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Obit:Live Music 28th Nov

ET 02 Aug 05 - 06:44 PM
ET 03 Aug 05 - 03:50 PM
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Subject: Obit:Live Music 28th Nov
From: ET
Date: 02 Aug 05 - 06:44 PM

From the Guardian today :-

New act will give music lovers the blues
Tuesday August 2, 2005 Guardian
We are musicians, music-lovers, promoters and representatives of support organisations for jazz in the UK. We wish to declare our opposition to the treatment of live music in bars and restaurants under the new Licensing Act, due to come into force on November 24 (Time called for alcohol licences, August 1).
Since 1961, restaurants or bars have been able to present up two musicians without the premises requiring an entertainment licence. But under the new regime, one musician playing to a few diners in a restaurant could lead to heavy fines and a jail sentence for the licensee - unless the venue is explicitly licensed for live performance.
The government says the act is necessary to control antisocial behaviour, public safety and noise. Yet big-screen sport broadcasts in bars are exempt on the basis that if there are problems, the licence can be reviewed.
The government airily dismissed musicians' concerns when the bill was debated in parliament. Ministers promised the legislation would lead to "an explosion of live music" and that a simple "tick-box" application would suffice.
But licensees are now finding that applying to retain even a modest level of live music is time-consuming and expensive. They must pay to advertise the application publicly, face potential public hearings if there are objections and comply with costly licence conditions.
In contrast, where jukeboxes are already provided, the new regime automatically allows their continued use without
entertainment licensing. Many licensees may decide not to bother with live music.        ,~~
The act provides the culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, with the power to change the descriptions of entertainment. We call on her to come to the only sensible conclusion, that legislation deemed adequate to control bars packed with sports fans is also fully adequate to regulate live music. She should use her powers to give live music in bars the same freedom accorded to big-screen broadcasts.
Jamie Cullum, Jacqui and Alec Dankworth, Digby Fairweather, Humphrey Lyttelton, Charles Alexander (Jazzwise), Guy Barker, Alan Bates (Candid Records), Hamish Birchall, Campbell Burnap, Marc Connor (Air MTM), Gary Crosby, Tony Dudley-Evans, Dan Fleming, Eddie Harvey, Jon Hiseman, Barbara Thompson, Chris Hodgkins (Jazz Services), Janine Irons (Dune Music), Claire Martin, Simon Mehigan QC (Paterson's Licensing Acts), Jon Newey (Jazzwise Magazine), Stuart Nicholson, Steve Rubie, Seb Scotney (JazzDev), Martin Taylor, Oliver Weindling (Babel Records)

and

New live music rules could halve number of gigs
Owen Gibson and Charlotte Higgins Tuesday August 2, 2005
Guardian
Government rules designed to make it easier for venues to tap into a burgeoning demand for live music threaten to more than halve the number of concerts taking place in the UK owing to inertia among owners in applying for the new licences.
Artists who began their careers in front of tiny audiences on pub stages, including Razorlight, Ray Davies of the Kinks and James Blunt, number one in the album and singles charts, yesterday spoke out in an effort to make venue owners aware of the scale of the problem.
Some of Britain's most prominent jazz musicians, including Jamie Cullum, Humphrey Lyttelton and Jacqui and Alec Dankworth, also protested yesterday, saying the process of applying for licences was so time consuming and expensive -despite the government's promise of a "tick box" application - that pub, bar and restaurant owners were likely simply to give up.
New research shows that almost seven in 10 owners or managers of small music venues are unaware of the implications of the 2003 Licensing Act, which requires them to reapply for their live music licence by August 6.
The research, sponsored by Glenfiddich, warned that at least 56,700 venues face possible closure if they do not reapply by the deadline. Almost half of those those currently stage live music, and it is predicted that the number of gigs taking place every day in the UK could fall from 4,500 to fewer than 2,250.
Local councils yesterday warned that unless venues reapplied for their licences by the deadline, they would lose their status and be forced to go through the time-consuming process of new applicants.
"We are very concerned that despite our best efforts to inform everyone affected, thousands of businesses may be unaware this new legislation applies to them," said Peter Barrow, head of licensing at Birmingham city council.
In Camden, long seen as a hub of the London live music scene, only 38% of venues have responded, while in Manchester, Newcastle and Liverpool the volume of respondents has been even lower at 24%, 25% and 28% respectively.
The Licensing Act 2003 was intended to make it easier and more economical for pubs and other small venues to apply for the necessary paperwork. But it also requires some small venues that did not previously need licences to apply for them for the first time.
Local authorities and a government body, the Live Music Forum, are to redouble their efforts to make clear the urgency of the situation. In October last year, a report commissioned by the forum found that three-quarters of licensees felt they had not been told enough about the impact of the act.
The prospective logjam comes at a time when live music is considered to be on a high, with stadium gigs by the likes of U2 and music festivals selling out more quickly than ever, and a new generation of bands building their fanbase through playing live.
With record sales stalling, playing live has become more important to the bottom line. The live music industry as a whole is worth £467m, according to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, a rise of 50% on 1997.
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005


