or conditions made on the grounds of noise, will also prevent or affect music not presenting this.

Many forms of musical activity taking place in pubs, many of them provided by and for customers, not only do not present any additional safety concerns or appreciable noise concerns, but should not even be considered as conventional public entertainment. The current and proposed law makes no distinction.

Other non-musical forms of entertainment provided in pubs by licensees or by and for fellow customers are not subject to any unfair disincentive or to a third party obtaining an additional licence. Examples are quiz nights, darts and so on. Satellite TV, is also currently exempt from this requirement. As it is not music or dancing, will it remain so?

The current public entertainment licence is a tax or a music licence. If one art form or expression is to continue to be considered differently to others under reform, then this element should be honestly referred to as a music and dancing element (or tax). For that is what it is to be in effect.

Many of the 95% of licensed premises that do not hold PELs, are also currently providing safe premises, on a regular and on a casual basis, for small-scale musical activities. It will act as a disincentive for these premises to continue proving this, if they have to submit specific operating plans, make additional payments to enable music making to continue and are also subject to more official inspections and are then subject to pay for any alterations required. Many of which relating to noise, may not be necessary or applicable, as not all music presents noise concerns.

It could well prove to be that musical entertainment will still take place, unadvertised and on a casual basis, being driven underground and presenting more problems for the public and enforcement officers. A situation that will not be in anybody's interests, for making music is not a criminal activity, musical expression is a right.

It must be recognised that other existing legislation has made these musical activities safe and ensured the interests of the public. And that as in Scotland, no additional licence is required in pubs and bars.

Musical expression should not continued to be singled out and placed at risk by being used as a scapegoat, when the issues and concerns are noise, crime and other social problems.

The actions taken by many local authorities, to the detriment of musical expression, in strictly interpreting and enforcing current legislation, does not fill one with much confidence, when the whole responsibility for licensing is to be handed over to them. For the present Government has made it clear that the current rule should no be used to prevent ordinary people from singing and dancing in pubs but the Government is just watching while many councils, including mine, are doing just that.

The Government's intention can be overridden currently and also under the proposed legislation by councils declaring such music making to be public entertainment.

The DCMS's Ronnie Bridgett made the follow reply to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council on 04/02/02.

It is not planned that the new system will give an exemption to any forms of entertainment. The proposal is that all activities to be held on a Premises Licence (including non-amplified music) would need to be revealed in the operating plan put for approval to the licensing authority. The authority could only impose conditions on the Premises Licence which protect public safety and prevent disorder, crime and public nuisance.

The following question from is from Hamish Birchall and the more recent (03/04/02) reply from Mr Bridgett is of interest.

But the Government now proposes that, in addition to the risk assessments employers have a statutory duty to undertake (taking into account all activities in the workplace), 'all activities to be held on a Premises Licence including non-amplified music would need to be revealed in the operating plan put for approval to the local authority'.
Do you envisage licensees being required to declare whether or not customers will sing - unamplified - for their own amusement?


We do not anticipate that premises licences would have to include such an element

.

This does seem to contradict Mr Bridgett's earlier reply given to my council. If it is the latest thinking it should be welcomed but needs to appear and be set in the Government's proposals. The problem being that without the principle, of the right to make music being established in the legislation, it still only needs one of our officials to claim the activity is public entertainment, for us to have go to court to fight it, exactly the same as now.

I accept that this Government is sincere in its wish to reform and improve the current system and its current failures and excesses. I would be most grateful if you could comment on and pass on this letter to Dr Howells for his comments.

From Kim Howells 02/05/02

I share your constituent's concern about the current restrictions relating to the provision of entertainment in public places and can assure him that the Government's far-reaching licensing reform proposals will simplify and integrate the licensing regimes so that it is easier and less expensive for public houses to obtain the necessary permission to stage musical performances. As Mr Gall has rightly remarked, the main purpose of licensing legislation is to ensure public safety on premises, whatever the nature of the event may be, and to prevent undue disturbance to local residents. It is the statutory duty of local councils to take these factors into consideration when determining applications for public entertainment licenses. The current exemption from the normal requirement for a public entertainment licence, i.e. the "two in a bar rule" has widely been recognized as ineffective in preventing noise nuisance.

The Government would not accept that it is the case that certain types of music, for example acoustic, are never "noisy" and should be excluded from the new licensing regime. We would also expect other factors, such as public safety and the time of day or night that a musical performance takes place, to influence the decisions of local authorities on licence conditions. We believe that, under a truly fair system of licensing, local councils must take individual circumstances into consideration when determining public entertainment licence applications.
However, to ensure consistency across the country, there will be clear and transparent procedures which regulate the licensing authorities activities, and licensing fees will be set centrally to prevent the excesses which have occurred in some local authority areas.

