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Affected by The Licensing Act 2003

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Subject: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 09:39 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

It is too early to assess the long-term effect of the 'none in a bar rule'. However, you can be sure that if there is little or no improvement, or even if things get worse, the government will do nothing unless there is significant opposition from the public, musicians' organisations and the music industry.

Remember this minister's quote: 'My view is that there will be an explosion in live music as a result of removing the discriminatory two-in-a-bar provision' (Lord McIntosh, House of Lords, 26 November 2002). This summer James Purnell repeatedly told us on the BBC how much better the new regime would be for live music.

If you know of gigs lost as a result of the new regime, or if, in a few months time, you feel that the new regime has not delivered the improvement you expected or is unsatisfactory for other reasons, use this website to tell your MP (it identifies them from your postcode): http://www.writetothem.com/

It is always best to use your own words, but it may be useful to remind MPs that the Licensing Act gives the Secretary of State at DCMS power by order to change the descriptions of entertainment.

As to the attitude of musicians' organisations and the music industry, it would seem that 'wait and see' is the general view.

Peering into the gloom of the Musicians' Union website today did not reveal much to me about their current thinking on 'none in a bar'. Given the political context of the live music debate, however, MU members may be interested to learn that in March their union made a £30,000 donation to the Labour Party's general election fighting fund. This was on top of their affiliation fees, which currently stand at £7,738 per quarter. According to the Electoral Commission the MU has paid Labour a total of £135,242 since 30 September 2001. See: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/regulatory-issues/regdpoliticalparties.cfm

It may also be of interest that, in an industry where most practitioners will earn nowhere near the national average wage (currently about £26k) from live performance, the MU General Secretary's annual salary and benefits package is at least £80k. This information is in the public domain in the MU's annual return to the trade union Certification Officer:
http://www.certoffice.org/links/index.cfm?action=display&strLetter=m&strType=t&showActive=1

The Certification Officer publishes the salary and benefits for all trade union general secretaries. Interestingly, John Smith's remuneration package in 2003 was only £6k less per annum than that of the GMB's general secretary. The GMB has over half a million members, compared with the MU's 31,000. However union membership is not necessarily a reliable guide to GS salaries and benefits. For example, very few come anywhere near the £746k pa earned in 2003 by the 'Chief Executive/Secretary' of the Professional Footballers Association, whose membership was 3,918 in that year.

See: http://www.certoffice.org/annualReport/index.cfm?pageID=annual

ENDS

See also http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page4259.asp for Number Ten Downing Street's
full response to the E Petition.

Which includes the following.

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

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.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST,Pavane
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 12:08 PM


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST,pavane
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 12:16 PM

I have asked before, and ask again, is there anyone who is prepared and able to maintain a full list of the effects of this on existing venues?

Should we set up a site or thread where each loss can be posted? This would be the proof for the proposed review.

Or does the Musicians Union have a plan for such a list? Do we perhaps need an Alternative Musicians Union?

I have never found that writing to my MP produced anything more than a standard reply (Still, Peter Hain is apparently rather busy, as he leads the field in expenses claimed)


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: PennyBlack
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 12:45 PM

More than happy to set up a section on the Fylde Folk Forum with a pinned link (to keep in view at all times)already we have information on the new licence and some problems it is or may cause with music and dance.

Rough Draft

maybe something like the above with sub-forums

let me know and I'll sort something

Pete

PB


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 02:37 PM

I heard that the licensing of Hitchin Town Hall was screwed up which is why tonight's Unicorn Ceilidh is dry.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 06:10 PM

If you know of gigs lost as a result of the new regime, or if, in a few months time, you feel that the new regime has not delivered the improvement you expected or is unsatisfactory for other reasons, use this website to tell your MP (it identifies them from your postcode): http://www.writetothem.com/

Rather that have the burden of proof being upon musicians - perhaps it may be as well to ask your MP to find out from the Government some actual examples of the explosion in live music as a result of removing the discriminatory two-in-a-bar provision'?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 06:38 PM

This from uk.music.folk

The new Landlord at the Red Bull in Stockport has told us as he now has no music licence he must now stop the folk club and session.

Mondays Club the 21st November is cancelled.

All sessions in the pub are cancelled and will move to the Arden

Next Monday we'll meet at the Arden arms in Stockport, an old friend
and restart the club in there with a new name etc. After a few weeks
we'll know where we stand....
It shouldn't affect any bookings and all guests will be notified in
full when I know the permanent location of the club.

Peter Hood


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 07:09 PM

A dry Ceilidh?

Urrgghhh!

Isn't that seditious or something?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 26 Nov 05 - 04:48 AM

Not seditious, as the organisers had no choice.

Just the inevitable, and predictable, result of expecting any local authority to administer laws with a "light touch".

We are now seeing exactly what I, and Shambles, along with many others (such as the Performers Lawyers Group) said would happen.

We have been predicting this for several years, and I am sure all the others would agree with me when I say that it gives me no pleasure to be proved right.

IMO, until political parties are compelled to publish in detail the sources of their campaign funds, this bias in favour of recorded music and wide screen satellite TV will continue to blight the future of live music.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Nov 05 - 06:23 AM

This probably touches on most of the points.

House of Lords - Monday 14 November 2005
Lord Colwyn (Conservative):

My Lords, I hope that the House will allow me 60 seconds to say something on behalf of musicians in this country. Every time that I intervened during the passage of the then Bill, the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, chastised me for my continual interventions, and assured me that there was no problem at all and that it was all in my imagination.

However, although the Act includes the "playing of recorded music" in the description of regulated entertainment, that is disapplied in the transition to the new regime for existing bars, pubs, restaurants, hotels and any premises that are already licensed to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises. Those places will be allowed automatically to keep jukeboxes or other systems for the playing of recorded sound, no matter how powerful the amplification.

However, the automatic permission to have one or two live musicians in such venues-amplified or not-will cease. That was the live performer element of the so-called "two in a bar" rule, which since 1961 has been available in those premises as an exception from the general requirement to hold a public entertainment licence for live music.


The DCMS hoped that existing pubs, bars and restaurants would seek authorisation during the transitional period by varying their licence application to include live music, which could be done for one fee. However, that variation is not straightforward. It entails public advertisement at the applicant's expense, and a period for: public consultation; vetting by police, the fire authority, and on grounds of environmental health; planning; and ultimately the approval of the licensing committee of the local authority. If objections are received, whether from local residents or other agencies, a public hearing may be required with the potential for knock-on costs. The Government were warned that the then Bill would do nothing to promote live music. Musicians need venues to play and perform. The Act does nothing to help.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: DMcG
Date: 26 Nov 05 - 06:44 AM

It is worth noting the Government response to Lord Colwyn later in that debate:

The noble Lord, Lord Colwyn, raised the issue of live music—an issue on which he was most eloquent during the Bill's passage. Of course I respect his opinion on that. In the transitional period there has not been a decrease in the number of venues providing live music. We do not think that the Act is bad for live music. We think that abolishing the "two in a bar" rule increases opportunities. As far as we can see in licence applications, there will be increased opportunities for live music in licensed premises. However, as I move from the Scylla of the criticism of the noble Lord I land on the Charybdis of the criticism of the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, on the question of noise. But of course we are concerned that the local community will be in a position to make its contribution to the issuing of licences to guarantee that local opinion is taken into account.

No change in viewpoint there, then. They seem to be claiming that there has been an increase in entertainment 'box-ticking' during the licencing applications. I wonder if we will ever get any hard facts on the extent of this.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: PennyBlack
Date: 26 Nov 05 - 08:59 AM

Now set up a section on the Fylde Folk Forum

Which can be accessed directly HERE

There is also a POLL where you can vote for or against the new license, further information on the new licence and other laws that have an effect on entertainers both amateur, Pro/semi-pro etc.

Have a look at the whole site (if you have time) there might be something else there of interest!

PB
pp The Fylde Folk Forum (UK)


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: MC Fat
Date: 26 Nov 05 - 09:05 AM

The Palm Tree Session was stopped by the PEL police about 18 months ago. We are now back up and running the landlord has filled in the right boxes and we are legal.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: PennyBlack
Date: 26 Nov 05 - 09:10 AM

I heard that the licensing of Hitchin Town Hall was screwed up which is why tonight's Unicorn Ceilidh is dry

How did the music manage to go on????


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 26 Nov 05 - 09:21 AM

They got the musos drunk BEFORE the session started for once...


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Nov 05 - 06:37 PM

Bring your own?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Nov 05 - 04:12 AM

The Palm Tree Session was stopped by the PEL police about 18 months ago. We are now back up and running the landlord has filled in the right boxes and we are legal.

There must have been doubt that this session (or any session) was in fact illegal without a PEL but beacause no legal challenge was made to test it in the courts - we will never know. But its return now must be welcome news and if additional live music events now happen at this venue on other nights - it could well be evidence of an 'explosion in live music as a result of removing the discriminatory two-in-a-bar provision'.

Or you could say that it just balances the event lost at the Red Bull.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 27 Nov 05 - 03:23 PM

They seem to be claiming that there has been an increase in entertainment 'box-ticking' during the licencing applications. I wonder if we will ever get any hard facts on the extent of this.

They can only compare like with like. Since there was no "like" before the current law they cannot compare it. They can only point to legal licences. But since some places did not understand the law and others ignored it (depending upon the licencing officers of the locality) no-one will ever know.

Neither will we. But what we can do it record any sessions that stop.

You should also document any verified examples of problems using the form on
the Musicians' Union Folk, Roots & Traditional Music Section's website at
http://www.mu-frtm.org/pel-form.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST,Marie
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 10:15 AM

Folkie Dave et al.

The MUFRTA is a good idea but doesn't appear to list the Sessions etc that have been affected. A updatable list like Penny suggested on the fylde site looks a good idea or could a thread be locked here?

Marie


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: ET
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 10:41 AM

There is one issue that is beyond the wit of even this Government to control and that is Breweries attitudes to Music. Sam Smiths via MD Humphrey has banned all music. Nellies in Beverley used to heave with musicians. Last Saturday night the Sun was packed to a local Irish Band (Punch the Horse) and Nellies was like a morgue, at least from the outside.

The other probem chain is Wetherspoons, now seeking premises in Beverley. They have no music. I have no issue with no background, jukebox or other piped music (Which Kim Howells confused with Pipe Music during the Licensing Bill debate). But many Wethrspoons pubs are vast and can take over trade from smaller, folk friendly venues.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST,Pavane
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 04:50 AM

Yes, an updatable list is what I suggested above. Glad to see that there is some take-up of the idea.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 07:24 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

See below for a transcript of the BBC2 Culture Show piece about licensing, broadcast last week, Thursday 24 November 2005.

The government declined to put anyone forward for interview, and only made a statement - sulking perhaps about the BBC's other entertainment licensing coverage (the Today programme) which has consistently provided evidence that ministers' 'easier and cheaper' licensing claims were misleading.

The bar which lost its live music as a result of the new regime featured in the Culture Show piece was also featured in the last BBC Radio 4 Today licensing piece, Friday 11 November 2005: La Brocca in West Hampstead.

In addition to live music, the Culture Show covered circuses, street performance and Punch & Judy. All face extra cost and red tape as a result of the new regime; some may go out of business altogether.

You could say that, as far as recreation is concerned, the new Licensing Act represents the triumph of the jobsworths.

~ ~ ~

NB: I haven't indicated every change of backdrop or soundtrack.

Transcript of BBC2 Culture Show - Thursday 24 November 2005, 7pm

'Why changing the drinking laws might call time on Mr Punch'

PRESENTER: Now, today the government's new and controversial licensing laws came into force in England and Wales. Most of the attention has been on late night drinking, but it's also going to affect many forms of entertainment like music, circuses and even Punch and Judy shows. And it's feared that some of the more fringe forms of performance may even go out of business. Zena Saro-Wiwa reports on a cultural tradition that may be the unintended victim in the battle against binge drinking.