PLEASE DO WHAT YOU CAN. GET HOLD OF YOUR MP.   DO SOMTHING.


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Subject: RE: Obit:Live Music 28th Nov
From: ET
Date: 03 Aug 05 - 03:50 PM

I read from the DCMS website that the "listening, caring, sharing" government has no intention of changing the commencement days of the 2003 Act and the closedown of the 8th August is absolute. It is doing this because 65% of anticipated applications are the approximate totals of conversions received and the other 35% have had their chance and will either get new licences in by then or will face prosecution after the 28th!

So there. Final closedown by this Saturday.

I have posted a lot on this subject and can't do more. The locals I play in (except one) have got this sorted and applied for live music for 7 days till late, so I'm all right Jack as it were. The one exception left it to the Brewery and they have applied, restricted to 2 "entertainers", whatever that means, and for whatever reason.

I hope all your locals have got it right.


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Subject: RE: Obit:Live Music 28th Nov
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Aug 05 - 08:58 AM

Time called for alcohol licences

Simon Bowers
Monday August 1, 2005
The Guardian


More than a third of pubs, hotels and shops selling alcohol have not filed the 26-page application form necessary to renew their licences and have less than a week to go before the government's deadline under the new Licensing Act.

A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said yesterday that a late rush had still only raised the number of applications filed to 65% of the 200,000 outlets currently licensed to sell alcohol. If the remaining businesses - most of which are thought to be small independent traders such as newsagents, guesthouses and restaurants - do not submit their applications by this Saturday they will be classed as new applicants and could have their licences objected to, and ultimately turned down.

The Licensing Act attracted considerable controversy as it was passed by parliament earlier this year because it included plans to relax closing time laws, raising the prospect of 24-hour licences. Some campaigners against town centre late night anti-social behaviour said the act was at odds with the government's efforts to clamp down on binge drinking.

Many smaller traders may not realise the act requires them to reapply for a licence to sell alcohol even if their trading hours are not expected to change. The British Beer and Pub Association is confident that most pubs and bars have submitted their applications, but concern remains that many smaller, independent businesses have not.
A survey of 80 local authorities by the Federation of Small Businesses, published today, suggests the number of applications submitted by licensees in some areas is well below a third of those expected.

Among the troublespots are Birmingham, Rugby, Exeter, Powys and parts of Surrey and West Sussex. John Walker, of the FSB, said: "The failure of businesses to renew their licences is a time-bomb of the government's making."


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Subject: RE: Obit:Live Music 28th Nov
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Aug 05 - 09:00 AM

See also

Minister says jamming OK


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Subject: RE: Obit:Live Music 28th Nov
From: ET
Date: 04 Aug 05 - 09:04 AM

I gather the illustrious Fergal Sharkey has said on Radio that the only problem with the licensing of live music is the failure of submission of applications for conversion!   If only.


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Subject: RE: Obit:Live Music 28th Nov
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Aug 05 - 02:50 PM

I am waiting to hear of the first folk club or session required to employ a registered door supervisor.


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Subject: RE: Obit:Live Music 28th Nov
From: ET
Date: 05 Aug 05 - 04:22 AM

At the last second of the last hour (ie effectively 24 hours to go) the Confederation of Small Businesses has woken up to the blindingly obvious - that the Licensing Act 2003 imposes a large bureacratic system of form filling and that fees for liquor licences have gone up from £30 for 3 years to several hundred per annum. And that 60,000 premises have yet to register!

Well done. Some folkies have been complaining about this since 2002 (the Bill) but to no avail. Suddendly the Jazz Scene has woken up, together with bits of the licensing trade. Maybe if the classical music world joins in, who knows.   Fergal Sharkey says the only issue is getting the laggards on board. I wonder if he would like to drive his way through 6 day Whitby Folk Festival in 2006 with its premise licences, maypole licences, temporary event notices and fees? Temporary events are limited to 499 people. Who counts? And how far from the event do you count? And is this static people or crowds drifting past an event. Answers on a 20 page form to DCMS please.