I can confirm that my Department has consistently stated that our intention is to properly regulate public performances put on by licensed premises to entertain the public. We do not anticipate that spontaneous singing which does not constitute a "performance" under the terms of a licensing bill, or is not undertaken or organised for "reward" as defined in the Bill, will be within the range of the licensing regime. The Government is aware of the importance of properly defining what constitutes a public performance and will ensure clarity on this point.

Finally, you may wish to know what the Association of British Jazz had to say about the Government's proposals:-

"Remarkably, these reforms could benefit everyone: the brewers and landlords, as well as the present and future employees in the industry; and of course there will be increased opportunities for entertainers, particularly musicians. The reduction in legislation, with consequent savings to brewers and individual licensees, should also mean that there will be more money in the system for the payment of entertainers at a proper level."

As you know, it is my intention to bring forward a licensing reform Bill as soon as Parliamentary time is available.


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: GUEST
Date: 26 May 02 - 04:43 PM

Shambles,

Why are you talking to yourself?

No one has replied in 3 days.

Does that not give you a semblance of a clue as to general interest level in this thread?


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: GUEST
Date: 26 May 02 - 04:47 PM

No, GUEST, Shambles isn't talking to himself - this is very important information for anyone interested in folk music in England and Wales. Shambles has done some terrific work in letting us all know what's going on and making sure we have the facts. The fact that nobody else has contributed to this thread to me indicates that nobody is disputing what he says, not that nobody is interested.


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: Watson
Date: 26 May 02 - 04:49 PM

Sorry, Cookie went walkabout - that was me at 04:47.


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: GUEST
Date: 26 May 02 - 04:49 PM

No doubt, McGrath will now come along and bumble about a bit. Maybe even a few others.

Seriously though, Shambles, you've started 50 or so threads on this subject. After the first few, only a handful of people have shown any interest.

Is it not time to give it (at least on Mudcat) a rest?

Not supposing for a second that you will...


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: GUEST,Bullfrog Jones (on the road)
Date: 26 May 02 - 04:50 PM

Doesn't mean no one's reading it, dickhead.


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: GUEST
Date: 26 May 02 - 04:57 PM

No Bullfrog, true

But why didn't they read any of the other 50 threads, dickhead?


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 May 02 - 05:06 PM

The following are answers and further clarification of the White Paper, obtained from the DCMS by Richard Bridge, who has kindly agreed for these answers to be circulated.

It contains some important detailed information about the current proposals. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, has today (15/05/02) confirmed, however, that the Government has no plans to require landlords to declare the provision of live satellite television on their licence application.<

From: ronnie.bridgett@Culture.gsi.gov.uk 08 April 2002 13:51

You ask me to explain how the two responses can be reconciled.
In response to the question - will criminal offences be committed by customers who spontaneously break into song, our advice is that we do not anticipate that spontaneous singing which does not constitute a "performance" under the terms of the Bill or is not undertaken or organised for "reward" as defined in the Bill, will be within the range of the licensing regime.

Whereas a musical "performance" as defined in the Bill by a single musician undertaken for "reward" (either his own or the organiser's) will be subject to the licensing regime. It is for Parliamentary Counsel to decide how in terms of draft clauses to give effect to that policy.

Accordingly, whenever a group of people in a bar break into spontaneous song, the licensee would have to decide the point (noise level)at which he is at risk of being closed by the police because of "excessive noise" which might be disturbing the public. This is an important point for context and explains why it would not be necessary to bring spontaneous singing (music making) within the licensing regime as adequate public protection would already exist.

Ronnie Bridgett Alcohol and Entertainment Licensing Branch Tourism Division

From: ronnie.bridgett@Culture.gsi.gov.uk Sent: 09 April 2002 13:41

Your concerns have been noted and will be taken into account when final instructions are sent to Parliamentary Counsel.

With regard to more detail of definitions to be used, I am sorry to have to report that you will need to wait until the publication of the Bill.

Finally, you asked why there is a need to license music if noise controls are adequate. I can confirm that the Government would not accept that it is the case that public performances of acoustic music are not always "noisy". Also, as you will appreciate, noise is not the only factor to be considered when considering the licensing of musical performances. Public safety issues have to be taken on board, and the time of day or night with regard to public disturbance.