ZENA SARO-WIWA [voiceover: shots of drinkers in bars]: For many, the controversial words licensing law brings up one image: drinking round the clock. But while this law hopes to tackle binge drinking it's also about to threaten the livelihood of some British entertainers.

CAROL GANDLEY 'circus proprietor': It's a disaster for circus and other touring arts.

Z S-W: Travelling circuses, large street art events, grassroots live music and even Punch and Judy are facing extra bureaucracy and confusion as a result of the new licensing regime.

JOHN STYLE 'Punch & Judy Professor': We're not superstars you know, we don't get footballers' wages. We've gotta go round with a hat after the show, and to have all this on top of it. He's a British tradition. He should be looked after and preserved.

Z S-W: Many feel that important traditions in our entertainment culture are under threat.

ARTHUR SMITH 'comedian': [shots from Punch & Judy pub, Covent Garden, and piazza performers] People are just so used to sort of the internet, or the mobile phone, or the video game. They forget that there are sort of human beings who are live and in your face, you can sort of smell and their hearts are beating. And, and in a way this legislation is a slap in the face for that kind of entertainment.

[cut to shots of circus performance]

Z S-W: So how is this live, 'in your face' performance being put at risk. Well, in each case new procedures are being introduced. Until today circuses never even needed a licence. But now all this is set to change. There's around 25 to 30 touring circuses in the UK and they'll have to apply for a licence for every site they visit. That could mean 40 to a 100 applications a year. [shots of horse riding display] This horse circus is the very first to have applied for the new licence. In total it cost them over £1,000 and it took them two days to make the application and it's hard to see how small circuses will manage.

CAROL GANDLEY 'circus proprietor': An owner of a small circus is very much involved in the running of the show. There's not going to be the time to spend two days week facilitating a licence application.

Z S-W: [cut to shots of clown form-filling and getting bound up in red tape by glamorous assistant] Circuses had been assured they would be excluded from the new licensing regime. But they weren't. The Arts Council believes the extra costs involved could drive all but a few touring circuses out of business.

CAROL GANDLEY: They're going to move out of tented environments. They're going to be pushed into commercial venues with negative impact on the experimental, artistic side.

Z S-W: The government declined our invitation to be interviewed on this matter of bureaucratic red tape, but they told us that the new licensing won't destroy Britain's circus tradition. They recommended that circuses use sites licensed by councils. But the circus owners we spoke to aren't convinced that all councils will want to licence their land. [cut to street performance] Large street art events which are enjoyed by millions of people each year can also expect problems. The cost of putting on a festival under the new licensing law has now shot up. Many of the free festivals will struggle to find the thousands of pounds now required.

JULIAN RUDD 'Independent street arts network': To give you an indication, the London Mela, which I produce, we'd be looking at something in the region of £24,000 to £36,000. That's the equivalent of half of our progamming budget for all the artistic activity that happens.

Z S-W [cut to shots of stilt-walkers on South Bank getting bound up in red tape]: Here, the government told us there's nothing to stop councils subsidising street artists' events. But there's no guarantee that all councils will want to do this. And if they don't some festivals won't survive.

ARTHUR SMITH: Something that's a bit small scale and quirky, this is the very stuff of life. They don't require that you've done a PhD on Goethe or watch the Culture Show every week. You know, they, they're sort of available you know just for the man, woman, girl, boy in the street.

[Cut to night time shot of bar - jazz piano plays]

Z S-W: Live grassroots music in small, informal venues like bars and restaurants could also be under threat. In fact tonight is the last time jazz duos will play at this bar which has been hosting live music for the past 10 years. Until today small venues across the country like this one used the so-called 'two in a bar rule' which meant two musicians could play without the bar needing a licence.

DAVID LOCKE 'bar owner': Under the new Licensing Act the 'two in a bar rule' disappears and you have to have a music licence. And when I applied to Camden for my new premises licence, they evaluated the place and decided that it was unsuitable for live music. And it would be too expensive to fight it so, you know, it just becomes prohibitive.

Z S-W: But it's these kinds of small-scale venues which offer new talent a place to play. One of them, Gwilym Simcock, winner of a BBC Jazz Award, started out here.

GWILYM SIMCOCK 'jazz musician': In London there are probably only sort of 5 or 6 dedicated jazz clubs, which when you think there's, there's probably up to a 100, maybe more, jazz musicians trying to earn a trade, we all need these kind of peripheral venues to play, whether meet other people and discuss ideas. And if that's to be taken away that's incredibly sad for us all really.

Z S-W: The government argues they are committed to supporting live music and they've created the Live Music Forum which, they say, will ensure this scene thrives. But for this bar, the music has died.

DAVID LOCKE: I shall miss it, and a lot of our regulars er will miss it, so it's just a real shame.

[cut to Punch & Judy on the South Bank]

MR PUNCH: You won't laugh when he kisses me will you everyone! Ready...

Z S-W: And even the good old British tradition of street and beach-front Punch and Judy has been dragged into new licensing regime. Instead of Punch and Judy having a bash at each other they're gonna have to start having a bash at these forms. Because in order for them to perform in public places they're going to need to apply and pay for a licence. In the past the authorities have been sympathetic to outdoor Punch and Judy, allowing it to be performed without a licence, but from today these booths will be treated the same as the National Theatre - except Punch and Judy will need to apply for a licence every time they move.

JOHN STYLES [with Mr Punch, Houses of Parliament in background across the river]: He would actually have to place a notice on the site where he was going to perform which means that on the beach he would probably have to stick a flag in the sand...

MR PUNCH: I don't understand it, do you? Oh no.

JOHN STYLES: He also had to pay £100 for the first licence...

MR PUNCH: Well then sign on the bottom... no not my bottom.

JOHN STYLES: £100 for the advertisement in the newspaper...

MR PUNCH: That's the way to do it... hee hee hee

JOHN STYLES: And that was before he'd even got his licence.

[shot of Punch and Judy booth being wrapped in red tape]

Z S-W: Extra expense, extra time, extra regulation. Is this what the government really wanted? Well they say not. They want to see all these cultural events flourish. But will today actually be the day we sacrifice the fragile world of live, spontaneous performance in favour of booze culture. We'll find out. Either way, these performers won't be going down quietly.

JOHN STYLES: Mr Punch has been in this country for over 300 years. He's a tradition and he's not gonna be regulated out of existence. Even Oliver Cromwell, he banned all theatre, but he did at least leave the puppet shows.

[closing shot: Punch and Judy booth bound in red tape, Houses of Parliament in background across river]

PRESENTER: Zena Saro-Wiwa, and our website has more information about that and all of tonight's reports.

END


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 15 Dec 05 - 11:41 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

In Chiswick, London, a well-known 'two in a bar' gig at the Bulls Head - not to be confused with the Bulls Head in Barnes - was recently stopped because of a noise complaint by one neighbour (using noise legislation, not licensing). However, the gig organiser, saxophonist Eric Gilchrist, managed to find a new venue nearby, the Grove Park Tavern.

Naturally he hoped that under the new regime the venue would be able to host bands. No such luck. It has been granted a licence for live music... by no more than two musicians.

My thanks to Eric for this update.

~ ~ ~

'It looks as though the Samba fraternity is finally waking up to the consequences of the bill,' writes licensing campaigner Phil Little.

The problem is the Act's definition of premises as 'any place', which of course includes streets and public parks, and is why the government has urged local authorities to licence some of these spaces for entertainment. A sambistas' discussion forum on the web includes this comment dated 13 December from Dorian Kelly, director of the Colchester Festival and Great Samba Ramble:

'... In Colchester we have managed to persuade the local council to licence the town centre areas as a whole as well as the park to prevent this problem in the future but many councils are not doing this. Start agitating now locally for them to do this, to prevent the possibility of a large fine and jail sentence.'

[see Forums on www.uksamba.org]
Thanks to Phil for this lead. (I had some problems with this website - if you can't get to the discussion thread let me know and I will send a text copy. HB).

~ ~ ~

Seasonal good news?

In Oughtibridge, near Sheffield, one pub, the Travellers Rest, has apparently been allowed by the local authority to host pre-planned carol singing, accompanied by a pianist using the pub piano, all without a licence for live music. The event went ahead after the new law came into force. Indeed, at this time of year there is a tradition in the area of annual pub carol singing in which all customers participate.

The performances attract visitors from across the UK and beyond. It would seem that the 'incidental music' exemption would not apply in these circumstances.

How did Sheffield City Council do it? So far they have not explained, but I have written to their licensing manager Steve Lonnia to find out. If the council has found a loophole which allows pre-planned music that is not incidental, all venues should benefit.


ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: BB
Date: 15 Dec 05 - 02:25 PM

I wonder if it is because there is no 'audience' as such, therefore they can treat it as if it isn't 'entertainment'. To be 'entertainment' there must be someone to entertain presumably. I don't know - I'm only guessing, as there's no provision for tradition of itself to provide a loophole.

I hope that Hamish will keep us in touch with any answer he may receive from the Council.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 15 Dec 05 - 02:44 PM

Barbara - The thing that you have overlooked and I must admit that I did also - is the piano. If it is playable - it remains an Entertainment Facility and licensable.

However, I tend to agree that in order to be considered as Regulated Entertainment it has to be - for the purpose or purposes which include the purpose of entertaining even one spectator. And that social musical gatherings like this (or perhaps without a piano) are not for that purpose and would take place in the complete absence of any spectators.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: ET
Date: 15 Dec 05 - 02:59 PM

I recently read that, following protests by a Town Council, the District Council dropped its demand for £21 and a Temporary Event Notice, for a charitable carol singing event in the town square lead by the Town Mayor. I don't know how this was dropped but could you imagine the outrage if the district council prosecuted the town council and its mayor (£20,000 and or 6 months imprisonment for his worship!) all for holding a carol singing event that has been going on for 50 years!


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Dec 05 - 03:25 PM

I suppose that if somebody puts on a Father Christmas costume it can be classed as mumming and is therefore exempt!


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Dec 05 - 02:05 AM

Mumming is the performace of a play - thus it needs entertainment permission.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 10:42 AM

Mumming and morris dancing are exempt.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST,Peter Crabb-Wyke
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 10:44 AM

Sorry, I was the anonymoyus guest. Unlike Mr Gall I don't hide behind a false name.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: DMcG
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 02:07 PM

Much as I hate to get involved in this again, the actual phrase of Schedule 1, Part 2, Clause 11 states:

The provision of entertainment or entertainment facilities is not to be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment for the purpose of this Act to the extent that it consists of the provision of (a) a performance of Morris dancing or any dancing of a similar nature or the performance of unamplified, live music as an integral part of such a performance, or (b) facilities for enabling persons to take part in entertainment of a description falling within paragraph (a).

Mumming is not mentioned I'm afraid, Peter. It is certainly not dancing so it is not 'dancing similar to morris'.

(As for my name, I've been DMCG on the Internet since I first used it decades ago, but feel free to call me Dave McGlade!)


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 03:12 PM

Unlike Mr Gall I don't hide behind a false name.

If I was trying to hide behind anything - I am obviously not doing a very good job of it - am I? Perhaps we can leave personal judgements of each other out of this one thread and concentrate on the issue?

Schedule 1

Entertainment

2 (i) The descriptions of entertainment are-

(a) a performance of a play
(b) an exhibition of a film
(c) an indoor sporting event
(d) a boxing or wrestling entertainment
(e) a performance of live music
(f) any playing of recorded music
(g) a performance of dance
(h) entertainment of a similat description to that falling within paragraph (e), (f) or (g),

where the entertainment takes place in the presence of an audience and is provided for the purpose, or for purposes which include the purpose. of entertaining that audience.