The words "blue clicky" will take on a new meaning - clicking the numbers of audience. And how do you get a 6 day festival out of a 3 day limit, then a break. Maybe the music police will raid Glybourne and upset the opera establishment.

Do you get the feeling I feel strongly about all this? I have been in endless, but one way, conversations with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. I fear they do not live on this planet.

Hmm.


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Subject: RE: Obit:Live Music 28th Nov
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Aug 05 - 06:06 AM

Perhaps it is time to remind ourselves of the following and in particular of the undertaking given in the response (highlighted by me in bold type)?

This was the E petition set up and submitted on the 15 March 2003 to Number 10 Downing Street.

We, the undersigned, are concerned that the Licensing Bill proposals to make the performance of live music licensable in pubs and clubs, in places where alcohol is served, in churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship, in schools and colleges, in community centres and village and parish halls, and in private homes and gardens where private parties and weddings may be held will have an enormously detrimental effect on musicians and live music performances; fears that the raising of money for charities by musicians will be seriously compromised; consider it will seriously impinge on the folk community including folk music and traditional folk activities such as morris dancing, wassailing, etc; believe that the penalties for breaking the law of a six month jail sentence of a £20,000 fine are far too draconian; consider it grossly unfair and inconsistent that live music will not be licensable in Scotland but will be in England and Wales; regret that the Government has decided to replace the anomalous two in a bar rule with a none in a bar rule which will catch all live music performances; believes that the requirement for the provision of entertainment facilities to become licensable which will ensnare music shops, music and dance studios and teachers, represents a totally unacceptable regulatory intrusion into mainstream activities; and calls on the Government to amend the relevant parts of bill in order to remove the iniquities faced by musicians and the music industry as a whole.

The UK government do recognise E Petitions Read their policy. http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/page598.asp
It explains why you need to enter a valid postal address.

This was the response from Number 10 Downing Street.

http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page4259.asp

A great deal of misinformation has been circulating about our modernisation of the licensing laws in England and Wales and we are therefore not surprised at the level of concern that has been shown.
The Licensing Bill received Royal Assent on 10 July and is now the Licensing Act 2003. We believe that the Act will make it simpler and more affordable than now to stage live entertainment in the vast majority of cases and increase opportunities for musicians and other artists to perform. There will be no additional cost to provide musical entertainment on the new premises licence and fees will be set centrally by the Secretary of State to ensure consistency. Officials are also continuing discussions with the Musicians' Union, the Arts Council and Equity, among other bodies, to help inform the drawing up of guidance to be issued to licensing authorities with the aim that live music can be put on more easily whilst protecting the rights of local residents.

Short-term events would also benefit from the more informal system of permitted temporary activities under the Act, which would require a simple notification to the licensing authority and the police and a small fee of around £20. The Act allows for up to 12 temporary event notices to be given in respect of the same premises, subject to a maximum number of 15 days for the same premises during which permitted temporary activities may take place in a calendar year. The period permissible for any temporary event is a maximum of 4 days (96 hours). Furthermore, there is now an order-making power in the Act which - subject to affirmative resolution - enables those limits and the limit on the number of persons attending an event to be amended in the light of experience, should it prove that the balance between the rights of residents and the light touch approach of the system needs to be adjusted. In determining these levels, the Secretary of State has had to have regard to local authority concerns about public safety at, and nuisance to, local residents caused by these temporary events.

The Licensing Bill was amended during its passage to provide a significant concession on unamplified live music. The effect of section 177 of the Act will be to suspend conditions attached to a premises licence or club premises certificate which have been imposed by a licensing authority in respect of unamplified live music in any premises with a capacity of no more than 200 where it is performed between the hours of 8am and midnight. The licence will, however, remain reviewable to protect local residents and control those few unscrupulous or irresponsible operators who might abuse this concession, damage communities and bring their trade into disrepute. We believe this addresses most of the concerns that have been raised about low-level unamplified music, like folk guitarists, in small premises. The concession is not confined to public houses and so will benefit small folk clubs and village and community halls alike.

This builds on an earlier amendment made to the Bill which applies to both amplified and unamplified live music as well as dancing but is restricted to premises used primarily for the supply of alcohol for consumption on the premises with a capacity of no more than 200. Under section 177 of the Act, conditions attached to a premises licence or club premises certificate which have been imposed by the licensing authority in respect of the provision of the music entertainment are suspended except where they relate to public safety or crime and disorder. Again, the licence will remain reviewable so that conditions imposed by the licensing authority relating to the other two licensing objectives (the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm) could come into effect or further conditions could be imposed on review.