Your sincerely Ronnie Bridgett Alcohol and Entertainment Licensing Branch Tourism Division

From: ronnie.bridgett@Culture.gsi.gov.uk Sent: 20 May 2002 14:22

Further detail is given in section 5(ii) of the Regulatory Impact Assessment at Appendix 4 to the White Paper (particularly the section "Under the New Regime").

Only one fee will be paid for a premises licence regardless of the activities which the licence covers.

There will also be an annual charge to provide a revenue stream for inspections.

The fee and the charge will be set centrally by the Secretary of State. It will not be set by local authorities.

The fee needs to recover fully the costs of administration, inspection and enforcement associated with licensing law.

The most likely formula for calculating the band levels is capacity - so that larger venues pay more than small ones. However, it may be necessary to include a geographical factor in the formula. This is because administrative overheads are likely to be different in different parts of the country. For example, employment and accommodation costs are higher in the South East of England.

The Secretary of State will set the fee levels after consulting the industry trade associations and the local authorities.

The new regime should save the businesses affected around £1.9 billion in the first ten years of operation. Most of this saving will be from legal costs associated with the current system.

From: ronnie.bridgett@Culture.gsi.gov.uk Sent: 20 May 2002 16:09

With regard to any amendments to a premises licence, the Secretary of State will set the appropriate fee structure for variations to the premises licence. It should not be presumed that it will be the same fee as for the original application.

Noise complaints are dealt with by DEFRA (the Department for the Environment, Food and Regional Affairs) whose advice we take on these matters. In addition, the police and the local authorities raise matters concerning rowdyism and general disturbance. Advice from all these sources does not differentiate between types of music. In any event, we are not aware of a precise definition of what constitutes "folk music".

It would not therefore be possible to cite particular examples of complaints which are specifically to do with venues at which "folk" musicians are performing.

As for public order issues, consideration is linked to the provision of alcohol at premises. As we have explained, there will be one licence which will cover the sale of alcohol and the provision of public entertainment.

Ronnie Bridgett Alcohol & Entertainment Licensing Branch


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: GUEST,Bullfrog Jones (on the road)
Date: 27 May 02 - 05:30 AM

Keep up the good work Shambles -- with the added bonus of knowing that it pisses off GUEST. And that's MISTER dickhead to you punk!

BJ


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: alanww
Date: 27 May 02 - 05:48 AM

Thaks for keeping us up to date The Shambles.

We are three jolly fishermen ...
Alan


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: Mr Happy
Date: 27 May 02 - 06:26 AM

the shambles,

i may be being simplistic + naiive again here, but on reading

ronnie brigette alcohol & entertainment licensing, does this mean that the new legislation has a pel included in the alcohol license?

i think i'm probably wrong here but wouldn't it be nice if were true?


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: ozmacca
Date: 27 May 02 - 06:37 AM

I guess we are just plain lucky here in Downunderland that the various level of government which are inflicted on us have not (so far) sen it worth their while to hedge us around with regulations which are as obtuse, obstructive, obfuscatory or just plain stupid as you are experiencing in the UK. However, given the tendency of any government to copy the restrictive actions of others, I suppose it may only be a matter of time.

I think we here - especially the organisers of such major events as Woodford and the National Festival etc, could use a few leads to head the legislators off at the pass before they present us with a fait accompli. It worries me that the recent introduction of our new GST laws could be the start, by making a potential criminal of anyone who accepts a fee of any kind for playing music and doesn't declare - however small or irregular the payment. Licensing either premises or performers is an obvious next step for the powers that be.

Please keep the information posted. Thanks Shambles, it can only help.


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 May 02 - 06:50 AM

No, the idea is that a pub would apply for single licence to cover both drinks and entertainment, and will have to specify what that covers in the way of entertainment in advance. At present there are two licences to apply for to different people.

But there will be some kind of sliding scale of fees to cover different types of entertainment, and a licence without any entertainment cover will still be the cheap option - and that means that a lot of pubs will go for it. After all, they'll be able to stick up a giant screen and show football or whatever they feel like showing off the TV without any additional licence to pay.

Then of course there are other places such as coffee bars, bookshops, community centres where there's no drinks licence involved. It's not clear what is going to be the situation there. Presumably they'll have to apply for a Pubic Entertainment Licence and so forth, and they aren't going to.

But if people want clarification the best thing to do is to write to Ronnie Bridgett, or to their MP. It doesn't take any longer really than to post to the Mudcat, and it gets the message across that there are people who care about thee things. All the contact details have been posted here, and if anyone can't find them they can be posted again or sent by PM.