(2) Any reference in sub-paragraph (1) to an audience includes reference to spectators.

(3) This paragraph is subject to Part 3 of this Schedule (interpetation).


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Dec 05 - 05:19 AM

Entertainment facilities

3 (1) In this Schedule, "entertainment facilities" means facilities for enabling persons to take part in entertainment of a description falling within sub-paragraph (2) for the purpose, or for the purposes which include the purpose, of being entertained.

(2) The descriptions of entertainment are-
(a) making music,
(b) dancing
(c) entertainment of a similar description to that falling within paragraph (a) or (b).

(3) This paragraph is subject to Part 3 of this Schedule (interpretaion).

Power to amend Schedule

4 The Secretary of State may by order amend this Schedule for the purpose of modifying-

(a) the descriptions of entertainment specified in paragraph 2, or
(b) the descriptions of entertainment specified in paragraph 3,

and for this purpose "modify" includes adding, varying or removing any description.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 Dec 05 - 01:25 PM

In fact last night the pianist failed to show.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Dec 05 - 06:11 PM

The surreal thing is that in order for the venue to require entertainment permission - the piano player does not need to turn-up.

For the piano does not need to actually be played - it only neeeds to be present and in a playable condition to be considered as an entertainment facility.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 Dec 05 - 07:12 PM

I am sure that is right Roger.

Once again.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Dec 05 - 04:27 PM

http://new.edp24.co.uk/content/news/story.aspx?brand=EDPOnline&category=News&tBrand=edponline&tCategory=news&itemid=NOED18%20Dec%202005%2020:45:12:420

The following extract from the above.

Carol singing licensing confusion

19 December 2005 07:30


Church leaders were forced to pull the plug on a popular outdoor carol service in Norfolk over the weekend amid fears it would breach public performance legislation.

And now there are concerns that many other carol singing events in the run up to Christmas could be in breach of licensing regulations.

The confusion over licensing saw the inter-denominational Christmas carol service called off at the last minute..........................


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Dec 05 - 04:35 PM

Obviously different laws apply in Norfolk than appear to apply in Yorkshire in this season of goodwill.......


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Dec 05 - 04:51 PM

There is a lot of regional variation.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/dorset/4543480.stm

Police carol singers seize drugs Nine police officers disguised themselves as Victorian carol singers to carry out a drugs raid.
The Dorset Police officers were dressed in cloaks and top hats and were carrying lanterns when they arrived at their intended target in Weymouth.

With stab-proof vests and CS spray under their costumes, the officers sang carols until the door was answered.

They then searched the house and seized £400 worth of cocaine. Two people were arrested and later released on bail.

A police spokesman said: "It was a successful operation. The carol singing disguise was used as a way of getting near the property and surprising the people inside.

"We knew there would be a few people in the house so we had to be prepared and fortunately we got a result."


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 02:04 AM

I made an equiry yesterday and found that the licensing section could not tell me which of the the Premises Licensed venues had entertainment permission. And of course each licence will be different.

It may be possible for a licensee on the phone to tell you that their pub has obtained entertainment permission. But this may only enable them to provide a Regulated Entertainment like Indoor Sports - but not for live music.

Under the old legislation you could ask for and obtain from the local authority a list of the premises that had PELs.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Grab
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 07:12 AM

The regular Friday session at the Bees in the Wall (Whittlesford, Cambridge) was closed, after the decision of the landlord that he no longer wished to host the club. In light of this, he decided not to get a license for live music. We'd seen this coming some way off, so it was no surprise to us.

The group has therefore moved to the Carlton Arms (Kings Hedges, Cambridge) which *has* ticked the relevant box. And we've now got more regular participants than we had before!

Additionally, we (and all sessions in the country) can now have as many musicians playing as we like - we're no longer limited to individuals or pairs only. This has freed us to perform as groups.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 08:04 AM

Additionally, we (and all sessions in the country) can now have as many musicians playing as we like - we're no longer limited to individuals or pairs only. This has freed us to perform as groups.

It has not 'freed' all sessions - only those sessions fortunate enough to be in premises where the licensee has applied and obtained entertainment permisson from a third party.

It certainly does not appear to have freed them in my local where the application for entertainment permission was limited to two performers or less.

But the real question is - if the session could will and often does take place in the complete absence of any audience or spectators for the enjoyment of its participants - why should it be considered to be a licensable Regulated Entertainment in the first place?

Is your local licensing authority insisting on entertainment permission for social games of darts or pool? If not - why not? For these Indoor Sports are now equally considered as much Regulated Entertainment as live music is.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: folktheatre
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 10:04 AM

(c) an indoor sporting event
(d) a boxing or wrestling entertainment

I thought boxing and wrestling were sports?

And also I suppose you could switch a telly on and that'd be ok but you'd have to turn it off when a film came on?

I liked the mention of a piano being an item of entertainment even when no one's playing it! "Let's all stand around the piano and admire it!"

Let's all fight the powers that be! These 'laws', bills whatever they are, are ridiculous. Build a shed and play in that inviting locals for your 'folk event'!


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 02:37 PM

Punch Taverns in landmark licensing case
The Publican
Published 8th December 2005


Punch Taverns is taking Leeds City Council to a judicial review over its licensing policy.
On Wednesday, December 7, judicial proceedings were issued against the council.

The landmark move will see the council taken to the Royal Courts of Justice over its policy, which Punch claims has been placing onerous conditions on pub licences.

In September, Leeds Magistrates Court threw out an appeal by Punch against Leeds City Council. Punch claimed the conditions placed on four of its pubs, which included the fitting of a fire alarm in one premises and imposing a requirement to carry out safety checks at another, were unlawful under the principles of the Licensing Act and were a duplication of existing legislation.

It is thought the review could be held as early as next month.
ENDS


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Subject: White Horse Hertford STOPPED
From: IanC
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 04:58 AM

WHITE HORSE HERTFORD SESSION STOPPED

Last Sunday, quite a few people turned up at The White Horse, Castle Street, Hertford for the regular 3rd Sunday music session. They were told by Nigel, the landlord, that the session could not go ahead as his license didn't include entertainment.

The White Horse session has been going for over 20 years with hardly a break. It has now had to stop, due in large part to the Licensing Act 2003.

:-(
Ian


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Grab
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 08:14 AM

It has not 'freed' all sessions - only those sessions fortunate enough to be in premises where the licensee has applied and obtained entertainment permisson from a third party.

In other words, any pub in the country who intends to host live music...

It certainly does not appear to have freed them in my local where the application for entertainment permission was limited to two performers or less.

So if your landlord chooses that limit, that's up to him/her. The problem is the landlord, not the Act. Or the local council if they're the ones imposing that limit. If they're the sticking point, ask them why they imposed that limit - under the new Act, you have the right to know why the council made a particular decision over licensing (which you never had before).

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 12:42 PM

So if your landlord chooses that limit, that's up to him/her. The problem is the landlord, not the Act. Or the local council if they're the ones imposing that limit. If they're the sticking point, ask them why they imposed that limit - under the new Act, you have the right to know why the council made a particular decision over licensing (which you never had before).

No the problem remains that even with the required permission - only a duo can legally play any live music and no session with more than two participants can take place. Who is to blame for this problem is less important that trying to sort it out.

The venue's legal team decided on these words in order to preserve the same rights to provide live music as they had before. And to ensure that no objections to any increase made to the live music provision slowed-up or prevented the claim for extended drinking hours. An understandable position under the circumstances - I think you would agree.

For had they not made this application - they would have lost these rights. Unlike the right to continue to provide recorded music.

The answer I received from my local council is the following:

I can confirm that neither our Statement of licensing Policy , nor any licenses that we have issued refer to 'performers'. And there are no conditions on any licenses restricting the number of musicians that can play.

I know the application was so worded because I saw it. So something does not add-up...........It will be interesting to see what the final licence states. And if it is different from the application - as the council imply that it is - establishing the process by which it was changed will be just as interesting. I will keep you informed.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST,Dáithí Ó Geanainn
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 05:12 AM

Hi Shambles
Just picking up a point you made in an earler post:
Surely sessions should be exempt as they are not provided for the purpose of entertainment?
What do you think?

Dáithí


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Ian
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 05:42 AM

I would have thought Carol singing was exempt, as it is not entertainment but an expression of religious belief. Any bans on carol services should be directed to the Queen who is the head of the reconised religion of the UK (defender of the faith). Any lower authority instigating a ban ie local goverment, should be charged with religious discrimination.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 09:22 AM

Not always an expression of religious belief - the "Sheffield" traditional carols are an expression of singing and community. Indeed a number of the songs which are sung are not even carols. "Hail Smiling Morn", "Swaledale", "Misteltoe Bough" being prime examples.

And the places are full of non-believers!!

Hark Hark and Wassail,

Dave


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST,Mike
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 11:52 AM

Having been involved in public events, collections an carolling for many years. I feel that the organisers of these events are more to blame than the local council; I have always had to apply for permission for a collection, or public performance if not on private property, and have always done so, well in advance of the event.

OK now I may have to pay for some of the licences, depending on what and where it is, that would previously have been "No charge Incurred" but that is the only real difference, and two events I previously would have had to pay for have been free this year as the location already had a licence.

So why didn't the organisers contact their local council for permission (10 days minimum for a TEN)and if told a TEN was required obtain it?

Mike


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST,Mike
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 12:01 PM

QUOTE:-
WHITE HORSE HERTFORD SESSION STOPPED

Last Sunday, quite a few people turned up at The White Horse, Castle Street, Hertford for the regular 3rd Sunday music session. They were told by Nigel, the landlord, that the session could not go ahead as his license didn't include entertainment.

The White Horse session has been going for over 20 years with hardly a break. It has now had to stop, due in large part to the Licensing Act 2003.

:-(
Ian


COMMENT:

If he didn't apply for entertainment to be included in his licence, I presume he doesn't class his pub as an entertainment venue? So a session at this venue would be incidental???

Mike


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 12:52 PM

Shouldn't the title of this thread have (England) added to it??
G..


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 06:05 AM

If he didn't apply for entertainment to be included in his licence, I presume he doesn't class his pub as an entertainment venue? So a session at this venue would be incidental???

Perhaps he is fed up of badly-played bodhrans? I think we should be told.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 05:08 AM

I know the application was so worded because I saw it. So something does not add-up...........It will be interesting to see what the final licence states. And if it is different from the application - as the council imply that it is - establishing the process by which it was changed will be just as interesting. I will keep you informed.

I did speak to the licensee and that mystery is solved. After I had spoken to him prior to the application - he contacted the pubco (Punch Taverns) and the application was changed. He did not volunteer what it was changed to and I still have not seen the final form of the licence - as it was not displayed.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Dec 05 - 07:56 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

The Musicians' Union 'is fairly confident the [new licensing] regulations have not had an adverse effect', reported last Wednesday's Guardian.
['Circus performers get caught in the act', Mark Honigsbaum, Guardian, p13, 28.12.05; http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/news/story/0,,1674333,00.html

The reason for the union's position was not clear. Their view was reported in the second of only two sentences refering to the union in a full-page, wide-ranging article examining the potential effect on circuses, street arts, music, and Punch and Judy.

In the preceding sentence, Honigsbaum reported that 'Last week the Musicians' Union sent questionnaires to all 30,000 members to gauge the effect of the law change [sic] on pubs and other venues that used to host live music.'

The deadline for MU members to complete and return these questionnaires is 31 January 2006. It is, I suppose, possible that sufficient numbers had been completed and returned to inform the union's position as published in the Guardian on 28 December. But although the questionnaire is designed in such a way that it could reveal a rise or fall in the number of live music venues locally and nationally, there are problems when it comes to establishing the reasons for any change.