We appreciate that there are still concerns regarding the licensing of entertainment involving the playing of instruments that require amplification in order to be heard - an electric bass guitar, for example, or electric piano - and therefore cannot benefit from the amendment that relates to unamplified live music. The provisions in the Licensing Act do make it easier and cheaper to stage any kind of regulated entertainment. Also, under the Act, there is an exemption for incidental live and incidental recorded music that can apply whether the music is amplified or not.

We have also given an undertaking that we will review the existing descriptions of entertainment in the Act six to twelve months after the end of the transition period. If the Act has had an unintended, disproportionate negative effect on the provision of live music -or other forms of regulated entertainment-, there are powers already in the Bill to modify the position through secondary legislation. However we believe that the provisions in the Licensing Act will allow live music and other regulated entertainment to thrive.

Morris dancing and dancing of a similar nature are exempt from the requirement for a licence under the Act.

The Department will also be setting up a forum, comprising representatives of performers, venue operators, local authorities and others whose task it will be to advertise the advantages of the reforms and to maximise the take-up.

Private events, where the invited guests were compulsorily charged, either with a view to private profit or to raise funds for charity, would be licensable as such a charge could lead to greater risks being taken with regards to the number of people invited, seating arrangements and access to exits in an emergency, for example. However, where there was a charitable event to which the public was not invited, and where there was no obligation for the audience to give any money to charity, then this entertainment would not be considered licensable.

It is now the case under the Act that entertainers who performed at unlicensed venues and did nothing else in relation to the provision of regulated entertainment - that is to say, the majority of musicians - would not be committing an offence. There is also a defence of "due diligence", as provided in clause 137 of the Act, against the criminal offence where "the act was due to a mistake, reliance on information given to him or to an act or omission by another person or to some other cause beyond his control, and he took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to avoid committing the offence". Accordingly, an organiser should check that any venue has proper permission to stage regulated entertainment, but if he is misled, he is fully protected by the Act. The penalties provided in the Licensing Act are maximum penalties and, as with all offences, the courts would decide on the appropriate punishment depending on the facts of the case.
We believe that the approach to the regulation of entertainment set out in the Licensing Act represents a proportionate response, a fair balance and has an objective and reasonable justification.


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Subject: RE: Obit:Live Music 28th Nov
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Aug 05 - 06:37 AM

I suggest the first demand is that the review is undertaken after six months - if not immediately - but certainly not after twelve months....


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Subject: RE: Obit:Live Music 28th Nov
From: ET
Date: 05 Aug 05 - 07:18 AM

I totally agree with Shambles on this. Assuming the Government remains indifferent to the likely chaos of this act coming into force I still think getting well known musicians on board to press for the urgent review, is the best application of pressure - otherwise Ministers will remain deaf.   Has anyone out there every received a reply recently to anything sent to DCMS or live music forum?   I have not but maybe they have set up their e-mail to auto delete anything I send. Feels like that. Have written to MP instead but he is conservative (albiet David Davis)


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Subject: RE: Obit:Live Music 28th Nov
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Aug 05 - 12:48 PM

The point correctly made by Hamish Birchall - is what is the bench mark to decide if the Act has had an unintended, disproportionate negative effect on the provision of live music -or other forms of regulated entertainment-

If it is the figures DCMS have used before - we have a problem. For the MORI live music survey declared an estimate of 1.7 million live gigs a year; the figure used by former licensing minister Richard Caborn to claim that live music was 'flourishing' in bars, clubs and restaurants whose main business is not live music.

In fact the 1.7 million was an estimate for all venues, over 25% of which were private members clubs, and church and community halls. The Department for Culture also later confirmed that they could not exclude the possibility that specialist music venues had been included in the survey. The survey's estimate for pubs, restaurants and hotels was about 850,000 live gigs, barely half the figure quoted, and the majority of these places had no live music at all. Of those that had some live music, most had fewer than two gigs a month and of these most were probably 'two in a bar' not bands. The picture is further confused by the survey's definition of live music which, with the approval of the Live Music Forum, allowed live/recorded hybrids such as scratch DJs.