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: GUEST
Date: 27 May 02 - 07:04 AM

Just knew that McGrath would bumble along sooner or later...


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 27 May 02 - 07:27 AM

Shambles and McGrath - keep up the good work! I expect there are many others besides me who agree with you, but don't have anything further (at present) to contribute to this thread. If it weren't for that irritating GUEST banging on about how nobody else cares, I would not have bothered to chip in now, but just for the record, I have faxed my MP - no response so far - and am currently spreading the word amongst my friends and acquaintances. If GUEST finds this thread boring, then let him start another one of his own.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: GUEST,vectis minus cookie
Date: 27 May 02 - 07:42 AM

I'll try my local MP again now that I have more detail of the proposals. He was encouraging last time but not in full possession of the facts.
Thanks Shambles, keep up the information stream.

....like soldiers in the good old way....


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: Mr Happy
Date: 27 May 02 - 11:06 AM

some queries about 'for profit public performances'

i'm wondering about church services here

does church organ music for the congregation to sing hymns require a pel?

during communion, there's wine- do they need an alcohol licence?

choirs/congregation singing a capella?

when the offertory comes round & people contribute- could this be defined as profit?

i'm really trying to help the cause by looking for established practices which may be exempt from pels & could therefore be taken as precedents

comments please


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 May 02 - 04:01 PM

The following is a letter to Dr Kim Howells MP.

Dear Dr Howells

Any music or dancing, including congregational singing of hymns (in churches and elsewhere) is public entertainment as currently defined by the 1982 Act. Will this still be considered so under the proposed reforms?

This music making is currently and specifically exempt from the PEL requirement, due entirely to the nature and context of the music, (music as part of a religious service), not because it is safe. Most of the premises (like old churches), where this takes place would not come up to scratch for any PEL safety inspection. Is this exemption also to be scrapped along with the 'two in bar' rule?

The fact that many of the tunes used for the congregational singing of hymns, were originally traditional folk songs, exposes the cruel irony of the current situation and of the one that will still exist after the Government's proposed licensing reforms.

Could you please confirm that the following four points are correct?

1. Currently any amount of people singing or playing such a tune (even amplified), in the unsafe and unlicensed conditions referred to above will exempt the premises from the current and future licensing requirement.

2. Currently, more than two people singing or playing the same traditional tune, non amplified, on safe and inspected licensed premises, simply for the pleasure of it (or for profit), will not.

3. Any number of people singing or playing this same tune, anywhere else, for the pleasure of it or for profit, amplified or not, currently and under the proposed reforms, will need the premises to hold and pay for an additional licence.

4. After the reform even one person singing or playing this same traditional tune, for profit or for pleasure, amplified or not, will not be permitted on safe and inspected licensed premises. Unless the licensee has paid for an 'entertainment' element and specified in advance that this particular activity is to take place.

As one who feels that the right to publicly sing/dance and play the traditional songs and tunes of my country for pleasure, to be no less important that being able to sing them publicly as part of my religion, I hope you will recognise that this right must not be conditional on a third party paying any fee to enable it.

The way to ensure this is to finally recognise that all music making on licensed premises cannot justify the need for any additional licence, fee or paperwork, the public's interest having already been ensured.

Other public premises should be made safe for whatever activity takes place, and no music should be prevented by local authorities calling all music entertainment in order to charge a fee, or risking any music making by classing it all as a noise hazard. One size does not fit all. Ends

No reply as yet.


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Subject: RE: What is folk ? - OFFICIAL
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 May 02 - 02:13 AM

I have always felt that making public, the many folk activities that are actually trying to taking place, is the key to getting a sensible result for all music making.

The problem is that so many organisers are keeping their heads down and as the events are not advertised, this could lead our Government to assume that they do not exist. Also our local government lobby would appear to be trying to convince Government and us that there is no tradition of folk music in our pubs.

Broadly there are three main types and all are under real threat, now and under the proposals.

The unpaid session/singaround/.

The unpaid dancing/mummers (on pub/private land).

The events with paid guests/floorspots.

All will fall foul of not being thought totally spontaneous and rewarded, as the reward can be indirect, such as increased takings for the licensee.

I doubt that the Government has any real intention of preventing or affecting these events but the civil servants clever words are not leaving any room to move.

Things are not looking hopeful.

You could help by writing MPs, Government, media council and explaining the set-up and nature of actual events that you are aware of. There is no need to name names, but you could explain your concern about how you see the proposals affecting a particular existing event and ask what the Government are going to do to enable them.

Far more useful than the civil servants preferred hypothetical senarios about 'spontaneous' events.


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