Of the survey's 14 questions only 5 are licensing-related, and only one, it seems to me, could of itself establish a connection between the new licensing laws and a fall in gig numbers. This is Q12: 'Of the venues that have stopped staging live music, how many previously benefited from the old 'two in a bar' rule, i.e. they didn't hold a Public Entertainment Licence but regularly staged soloists/duos?'.

Two of the three other licensing-related questions ask whether members know of venues that have started or stopped promoting live music this year (Qs10 and 11). They do not ask whether this is as a result of the licensing changes - and there are many other reasons why venues might start or stop hosting live music. If the results when analysed suggest either an overall rise or fall in gig venues, it will be impossible to say with certainty whether this is due to the new licensing law. To do that would require additional information directly from the venues themselves. The questionnaire does ask for the venues' details, so in theory it should be possible to find out why they decided for or against live music - but only by further investigation.

When I worked for the union on this issue, it was on the assumption that the executive committee and the senior officers understood that over many years entertainment licensing had led to a significant decline in live gig venues, and that we all wanted licensing reform to result in a significant increase in potential opportunities for employment. If the new Act has simply preserved the status quo ante, that to my mind, justifies the revival of a proactive campaign for legislative reform.

MU members could reasonably ask what their union's policy on licensing will be if indeed it is true that the Licensing Act has had 'no adverse effect'. I would be interested to learn what replies they get.
ENDS

Is 'no adverse effect' the same as an 'explosion of live music'? As there appears to be no way of measuring either - perhaps it can be?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 10:28 AM

Jamie Cullum leads the way


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Jan 06 - 06:40 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

Following The Times' coverage, BBC R4's 'Front Row' interviewed Jamie Cullum yesterday about his protest against the new licensing laws, (see transcript below).

It seems The Times misquoted Jamie, and his 'protest gig' now looks unlikely. Nonetheless, he remains outspoken in his opposition. Note that both the BBC and The Times were inaccurate about the '£1000 licence fee'. For a typical bar or restaurant, it would be knock-on costs that push the total bill to over £1000. However, as earlier BBC reports showed, total costs including live music permission were often in excess of £2,000. This came about because of lawyers' fees and the cost of architects' plans, not to mention implementing local authority licence conditions which can add thousands more.

DCMS is up to its usual tricks, reportedly claiming that the new law is 'fairer'. Fairer to recorded and broadcast entertainment, yes. Jukeboxes and other sound systems already in situ were waved through on the nod, and big screen sport (or music) is exempt. But the unlicensed provision of one or two live musicians in a restaurant, even unamplified, is criminalised.

DCMS also claim in a statement that 'a significant number of pubs have applied for the new entertainment licences'. What they didn't tell the BBC is: 1) Live music applications are not granted licences; 2) many such applications will fail, and many will be granted subject to expensive conditions (installing CCTV for example); 3) even where they are granted, only when the licence conditions are implemented will it be legal to have live music; 4) a very significant number of pubs have lost the automatic right to solo or duo gigs and will not have any live music permission on their new premises licence.

Several musicians have contacted me in the last week with reports of more two-in-a-bar gigs lost as a direct result of the new licensing laws. I am preparing these for another circular shortly.

~ ~ ~

BBC Radio 4 Front Row - Friday 13 January 2006, 7.30pm approx - Jamie Cullum licensing protest

Presenter, Kirsty Lang: Hello. The top-selling singer and pianist Jamie Cullum tells us why he's planning to stage an illegal gig.

[Other programmed items are introduced before the pre-recorded interview with Jamie]

Kirsty Lang: [Richard Ashcroft music plays].... Richard Ashcroft, and 'Keys to the world' is out on January 23rd on the Parlophone label and you can find details of Ashcroft's current tour by going to our website. Now he has spoken about how he likes playing small, intimate venues. Something which fellow singer Jamie Cullum warned today is under threat. The best-selling jazz musician says he's planning to stage an illegal gig in protest at the government's new licensing laws which means that all venues are gonna to have to pay £1000 to put live music on, even if it's only one man on a keyboard in a pub. Up until November, no licence was required if there was only one or two musicians playing. Well I spoke to Jamie Cullum on his way to a gig in Cardiff earlier today, and I asked him why he was making this stand.

Jamie Cullum: I feel quite strongly about this, this whole thing because about 90% of my gigs over the last five years now don't exist. The ones where I played and learned and got experience, and earnt money. And I've so many friends now who aren't signed to labels, who aren't, you know, earning big money or anything who have lost a lot of their gigs.

Kirsty Lang: So what you're saying is that er none of the places you played, the landlords wouldn't be prepared to pay a £1000 licence fee

Jamie Cullum: Well the thing is...

Kirsty Lang: to put a gig on...

Jamie Cullum: ... a lot of people don't know how it works, because normally when you get something like jazz which is a kind of minority interest music, it's not normally the venues who decide to put music on. It's normally like a, a local enthusiast who goes along to a venue and says why don't you have a jazz night once a Thursday, I'll promote it, I'll put it on and, and all we'll need is this, and you know I'll get some more people down, I promise it'll work. And suddenly there's a thousand pounds to be paid, and you know the landlord certainly isn't going to do it and your average everyday promoter from Wiltshire or from wherever, or the outskirts of London, isn't gonna be able to afford that and, and therefore won't be doing it.

Kirsty Lang: Do you have a, a date and a venue yet for your illegal gig?

Jamie Lang: No, I mean the thing... I was slightly misquoted on that because of course it wouldn't be me who was arrested. You know it would be the venue who was in breach of that contract, but I was so annoyed when I realised that it was actually coming in that I, I just really think that er, you know I believe this law's been implemented because they were just trying to tie up all the loose ends with the licensing laws. These laws have always been a bit weird. Back in the day when I was doing duo gigs, you know if you had a third musician suddenly it was against the law. You could have the White Stripes in, you know because it was just two people. So it just hasn't been thought through, and it hasn't been thought through the impact it has on the everyday musician.

Kirsty Lang: Well I mean, as you, as you say the previous law was nonsensical, according to the Culture Department. Actually, the point now is that the law, they say, will be fairer.

Jamie Cullum: Well, it certainly kind of, put some kind of governmental kind of stamp on it... [phrase unclear] now there's kind of restrictions. But unfortunately now what it's just doing is driving live music out of your everyday average place.

Kirsty Lang: Jamie Cullum. And we did talk to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport who look after these matters and they told us that a significant number of pubs have applied for the new entertainment licences.

END of Jamie Cullum piece.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Jan 06 - 09:14 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

Musicians have told me of further gig losses due to the new licensing laws (see below).

In two cases I have been asked not to publish the venue's name because the owners do not want to risk antagonising their local authority when or if they decide to apply for a live music authorisation. In one case enforcement against an unlicensed 'two in a bar' gig was aggressive (threats of a £20,000 fine and possible imprisonment).

I have tried to find examples of venues that have started live music as a result of the new legislation. Despite rumours of several such places in the south west, in the end I was only given one name: the Dove Inn, Micheldever Station, Hampshire. However, when I phoned the landlord it turned out he had obtained a public entertainment licence and started the live music well before the new law came into force. He had simply converted this existing PEL into a live music authorisation under the new regime.

~ ~ ~

Reported gig losses:

London and Oxfordshire: Jazz singer Alison Bentley reports that licensing problems caused the cancellation at short notice recently of a one-off function in Flemings Hotel in Mayfair. More seriously, however, she has also lost a regular Sunday gig in a hotel near Oxford. Alison has asked that this venue remains anonymous for the present because the local authority has taken a hard line with the venue, and publicity may jeopardise a future application for live music.

Clerkenwell, London: pianist and composer Duncan Miller reports the loss of a weekly 'two in a bar' gig at a Clerkenwell bar. Again, the venue does not want publicity because of fears this could jeopardise the 'variation' live music application they are currently considering. The gigs had to be cancelled because of a misunderstanding between the licensee and Islington council during the licence conversion last year. This led to the venue failing to apply for live music authorisation.

Willesden, London: a monthly amateur big band gig at Cafe Gigi in the Willesden Green Library Centre has been cancelled. Brent Council told me that the venue used to have a public entertainment licence but did not renew it. I have not so far been able to speak to the venue's owner. According to musicians involved, the owner has been put off by the hassle of applying under the new regime. It is not clear, however, why Temporary Event Notices (TENs) have not been used to keep the gig going for the time being. However, where profit margins are small or non-existent, even £21 may prove to be a disincentive. The maximum 12 TENs allowed per premises per year would total £252.

Bath: trombonist Mel Henry reports that a regular duo gig at the Cafe Rouge in Bath has been cancelled 'temporarily' while they apply for a new licence. He adds: 'Goodness knows how long that will take!'

ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Jan 06 - 09:19 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

Following their coverage of Jamie Cullum's take on the new licensing laws, The Times online is inviting contributions to the debate:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,564-1981930,00.html

All contributions so far are entirely in support of Jamie. Please add your views.

PS: The Clerkenwell venue that has cancelled its weekly 'two in a bar' gig because of licensing problems is the Old China Hand pub. The owner has now given permission for this to be publicised.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Jan 06 - 06:11 AM

Remember this minister's quote: 'My view is that there will be an explosion in live music as a result of removing the discriminatory two-in-a-bar provision' (Lord McIntosh, House of Lords, 26 November 2002). This summer James Purnell repeatedly told us on the BBC how much better the new regime would be for live music.

Any sign or evidence of this explosion?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Jan 06 - 06:41 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall
-----------
Feargal Sharkey, chair of the Live Music Forum, is calling on every local authority to donate rehearsal space for musicians. See DCMS press release yesterday (26 Jan 06):
http://www.culture.gov.uk/global/press_notices/archive_2006/dcms012_06.htm

In the press release, DCMS describes the LMF thus:
'As well as working with partners across the live music world to ensure they make the most of the opportunities offered by the Licensing Act 2003, the Forum is also looking at a range of ways to promote live music and foster grass roots talent.'

'Opportunities'?

Rehearsal spaces will be licensable if they are used for public performance, or for private performance if profit is the intention, or indeed for a private performance put on to raise money for charity. Most private gigs used to be exempt.

Some lawyers argue that the Act even catches private music-making for your own amusement, if the performers are charged with a view to profit.

The maximum penalty for providing an unlicensed performance, where a licence is required is a £20,000 fine and six months in jail.
ENDS
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If this really does result in more rehearsal spaces - that will be good thing. However I am still waiting for any sign of the 'explosion in live music' that was promised in Parliament by not replacing the 'two-in-a-bar' rule with a better exemption. Something that may provide all these acts that are now supposed to be able to find rehearsal space - with the places they need to learn to be able to perform.

It would be nice to see the Live Music Forum calling on every local authority to hold a sensible policy on all aspects of live music making.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Jan 06 - 01:52 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

The loss of a weekly 'two in a bar' gig in Cafe Rouge, Bath, is reported in today's Daily Telegraph ('Live music "hit by licensing changes"', Paul Stokes, Monday 30 January 2006, p20). Unfortunately the article is not available online.

The Telegraph piece includes perhaps the first encouraging comment on this issue from the Musicians' Union since the Licensing Act received royal assent in July 2003. MU spokesperson Keith Ames is quoted: 'This law only came in on Nov 24 and until it has been in operation for a while we cannot judge whether it is a success or not. If the feedback is that this Act has been poor for live music, then we will be the first people at the barricades demanding that something be done about it.'

It is worth remembering that the MU and DCMS have had a long time in which to sell the purported benefits of the Act for live music. In the two years and five months between the Act receiving royal assent and coming into force the Musicians' Union has seemed, publicly at least, happy to go along with DCMS spin. The MU sent out 'live music kits' to all members to pass on to bars, restaurants and any other potential venue. The text might have been written by the DCMS press office. The fact that the Act criminalised innocuous unlicensed gigs that had enjoyed exemptions for decades, or which had never required licensing before, seemed to have been forgotten.