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Subject: RE: Obit:Live Music 28th Nov
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Aug 05 - 02:24 PM

Hamish Birchall has now sent comments on No 10's response to the E Petition back to the Direct Communications Unit at Number 10. Pointing out that it is true that a lot of misinformation has been circulating about the modernisation of the licensing laws in England and Wales and that DCMS is the source. He cites the recent claims made by Purnell on the BBC that were comprehensively rubbished by those who have had actually to deal with the new application forms.
He has asked the DCU to respond, and recommended that if they wish to check his claims that they seek advice not from DCMS but independent licensing lawyers.

Number 10 statement in response to E-petition about the Licensing Act and live music: selected quotes with comment for response from DCU:
_________________________________________________________________
'We believe that the Act will make it simpler and more affordable than now to stage live entertainment in the vast majority of cases and increase opportunities for musicians and other artists to perform. There will be no additional cost to provide musical entertainment on the new premises licence…'

This almost entirely false. The great majority of pubs, bars, hotels, restaurants and cafes do not hold a public entertainment licence (PEL), which allows bands of three or more musicians. Come 24 November such places lose their present automatic entitlement to host one or two live musicians without a PEL. To retain even this modest level of live music almost all will have had to apply to 'vary' their premises licence application by the 06 August conversion deadline. This adds at least 8 extra pages to the conversion application, immediately incurs the cost of public advertisement and very likely the cost of having 1:100 scale plans drawn up.

This was well illustrated in feedback to the BBC radio programmes already cited. All such places will be paying more under the new regime (a justices on licence was £30 every three years). Only the very small minority of venues that already had PELs for live bands will save significantly under the new regime.



'Short-term events…'

Untypically, this section is mostly accurate. Temporary events notices (TENs) do represent a light-touch regime. However, it is worth noting that the 'occasional' public entertainment licence that the TEN replaces was not restricted to 12 per year per premises. More significantly, because the new Act blurs the distinction between hitherto exempt private events and licensable public events, many previously unlicensed private events will be caught by the new regime for the first time. My own local authority, Camden, for example, has confirmed that the charity hospital performances I provide, never licensed before, will require a TEN. At least 4,000 such events a year are organised in the UK by various charities.

'The Licensing Bill was amended during its passage to provide a significant concession on unamplified live music. The effect of section 177 of the Act…' etc (and following paragraph).

According to licensing lawyers, this 'concession' will not prove popular. That is mainly because it is conditional upon a capacity limit having been set by the fire authority or fire certificate. Smaller pubs and bars dislike this means of enforcing a capacity limit for various commercial reasons.

'The provisions in the Licensing Act do make it easier and cheaper to stage any kind of regulated entertainment.'

False for the reasons already cited, particularly in view of the many hitherto exempt private events that will be caught.

'If the Act has had an unintended, disproportionate negative effect on the provision of live music – or other forms of regulated entertainment -, there are powers already in the Bill to modify the position through secondary legislation.'


How will the government measure an 'unintended, disproportionate negative effect on the provision of live music'? The MORI live music survey is unreliable for several reasons: 1) MORI did not obtain permission to retain interviewees' details. This means they cannot revisit the same sample in a follow-up study; 2) the survey's definition of live music, put to interviewees at the start of the interview, was deliberately worded to allow for live/recorded music hybrids.

We cannot be certain that the live music reported, particularly in bars, is truly 'live' in the commonly accepted sense; 3) it is unclear from the published data what proportion of the reported live gigs in bars and restaurants were bands of three or more musicians, or just 'two in a bar' – without this information it would be impossible to tell whether the situation for bands in bars had improved under the new regime.


'Private events…' etc

As Camden council has already indicated, the new Act goes much further in regulating private events than the government suggests. Camden has also suggested that private wedding receptions held in a room at a hotel or bar that has been let for this purpose will also be caught for the first time. Camden's views are significant. It is among the influential London councils, along with Westminster, Islington, and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. If these boroughs threaten prosecution or actually prosecute the organisers of unlicensed events this also exerts a national influence.

'We believe that the approach to the regulation of entertainment set out in the Licensing Act represents a proportionate response, a fair balance and has an objective and reasonable justification.'

As far as the abolition of the two-performer entertainment licensing exemption, and the new licensing requirements imposed upon hitherto exempt private events, this statement is manifestly false. No objective evidence to justify these very significant increases in regulation through licensing has ever been provided.

It is implied in the opening line of Number 10's statement that 'protecting the rights of residents' is a justification. The reader is invited to infer that noise nuisance is justification. But where is the objective evidence that solo and duo live music performances in bars and restaurants are a greater noise problem than recorded music? The new Act allows such places to keep recorded sound systems automatically, provided they were already in situ prior to the 06 August licence conversion deadline.


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