Tomorrow, 31 Jan, is the closing date for MU members to return the union's questionnaire about the impact of the new Licensing Act.

However, because the questionnaire failed to ask members to establish the reason why venues started or stopped having live music, it will be of limited value. Even where 'two in a bar' gigs are found to have stopped, and this coincides with the Licensing Act coming into force, this does not establish a direct causal link. If many members report such gig losses it would look less like a coincidence, but it would have been so much better to have established the cause unambiguously.

This lost opportunity is all the more reason to lobby your MP, particularly if you know of gigs lost due to the new legislation. I usually recommend the www.writetothem.com website at this point - but for some reason it is not working at the moment.

ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Jan 06 - 01:54 PM

Also see this from the Guardian.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1697703,00.html


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 08:01 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

On Monday 30 January culture minister David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, made a sustained and impassioned speech about the value of music at the Association of British Orchestras annual conference: http://www.davidlammy.co.uk/da/29578

'... when I stand up in the House of Commons at the Despatch Box and find my voice on behalf of the Government, it is the power of music that has given me the confidence and strength to do so,' he said.

He also said: '... No one can legislate to produce a Mozart. But what we can do is try to create the conditions in which world class ensembles can thrive and make sure enough people have the means to access what they have to offer. '

In fairness, Lammy was talking about classical music in the context of the need for reform of the Arts Council. Nonetheless, there remains a profound contradiction between his undoubtedly genuine sentiment and the new Licensing Act.

If live music is as important as he believes, why does the new licensing law treat it as: 1) a threat to society that in most public places must be subject to criminal law sanctions unless licensed, and 2) a greater threat than rioting football supporters in bars?

Lammy's website includes a contact page with an email facility:
http://www.davidlammy.co.uk/contact


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 08:03 AM

Today's Guardian has a trio of licensing-related letters:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,1699093,00.html


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Tootler
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 07:20 PM

I love this one.

"live music always acts as a magnet in whatever community it is being played. It brings people from outside that community who, having no connection locally behave in a way that is inappropriate, criminal and disorderly"

I go to a singaround in Thirsk on a Thursday night. Half a dozen folkies of a certain age singing an eclectic mix of songs and playing some tunes. There are often local youngsters about who sometimes come in to the bar we are in to listen and otherwise sit in the lobby outside our room having a quiet drink (literally). I was quite taken aback one night to hear my playing Da Slockit Light on tenor recorder as "Awesome"!

Is this what the Association of Chief Police Officers was worried about? It makes you wonder!

The undesirable one from Middlesbrough


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 07:41 PM

Just heard today that the Song Day, which has been run by Barry Goodman every March for the last few years, in the Sunrunner pub in Hitchin, is going to have to happen somewhere else instead, if it happens at all. Apparently the pub's licence doesn't cover allowing a bunch of people to sit around in an upstairs room singing songs.

I hope someone is collating all these instances of things winding down because of the new law, because we were promised there would be a honest process to reviewing the results, with a view to modifying the law if it causes these kinds of things to happen.

Some MPs appear actually to believe that kind of government promise. Or at least they claim to do so. (Then they talk about "the luxury of hindsight" and how no one could have expected things to happen that were actually predicted by everyone who knew anything about it. Singing, drinking, wars...)


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 07:44 PM

A previous thread about the Annual 'Day of Song', Hertfordshire, UK


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Feb 06 - 05:19 AM

Apparently the pub's licence doesn't cover allowing a bunch of people to sit around in an upstairs room singing songs.

Is anyone in the local authority saying that a bunch of people playing social games of darts or pool requires this pub to have Premises License entertainment permission or that such a thing would be prevented without it?

Perhaps we need some more details? Who is saying that the pub's licence does not cover a bunch of people sitting and singing songs? Is the room used for other activities?

But if this LA is setting out on such a course - it should first be reasonably sure that it would be successful in obtaining a prosecution in court. The only way it can do this is to make a case that it is for the purpose of entertaining an audience and thus Regulated Entertainment.

If it truly is just a group of people meeting in the pub to provide their own entertainment and they would still do this in the complete absence of anyone who might be described by the LA as an audience - there is case law to suggest that such a prosecution would be unsuccessful.

There is none to suggest it would suceed.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Feb 06 - 12:30 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

Two city-based council licensing managers I have spoken to this week (one in London) estimated that 50-60% of their pubs have no live music authorisation under the new Licensing Act. Both work for large authorities. It may be that 40-50% is the typical live music licence uptake for built-up areas.

The 'glass half empty' interpretation would be: 50-60% of bars have lost any automatic right to make a feature of live music. They are now restricted to a maximum 12 gigs a year under the temporary licence scheme, and 'incidental' music.

One lobbyist for the licensed trade said to me: 'They probably didn't want any live music anyway, so what's the problem?' His first claim may be true, but there is a big problem. As Jamie Cullum said in his BBC interview on 13 Jan, with jazz it is often a local musician that organises a new gig. Landlords may be reluctant at first. But even if one landlord didn't want live music, why should his view mean that a new landlord has to go through an expensive and time-consuming licence application just to put on a weekly gig by a solo pianist, for example? In pub chains, landlords often move on after a couple of years. Another part of the problem is that, during the licence conversion process, bars automatically kept their recorded sound systems, and big screens - no licence conditions could be applied, no one could object. The Act does not treat live and recorded music equally, as DCMS has claimed.

The 'glass half full' view would be: 40-50% of bars can have live music. Is this good? The Department for Culture might say so. But they would need to know more if they were to justify such a claim:

1. Of those with a live music permission, how many were conversions of an existing public entertainment licence?
2. How many got permission just to keep one or two musicians (like the Grove Park Hotel in Chiswick)?
3. How many live music permissions are subject to conditions that have yet to be implemented by the venue?
4. Where conditions apply, what are they exactly (they could include restrictions on the days/times of performance, and even the nature of the music provided)?

None of the local authorities I have spoken to have been able to provide this information. Indeed, even when their public licensing registers are fully up to speed they will probably not include this level of detail.

DCMS is currently working with 10 local authorities in an evaluation of the implementation of the Licensing Act, including Birmingham, Blackpool, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Taunton Deane (I don't yet have the 10th council's name). Feedback will inform the review of the licensing Guidance that has already been announced. Part of the evaluation will cover live music. Councils are also under pressure to provide information for the separate licence fee review currently underway.

One of the participating licensing managers told me that they still have a backlog of licences to issue, and they don't yet know exactly what information about live music DCMS is seeking. In any case his council would only be able to provide very limited data, i.e. the number of live music permissions they had granted, and what proportion this represented of all applications.

It would seem that DCMS is in a difficult position if it wants to claim that the Act has been good for live music on the basis of local authority licence data.

ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Feb 06 - 12:39 PM

http://www.thepublican.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=19716&d=32&h=24&f=23&dateformat=%25o%20%25B%20%25Y

The Publican
Council says sorry for shutting pub
Published 2nd February 2006
A council has apologised for closing a West Yorkshire pub temporarily because the personal licence-holder was not present.


The Generous Pioneer, a Wacky Warehouse pub in Burley-in-Wharfedale, was shut down for 45 minutes by officials from Bradford Metropolitan District Council on January 22.

But under the Licensing Act pubs are not required to have a personal licence-holder on site at all times.

The pub was allowed to reopen after the council admitted its mistake.

Tracy McCluckie, Bradford Council's licensing manager, said: "It was a misunderstanding which has now been
cleared up.

"We have written to the licence holder and apologised for any inconvenience."

But a spokeswoman for Wacky Warehouse operator Spirit Group, now owned by Punch Taverns, said the company had yet to receive a letter of apology from the council.

She added the closure had caused "both an adverse effect on trade and the enjoyment of our customers".

Tony Payne, chief executive of the Federation of Licensed Victuallers' Associations, said: "We accept that there will be some misunderstandings involving council officials and pubs, but hopefully this has clarified what pubs are allowed to do under the new Act."


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 03:20 AM

a href=http://www.thepublican.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=19758&d=32&h=24&f=23&dateformat=%25o%20%25B%20%25Y> http://www.thepublican.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=19758&d=32&h=24&f=23&dateformat=%25o%20%25B%20%25Y

Major drop in violent crime since Licensing Act
Published 8th February 2006


Serious violent crime has dropped by more than a fifth since the new Licensing Act was introduced, according to official figures.
The Home Office statistics, released today, fly in the face of concerns that the new laws would mean drink-fuelled Armageddon on Britain's streets.

They show that serious violent crime was 21 per cent lower in the last three months of 2005, while total violent crime was down 11 per cent. The number of woundings fell by 14 per cent.

This included a six-week period when the police were given £2.5m to target alcohol-related crime.

ENDS

I like the factual tone of The Publican's last paragraph.............


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 03:21 AM

http://www.thepublican.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=19758&d=32&h=24&f=23&dateformat=%25o%20%25B%20%25Y

Major drop in violent crime since Licensing Act
Published 8th February 2006


Serious violent crime has dropped by more than a fifth since the new Licensing Act was introduced, according to official figures.
The Home Office statistics, released today, fly in the face of concerns that the new laws would mean drink-fuelled Armageddon on Britain's streets.

They show that serious violent crime was 21 per cent lower in the last three months of 2005, while total violent crime was down 11 per cent. The number of woundings fell by 14 per cent.

This included a six-week period when the police were given £2.5m to target alcohol-related crime.

ENDS

I like the factual tone of The Publican's last paragraph.............


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 03:25 AM

Good thread this Shambles. Thanks for keeping us updated.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Feb 06 - 09:45 AM

I am advised by Hamish Birchall that on R4 PM yesterday, James Purnell accepted the Conservative criticism that these statistics cannot tell us anything reliable because there is no previous study against which to compare them (apart from the extra cash that was provided). He said much more time was needed.

A point that wasn't conceded by The DCMS with the earlier MORI live music data.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Feb 06 - 10:24 AM

More information on the following BBC site.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4695224.stm


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Feb 06 - 10:34 AM

Six months ago, I sent a letter to the DCMS (vis my MP) which asked the following questions about how local authorities were enforcing this legislation locally.

The fear is that it is not the provision of that entertainment that is being regulated in this example. What appears to be regulated here - is the sale of alcohol, and it is being made a condition of the sale of alcohol that darts and live music should stop at 11 and recorded music can continue until 12pm. If so – the danger becomes wholly clear that local authorities are now attaching conditions - even to things that are not in themselves regulated - when licensing things that are regulated.

In the light of this - can you establish from the Minister - what is now preventing conditions for new lavatory blocks, re-wiring, treble glazing, air conditioning, chillout rooms, crush rails, bouncers, etc and all the things that the Government have assured us there wouldn't be under this legislation?


And

If these licensing committees have no grounds to and cannot refuse or limit the extended opening hours and the official bodies accept the application as it stands – even when there are local objections – can you ask the Minister concerned to ensure that Government take action to prevent conditions like these being imposed? For these conditions are mere a 'token gesture' – risk damaging perfectly safe activities, are questionably legal and cannot be justified under the four main objectives of the Act.

This was the minister's reply.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport
James Purnell MP
Minister for Creative Industry and Tourism
2-4 Cockspur Street
London
SW1Y 5DH
www.culture.gov.uk
Tel 020 7211 6305
james.purnell@culture.gsi.gov.uk



5 February 2006

Dear Jim

Thank you for you letter of 12 September with one from Roger Gall [……] about the implementation of the Licensing Act 2003 by Weymouth and Portland Licensing Committee. I am sorry for the unacceptable delay in replying to your enquiry.

You will understand that I cannot comment on individual decisions taken by licensing authorities or on their implementation of the Act as they now have responsibility for the new licensing system. However, I can confirm that it is not the Government's intention to stifle the provision of entertainment in licensed premises – quite the opposite. Mr Gall has contacted my officials on a number of occasions regarding the Licensing Act 2003. Despite our reassurances, he remain unconvinced of the benefits it brings to musicians and other entertainers and we therefore must agree to differ on this matter.

There has been a great deal of debate about the 2003 t on a wide range of related issues, including live music. For example, in May and June 2004 Parliament debated the statutory guidance to licensing authorities on carrying out their functions. During these debates the question of the effect of the reforms on live music has been considered many times. Parliament has endorsed the Government's proposed reforms and has allowed the 2003 Act to be given effect. The challenge now is to ensure that the measures we have put in place meet our expressed objectives and this can only be tested with the fullness of time.

It is the Government's intention to see live music flourish and it strongly believes that measures contained within in the Act will provide increased opportunities for musicians and other entertainers. It has removed the need for a separate public entertainment licence so that only a single authorisation will be needed to supply alcohol, provide regulated entertainment such as the performance of live music, and provide late night refreshment. Six existing regimes have been integrated into a single licence, cutting at a stroke significant amounts of red tape.

Unlike the old regime, the fee for a premises licence will be no different whether an applicant simply applies for an authorisation to supply alcohol or also decides at the same time for an authorisation to provide regulated entertainment. Furthermore, fee levels have been set centrally to avoid inconsistencies and unfairness, and at a level that accurately reflects the cost of the regime. This is of immense value to premises such as pubs, bars, restaurants, clubs, and hotels which under the old regime would have required separate licenses and fees to allow any live music of more than two musicians.

To ensure that the Licensing Act will allow live music to flourish we will closely monitor and evaluate its effectiveness. We are committed to a follow up survey in 2006 on the extent to which small venues across England and Wales stage live music. This will be a key performance indicator for the success of the regime. The first survey, which interviewed 1600 small venues, remains of one the most comprehensive studies of live music in England and Wales and a recent inquiry by the Market Research Society unheld the integrity of the research.

We will continue to work with musicians and listen to their views. The independent Live Music Forum. which includes representatives of the music industry, the Arts Council, local authorities and grass roots music organisations is happy to listen and consider the views of all those with an interest in live music with a view to producing recommendation for further action. If in time there is evidence to suggest that the Act has had any unintended negative impacts on live music, the Government will consider making changes.

You may be aware that we began a two stage review of the statutory guidance to licensing authorities to licensing authorities and the police on 1 December. One of the aims of the review is to identify lessons from implementation and to share best practice between local authorities. An initial review, focusing on issues where there is a high degree of consensus among stakeholders, will be completed in the Spring. A comprehensive review of the Guidance, including a full public consultation, will be completed by Summer 2006 and a revised version will be laid before Parliament by the end of 2006.

On the issue of darts in public houses, the advice to licensing authorities clearly states that unless a game of darts or similar indoor sport takes place in the presence of an audience with the intention of entertaining that audience, if only in part, it would not be a licensable activity. It is entirely right that the licensing authority should determine whether darts matches are taking place for the entertainment of others who are not involved in the activity as they must consider each application on its own merits. If the licensee disagrees with the conditions which the licensing authority has attached to the licence he can, of course appeal against the decision.

It is fair to say that the Licensing Act 2003 has touched on a number of issues that are emotive and important to many people. I am aware that since the proposals for licensing reform were first published, a small number of musicians have written to this Department on a regular basis and taken part in a number of campaigns to ensure that our proud tradition of live music is not hurt in any way. The Government shares Mr Gall's passion for live music performance and other entertainment such as darts and we are confident that the Licensing Act is the best means of moving forward. In the meantime we will closely monitor the effectiveness of the reforms to ensure it aims are fulfilled.

James Purnell MP
Minister for Creative Industries and Tourism


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 10 Feb 06 - 12:00 PM

"Unlike the old regime, the fee for a premises licence will be no different whether an applicant simply applies for an authorisation to supply alcohol or also decides at the same time for an authorisation to provide regulated entertainment. Furthermore, fee levels have been set centrally to avoid inconsistencies and unfairness, and at a level that accurately reflects the cost of the regime. This is of immense value to premises such as pubs, bars, restaurants, clubs, and hotels which under the old regime would have required separate licenses and fees to allow any live music of more than two musicians."

The same tired, disingenuous, and factually inaccurate claptrap......What a surprise!

I see he is still talking about conferring with musicians, and then spoiling it by naming the "independent" Live Music Forum composed of Feargal Sharkey, and other pop wannabees, and "grass roots music organisations" few of whom have a clue about folk, or any other live music, as most of them mime live appearances. This, I assume, is the "independent" group who have been echoing the inane government line on radio and TV........I thought so. They'll be a big help..NOT!

He is also continuing with the downright unmitigated bloody LIE, that there is no cost involved in opting for live music. Tell that to those who had to pay for architects drawings, and advertising, and to any unfortunate enough to have to apply for a variation.

And when, not if, the adverse effects do become inescapably apparent, they will "consider" making changes.

Considering will do little to help, unless they act upon it. Does anybody still believe that will happen, and if it does, how do they propose to restore all the clubs whose organisers will have decided they've had enough of fighting stupid, ignorant jacks-in-office over petty imposed restrictions and conditions?

And to cap it all off, the dumb sod can't even spell licenCe.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Feb 06 - 12:34 PM

If the licensee disagrees with the conditions which the licensing authority has attached to the licence he can, of course appeal against the decision.

If the above is supposed to be an answer to the following -   
In the light of this - can you establish from the Minister - what is now preventing conditions for new lavatory blocks, re-wiring, treble glazing, air conditioning, chillout rooms, crush rails, bouncers, etc and all the things that the Government have assured us there wouldn't be under this legislation? - The answer is clearly that nothing is preventing it.

The explanation that licensees can appeal when these conditions are insisted upon - is not preventing LAs from insisting on them or preventing them from using applications for entertainment permissions as an open house to interfere with matters that are none of their concern.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Feb 06 - 01:23 PM

On the issue of darts in public houses, the advice to licensing authorities clearly states that unless a game of darts or similar indoor sport takes place in the presence of an audience with the intention of entertaining that audience, if only in part, it would not be a licensable activity. It is entirely right that the licensing authority should determine whether darts matches are taking place for the entertainment of others who are not involved in the activity as they must consider each application on its own merits.

Now it was not clear in the example I supplied (and which the minister could not comment on) if any entertainment permission for indoor sports were actually part of this Premises Licence application. However, his reply assumes that application was made and that on application for entertainment permission such an action by the LA would be 'entirely right'.

But there may have not have been any specific application for permission for indoor sport. And as the minister states - without it being for entertaining an audience there would be no need for such an application. Under these circumstances there can be no justification for any conditions on the time this activity should cease to be imposed, as these indoor sports could not be considered as Regulated Entertainment.

That seems to leave us with the situation where whether specific application was made or not and despite the words of the Act's Guidance - the LA must have decided at some point - in order to impose the conditions it did - that these indoor sports were for the purpose of entertaining an audience. An interesting concept in the small pub concerned. Or perhaps they just got it wrong?

But perhaps the specific explanation in the Act's Guidance of when indoor sports should or should not be considered as Regulated Entertainment was not really required and has actually made things worse for any particpatory live music making that would also not be for the purpose of entertaining an audience? As no similar explanation as to when this should not be considered as Regulated Entertainment is given for our LAs in the Act's Guidance and they seem unable to read the words of the Act itself?

That may explain why my LA's officers considers that a regular congregation of musicians at a pub COULD constitute Regulated Entertainment but do not consider that a regular congregation of darts or pool players would.................
Perhaps the minister (via our MP's) should be asked to provide such an addition to the Act's Guidance for live music - or remove the one for indoor sports?

However, this does not explain why LAs seem to think that the Act entitles them to impose conditions on activities that are not considered by them even be Regulated Entertainment or prevent these activities from even starting! But my LA has tended to make up its own licensing law and ignore everything else and there is no sign that anyone has the will or is in any position to stop their officers from continuing to do exactly as they wish.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Feb 06 - 02:08 PM

A small number keep writing.

A large number have realised that nothing will make these people tell the truth or see the truth, and that our "saviours" from the oppression of the evil bitch Thatcher and her spawn have transpired to be just as bad.

Whoever you vote for, the government always gets in.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Feb 06 - 03:32 PM

Whoever you vote for, the government always gets in.

Sadly either at national level or local level - the same officials will always be in place whoever gets voted in. And will stay in place even when they fail to reply to an MP's letter for 6 months!

In the case of legislation that gets passed to local government to administer - like the Licensing Act 2003 - the public is in the worst of both worlds. When it does not work, neither will accept responsibility but the blame will just pass backwards and forwards for ever.

The classic is the one about ministers not being able to comment on the actions of individual local authorities. Where local authorities will state in return that they are only following central government's guidance - even when they are not.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Feb 06 - 07:34 PM

Dorset Echo February 10 2006
By Peter Hawkins

Council aim to 'encourage activities'

SHOWS COULD GO ON IF BID IS SUCCESSFUL


Weymouth's Punch and Judy show and visiting circuses could benefit if councillors succeed in closing a licensing loophole.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council is applying to itself to get entertainment licences for several areas to allow events to take place without groups having to pay the cost of their applications.

The licenses will initially cover the Weymouth seafront and town centre, Hope Square, Lodmoor Country Park, Southwell Village Green, the Princess Diana Memorial Gardens, Easton Gardens, West Weares and Chesil Promenade.

Borough licensing manager Sue Moore said: "We have done it to encourage activities in these areas. If we hold the licence then any individual performers will not need to obtain their own premises licence. "They will not need to go through all the rigmarole of applying".

Separate departments within the council are putting together applications for their own designated areas and Mrs Moore stressed that they would undergo the same procedures as all other applicants.

She said the move, which does not include permission to sell alcohol, 'sweeps up a lot of anomalies in the act'.

If the licences are passed. local groups wanting to hold events that would normally be subject to a licence can apply to the council for permission. Organisers of activities where alcohol would be on sale would still need to apply for a temporary events licence or their own premises licence.

Mrs Moore said that charges could apply to cover the cost the council had incurred in setting up the licenses.

She said: "It's going to be cheaper than people applying for their own licence and having to go through all the procedures such as advertising."

She added that the council would consider waiving or discounting the fees for charity events.

ENDS

As all the places mentioned are owned by the council - I am puzzled as to how anyone who did not own this land could apply for Premises Licence entertainment permission in the conventional way - in order to hold entertainment on it. The licensing manager's implication is that, say the Punch and Judy show somehow could apply for a Premises Licence on the Weymouth seafront - but that this way would be cheaper and less 'rigmarole'.

Funny how the procedure that was descibed for all other applicants as simple box-ticking - is now described by the licensing manager as 'rigmarole'.

As the council would be charging, have the final say and also have the monopoly on the land available - this proposal could be seen to be open to abuse. It will be interesting to see how the council deal with any objections to them issuing Premises Licenses to itself......


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Nick
Date: 10 Feb 06 - 08:33 PM

Shambles -

Should we not applaud the council for trying to apply sense rather than chiding them for the lack of their endeavour in trying to effect wholescale reform?

Small stuff and big stuff etc


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Feb 06 - 02:22 AM

Well there are many ways of looking at this issue.

I am simply pointing out that due to the Act and the LAs lack of influence in it - this is the only way that Weymouth is going to be able to have its Punch and Judy show or travelling circuses etc.

This seems to matter enough to some of the councillors for them to try to take steps to enable it and where there is a will there is usually a way. But this concil feels it has to continue to prevent and obstruct local sessions, even after the last 5 years have been spent pointing out that there is no legal reason that forces this council to hold this position.

I am just pointing out some of the implications of what is planned to get around the less positive aspects of this Act. I am sure that others can point out more. But perhaps rather than concentrate all their efforts on getting around just some of the Act's requirements and be happy to inflict others and try to blame the Government - it may be better for LAs through their association to lobby the Government to change the entertainment aspects of the Act that are causing problems?

I am sure that I may come over to you as being a little hard but perhaps if you had received just some of the treatment that this council has dished out - you may think that I am being remarkably generous?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Feb 06 - 04:15 AM

But the point about councils needing to apply for licences for maypole dances on teh local green or common (and concrete analogues) was known and debated in the run-up to the act. Where is the surprise?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Feb 06 - 04:26 AM

The only possible surprise is that as the need for such action was known long before the Act's final implementation in November that it has taken this long to even get this far especially as it was outlined even further back in the statement of local licensing policy.

And the impression is being given that this is some kind of local inititive for which the council's officers deserve credit rather than the Act giving them little or no choice.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Feb 06 - 05:11 AM

And as the council do now have to pay anyway to obtain Premise Licence enertainment permission on their land for the various parades, festivals etc that they organise - to expect other groups who may wish to organise their own events on this the only available land to pay the council for this - is perhaps not such a generous approach as it may appear.

To continue in my cynical mood about the general buck passing etc.

The triple 'whammy' is when both the ones responsible for making the legislation and the ones who enforce it - join together and totally wah their hands to inform you that the final decision of course will a matter for the courts to decide........


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 17 Feb 06 - 07:13 AM

The following from Hamish Birhall.

Licensing minister James Purnell has written to some MPs within the last few weeks claiming that the recent Market Research Society (MRS) enquiry 'upheld the integrity' of the DCMS/MORI live music survey.

However, the Market Research Society wrote yesterday to one musician specifically concerning this latest ministerial claim: 'MRS has no view on the statistical reliability of the MORI/DCMS survey.'

You will recall that last October MRS ruled that the original 1.7m live gig claim made by DCMS was misleading, and revised this estimate for 'bars, clubs and restaurants' down to 1.3m gigs a year. This called into question the use of the word 'flourishing' by the then licensing minister, Richard Caborn; a claim that was made specifically on the basis of the 1.7m estimate. Indeed, it is a claim which DCMS still makes.

Shortly after the MRS ruling, it emerged that on 21 October 2005 DCMS had covertly and retrospectively altered the disputed minister's quote in the original live music press release. The change made it look as if no misleading claim had ever been made; the altered document was passed off as the original. Two months later, on 22 December 2005, following a Parliamentary question, DCMS finally added a rider to the press release admitting that changes had been made. But the rider does not explain the significance of the changes, and curiously there is no sign of the downard revision by MRS of 1.3m live gigs for 'bars, clubs and restaurants'.

See:
http://www.culture.gov.uk/global/press_notices/archive_2004/dcms110_04.htm?month=August&properties=archive%5F2004%2C%2Fglobal%2Fpress%5Fnotices%2Farchive%5F2004%2F%2C

If the original live music survey had integrity, you would expect it to be statistically reliable. Since the MRS has 'no view' on the survey's statistical reliability it looks as if, once again, Purnell is seriously misleading MPs and the public by implying that MRS endorsed the survey.

ENDS
----------------------------------------------------------------------
MRS have also stated the following.

In regard to the scope and findings of the MRS investigation related to this survey, the Market Research Standards Board released the following statement in November 2005:


"The MRS received a complaint concerning the findings and press release issued in respect of a poll on live music in England and Wales carried out by MORI in June and July 2004.

The complaint was investigated in accordance with MRS Disciplinary Regulations, following which the Market Research Standards Board (MRSB), formerly the Professional Standards Committee (PSC), found that in one respect, MORI had allowed the results of the poll to be reported in a way that was not sufficiently accurate. Accordingly, it decided that there was a case to be pursued against Michael Everett, a member of MRS, under B14 of the Code which provides that "Researchers must not knowingly allow the dissemination of conclusions from a marketing research project which are not adequately supported by the data….". Although Michael Everett was not personally involved in the poll, he is Managing Director of MORI and therefore accepts that ultimate responsibility for the project rests with him.

MRSB appreciated that Michael Everett had co-operated with the investigation and had been ready to acknowledge that a mistake had been made. Taking all considerations into account, MRSB decided that it would be appropriate to recommend that he receive a warning in respect of this matter and that he give a written undertaking to take all reasonable steps as soon as practicable to ensure that the press release is corrected in full.

Michael Everett has consented that a Disciplinary Order be made accordingly."


Perhaps you can be left to judge if Licensing minister James Purnell's claim that "the recent Market Research Society (MRS) enquiry 'upheld the integrity' of the DCMS/MORI live music survey" is a correct one under these circumstances?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Feb 06 - 06:22 PM

It is said that politicians use statistics - as a drunk uses a lamp post - for support rather than illumination.

This what Mr Punell said, in context.

To ensure that the Licensing Act will allow live music to flourish we will closely monitor and evaluate its effectiveness. We are committed to a follow up survey in 2006 on the extent to which small venues across England and Wales stage live music. This will be a key performance indicator for the success of the regime. The first survey, which interviewed 1600 small venues, remains of one the most comprehensive studies of live music in England and Wales and a recent inquiry by the Market Research Society upheld the integrity of the research.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 01:01 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall

In today's online Publican, a magazine for the licensed trade, Feargal Sharkey says that in evaluating the impact of the Licensing Act on gigs, the Live Music Forum '... has been trying to find the problems that have been talked about, but so far havent found them.'

The DCMS is also quoted suggesting that 'there's no grounds for concern'.

This odd considering that I have sent the LMF several well-documented instances of gigs unambiguously lost due to the new law.

Feargal also claims that in over 7,000 licence applications examined by the LMF no examples of licence conditions imposed were found. This claim was immediately dismissed by licensing lawyers. Applications as submitted to the local authority would not show licence conditions. These are only imposed once the application has been processed by the local authority.

The Publican is inviting feedback. Either email the article's author James Wilmore: jamesw@thepublican.com    with details or call 020 7955 3713.

Read the full article:
http://www.thepublican.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=19837&d=11&h=24&f=23&dateformat=%25o-%25B-%25Y


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Feb 06 - 02:58 AM

The Publican
Published 15th-February-2006
Dis-chord

The new Licensing Act was supposed to make it easier for pubs to host live music. Three months into the legislation James Wilmore puts his ear to the ground.


Before the new Licensing Act came into place, the government suggested it would encourage more pubs to host live music. Pubs, it was claimed, were part of a "flourishing music scene". A survey by the government's Live Music Forum in 2004 claimed that an estimated 1.7 millions gigs had been staged in UK bars, clubs, restaurants and other venues where their main business was not music that year. It was argued, however, this figure had been "beefed up", because it included venues such as hotels, churches and community halls.

Nevertheless, in theory, the new legislation would help the scene flourish further. Allowing pubs to include entertainment in their operating schedules meant they would avoid having to pay for an expensive entertainment licence.

And by getting rid of the antiquated two-in-a-bar rule – whereby any pub wanting to host more than two musicians had to apply for a public entertainment licence – licensees would be persuaded to give more opportunities to musicians.

But has this been the case? Though it is early days, Hamish Birchall, a musician and live music campaigner, claims both venues and performers have already lost out. He argues the scrapping of the two-in-a-bar-rule has discouraged many smaller pubs from putting on music. Though pubs can now apply to host live music as part of their normal licence instead of having to apply for a separate entertainment licence, there is a suggestion that they are still subject to a number of conditions. These include: installing CCTV, fitting more doors or fitting a noise limiter. "There are definitely some smaller gigs that have had to be cancelled or postponed because of the Licensing Act," says Hamish.

He claims there are a number of pubs that have a difficult relationship with their local authority and are reluctant to publicise the problems they are having. Another suggestion is that some pubs wrongly assumed that the two-in-a-bar rule would remain for them as part of their grandfather rights.

Hamish argues: "Some pubs were given the wrong advice from local authorities about whether they'd have to change their licence and this has definitely affected things."

Incorrect advice
One London-based licensee, who wishes to remain anonymous, claims she was offered incorrect advice from her local authority over whether she would be allowed to host music once the new Act came in. She also claims she has not yet received a physical copy of her premises licence and, as such, is not able to apply for a variation to allow her to host live music.

However, a MORI poll, conducted for the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), prior to the Act, found a third of those who already stage live music felt it would have a positive impact.
And it appears for some this has been the case. At the Bull's Head in Barnes, South-West London, licensee Dan Fleming has noticed the benefits. "We host a lot of live music and it makes it easier if things runs over. It also gives our customers the chance to have a drink and a chat with the musicians afterwards."

Despite this, Dan does not feel that some smaller venues are being treated fairly. "I think it's unfair that places that have one music night a month should be subject to the same conditions as somewhere like those of us who have regular music."

But Keith Ames, a spokesman for the Musicians Union, believes it is still too early to tell the effect the Act has had on live music in pubs. "It's a bit premature," he says. "I think a more realistic picture will emerge in a year's time."

He suggests that the scrapping of the two-in-a-bar rule has made some pubs reassess their provision of live music. "I don't think there's any doubt that some have benefited and some have got rid of their live offering," he explains.

A spokeswoman for the DCMS, which is currently carrying out a survey on this issue through the Live Music Forum, says: "The work so far has shown there's no grounds for concern and it should be positive news for audiences and performers."

So it would seem the jury is still out on how the new Act is affecting the live music scene. As with many aspects of the new legislation there still seems to be some confusion among licensees and local authorities as to precisely how it should be used.

 How has your music offering been affected by the new Licensing Act? Are you a small venue that has stopped hosting live music, or have you been encouraged to stage more performances? Email: jamesw@thepublican.com
with details or call 020 7955 3713.

But Feargal reports no ill effects
Feargal Sharkey, chairman of the Live Music Forum, is currently collating data to see exactly how music venues are adapting to the new Act and the state of the music scene in the UK.
He told The Publican: "We have been talking directly with licensees and local authorities on a daily basis and have no evidence there have been widespread cutbacks on live music. Having looked at around 7,000 applications we can find no examples where conditions have been imposed by local authorities.
"In fact, there appears to be an indication that more pubs are applying for live music.
"We have been trying to find the problems that have been talked about, but so far haven't found them.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Feb 06 - 10:20 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

Feargal's credibility
This morning I ran a check on Feargal Sharkey's claim, reported in yesterday's Publican, that the Live Music Forum had been unable to find any of the problems for live music 'that have been talked about'.

See Publican article:
http://www.thepublican.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=19837&d=11&h=24&f=23&dateformat=%25o-%25B-%25Y

On 16 January I learned of a weekly gig lost due to the new licensing regime at the Old China Hand pub in Clerkenwell, along with similar losses at Cafe Rouge, Bristol, Cafe Gigi in Willesden, London, and at an Oxfordshire hotel. I passed this information by email on the same day to Feargal himself and to other members of the Live Music Forum.

This morning I asked the licensee at the Old China Hand, and the musician whose gig there has been cancelled, whether Feargal, or anyone from DCMS or the Live Music Forum had been in touch. Answer: No.

~ ~ ~

Another gig loss
Saxophonist Daryl Kenworthy today told me of the loss of a long-running and well known Monday night jazz gig at the Sir Richard Steele pub, 97 Haverstock Hill, Belsize Park, London. Tel: 020 7483 1261. The gig stopped last week following intervention by the police and Camden council. It seems that a DJ put on over a weekend may have led to complaints from neighbours and that this triggered enforcement action. It is not yet clear why the ban should apply to the live music, when recorded music was the problem. It is likely, however, that the venue mistakenly assumed that 'two in a bar' automatically carried forward into the new licence. Camden confirmed that the venue doesnot have a live music authorisation on the premises licence. I am still trying to find out whether the licensee intends to make a live music application.

~ ~ ~

A consolation prize
These venues have been hosting 'two in a bar' gigs for a while. Under the new regime they got permission to add an extra musician or two:
Octave, 27-29 Endell Street, Covent Garden. Tel : 020 7836 4616. http://www.octave8.com/
Pizza Express, 12 Sycamore Road, Amersham. Tel: 01494 725735


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Feb 06 - 10:23 AM

Why is Feargal Sharkey not currently being deafened by the promised 'explosion of live music'?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 21 Feb 06 - 04:18 PM

Because he can't hear a thing with his head up Blair's arse, Roger.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Feb 06 - 10:55 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

Following Feargal Sharkey's claims last Monday about not being able to find live music problems (The Publican, 20 Feb 06), the landlady of a north London pub contacted me. Here is an extract from her email.

The 'two in a bar' gigs she used to provide were cancelled from 24 November last year following confused advice from her local authority. She has since submitted a variation application to restore live music, but as this is ongoing she asked not to be named:

'Live music will be curtailed without question. It already has. Post 24th November we have not hired anyone. We previously booked live entertainment three times each week at an average cost of £150 per act. That's around £5,500 in lost wages to musicians and an average of £1500 per week in lost revenue to us not to mention the customers that have gone that we have to try to recover in the event we are successful in our application.

'Feargal Sharkey reports "having looked at around 7000 applications we can find no examples where conditions have been imposed by local authorities".   I beg to differ. A co-licencee in [location deleted] has just had to engage the services of sound engineers to take readings inside and outside his premises and in the sitting rooms of his immediate neighbours. Also he will have to put a sound limiter in place - as I write the jury is still out as to whether he will be granted his variation.'


ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Tootler
Date: 01 Mar 06 - 08:57 AM

Someone had just posted this in another forum.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Leadfingers
Date: 01 Mar 06 - 09:03 AM

And there are still people who think the Licensing Act doesnt matter !!


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Leadfingers
Date: 01 Mar 06 - 09:04 AM

It seems a shame to clock 100 on THIS thread .


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 01 Mar 06 - 09:04 AM

It affects everybody and not always in a good way as you can see.
G


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Dick The Box
Date: 01 Mar 06 - 10:11 AM

I visited the Flying Goose Cafe in Beeston, Nottingham yesterday. Apparently they used to have occasional evening openings with live acoustic music from local bands. This no longer happens because the hassle and cost of obtaining a music license is not worthwhile. Another small informal venue bites the dust. Multiply this up across the country and the damage is incalculable.....


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: stallion
Date: 01 Mar 06 - 10:57 AM

Live acoustic music does not require a "music" licence, one merely ticks the box to say that you will have it. This is hammering on. Martin (Councillor), one of the guys I sing with, is chair of the Licensing committee, the interpretation is quite clear, 200 or less equals small premises, most pubs don't hold 200, if they have a larger space they would probably need amplification any way. Amplified music, no matter how small the premises, requires a licence. So, most of the sessions in our neck of the woods are ok, maybe one uses amps and mics, god knows why it can only cram 35 in at best!
One has to ask if Abbey road studios had the correct escape proc for members of the public, assuming that employees and clients were aware of the procedures. The Abbey Road gig could, with cynical eyes, be regarded as a publicity stunt, they could have done it anywhere, maybe they couldn't be hassled with moving equipment about.
I have to agree it is all very crap but then what went before it was crap. What remains to be seen is the vigour that the relevant authorities persue miscreants, my guess is if they don't give trouble vis-a-vis noise and agrivation then they may well be left alone. T
If we are going to make any real sense of this legislation we have go with it and not rail against it and carp. Maybe discussion groups with councillors (on Licensing committee's!) musicians and publicans, it might be advantageous to set up some unwritten ground rules and stick to them. Of course, there is no accounting for some officious beauracrat tw**s but rubbing them up the wrong way will not work!
From bitter experience I am aware that sometimes Landlords hide behind the legislation, reasons stated "Not everyone likes diddly-i-di music", spend to much time "playing and singing instead of drinking", and a real cracker was "takes up so much space it reduces my total retail area"
Ah well there is more but this will run and run won't it?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: pavane
Date: 01 Mar 06 - 11:39 AM

Would a prosecution of the BBC by Westminster Council help to highlight and publicise the idiocy of the act?

And IS the 'under 200 = small premises' actually in the act or just an interpretation? No-one else seems to have noticed it.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Barden of England
Date: 01 Mar 06 - 12:16 PM

Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: stallion - PM
Date: 01 Mar 06 - 10:57 AM

Live acoustic music does not require a "music" licence, one merely ticks the box to say that you will have it. This is hammering on. Martin (Councillor), one of the guys I sing with, is chair of the Licensing committee, the interpretation is quite clear, 200 or less equals small premises, most pubs don't hold 200, if they have a larger space they would probably need amplification any way.


I'm sorry, but it shows how even the Chair of a Licensing Committe doesn't understand the 2003 Licensing Act. There is no such thing as a 'Music Licence' any more. There is now a 'Premises Licence', and the so called 'tick in the box' is to indicate that the premises wishes to provide 'Regulated Entertainment'. The performance of live music is 'Regulated Entertainment' under the act, so the assertion that acoustic music does not fall under this is wrong. However, once the Licensing Authority grants provision of regulated entertainment then things change a lot. You are quite right in that if the premises is licenced for 200 people or under, and where it's unamplified live music, then between the hours of 8am and 12 midnight any licensing authority imposed condition of the premises licence which relates to the provision of the music entertainment does not have effect. See section 177 of the Licensing Act 2003 which can be found here http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2003/30017--j.htm#177


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 01 Mar 06 - 02:28 PM

One has to ask if Abbey road studios had the correct escape proc for members of the public, assuming that employees and clients were aware of the procedures. The Abbey Road gig could, with cynical eyes, be regarded as a publicity stunt, they could have done it anywhere, maybe they couldn't be hassled with moving equipment about.

Dare I suggest that if the correct Safety Procedures were not in place they would certainly have been prosecuted. But it would have nothing to do with licensing. It would have had a lot to do with Health and Safety.

I am sure the gig itself was a publicity stunt - I doubt if the breaking of the Licensing Act was. It seems clear to me that they just didn't understand it.

Even if the gig had been private with no members of the public present it would have been illegal. Abbey Road allowed the BBC to hire studios from them - provision of entertainment premises. They were provided for consideration and with a view to profit.

Such premises need a licence if there were anyone present in the form of an audience.

The relevant page of the act is here.

What would be really helpful would be if the Chair of Licensing explained to the DCMS just how convoluted this act can be.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Mr Happy
Date: 01 Mar 06 - 08:26 PM

'Even if the gig had been private with no members of the public present it would have been illegal. '


how does the law define 'members of the public ' ?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: pavane
Date: 02 Mar 06 - 01:56 AM

Is there anyone who ISN'T a member of the public?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 02 Mar 06 - 04:38 AM

I guess it is as follows.

If a recording studio has a number of workers (sound technicians for example) plus others there (the musos) then it is not licensable.

If some of them invite some of their mates in to watch a show - then it is a moot point whether it is licensable. Would need testing in court.

If - as on this occasion - the BBC give away tickets as prizes (having hired the studio anyway) then those ticket winners are members of the public. IMHO. There is no doubt this gig was illegal - all that happened was they decided not to prosecute.

But one thing is clear - it is muddy and it stops gigs from happening. It discriminates in favour of recorded music and it discriminates in favour of Large Screen TV. I reckon the crunch will come at World Cup time. If you said to a Minister - the wide screen TV can be played as loud as it can - the Minister would reply, correctly that Noise Regulations forbid it. For some reasons those same Noise Regulations are not taken into consideration when it comes to acoustic music?

If - to use an example of Kim Howells - six Japanese drummers turn up - to a pub without music permission, then they can't play inside. Remarkably - subject to other non-licensing laws - they can play on the back of a moving lorry - or they can play outside since busking is allowed. They can play if a group of Morris dancers are with them.

Now what would you call morris dancing to Japanese drums?

Dave


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 02 Mar 06 - 05:37 AM

Now if the lorry driver braked hard, it could cause local climate change. A nip in the air.......... I'll get back in me box.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST,Hamish Birchall
Date: 02 Mar 06 - 06:15 AM

This is a response mainly to Stallion's comment:
'If we are going to make any real sense of this legislation we have go with it and not rail against it and carp.'

Experts have spent the best part of three years trying to make sense of this legislation - and still they say it is complex and obscure. Isn't it time we agreed that this law is literally 'nonsense'?

Consider these quotes provided to me by licensing lawyers about the Coldplay gig:

'The regulation of entertainment is a particularly obscure area of a very complex statute. As a lawyer I applaud such lack of clarity; as a citizen I abhor it.'
Simon Mehigan QC, co-author 'Patersons Licensing Acts'

'Those parts of The Licensing Act 2003 which deal with the need for a licence in order to provide entertainment or entertainment facilities are probably the hardest part of the Act to understand. Even amongst lawyers specialising in licensing work there is still disagreement and uncertainty as to precisely what some of the provisions really mean and agreement and certainty will only be reached once the High Court is asked to interpret them as part of a Judicial Review application.'
Chris Hepher, licensing lawyer with over 20 years experience, Steeles, London

Finally, on the question of licensing and safety: Coldplay's gig at Abbey Road would have been legal if a Temporary Event Notice for a performance of live music had been in force (cost: £21).

Local authorities cannot impose public safety or noise conditions on a Temporary Event Notice.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 02 Mar 06 - 09:47 AM

As an example - let me say I have a letter from the Minister James Purnell - suggesting that if a pub's customers consist solely of particpants in a music session - then it would be legal.

Errr,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,really?

I wrote suggesting this was logically not eaxactly sensible. Guess what - same old bland letter from the DCMS.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: stallion
Date: 02 Mar 06 - 10:43 AM

Ah at last Hamish, the point I am trying to make, that it is such a mish mash of confusion that if we, and I mean performers and listeners, include ourselves in the dialogue then some good may come of it. we have to get included in a discussion on the working of the law in the way it was intended and not the way which it is being interpreted. I have tried to nail this one down with Martin who has recieved advice from central gov., they are all terrified to actually stand up and be counted.   a guide to local authorities for the act does exist but it is such a legal minefield that no one will publish it or even admit it exists, "don't quote me" is all I get.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 02 Mar 06 - 11:28 AM

Hi Stallion,

I am sure we are very much on the same side - so I really am not anxious to get into an argument with you at all. And whilst I cannot speak for Hamish, I am sure the same applies to him too.

Having said that I think we have to be a bit wary. There are those of us who spent hours campaigning for acoustic music when this bill was going through. There are people on this board who met the Minister at the time, Kim Howells. He took virtually no notice of anyone at all. He said one thing on the Mike Harding show and did another when his civil servants told him to. We got a concession on Morris Dancing. There is now virtually no chance of making any impression on the DCMS because their stock answer is "We have handed control to the local authorities - not my problem Guv." I know - I have had it myself.

And despite evidence to the contrary - they actually believe that it is working as intended.

So we do have to make an impression on the local authorities who are operating this. And yet as you say " they are all terrified to actually stand up and be counted. A guide to local authorities for the act does exist but it is such a legal minefield that no one will publish it or even admit it exists, "don't quote me" is all I get

So where do we go from here? I would love to hear other's thoughts on this. For my part I am still waiting for a reply from my local authority regarding the BBC - allegedly - breaking the law again. Only taken a month so far.

IMHO there will be two crunch points. One will start during the World Cup. My own thought is that if there are any incidents involving large screen TV's and hooliganism we should get writing to our local councillors until their letter boxes jam up. (As I have already pointed out there is little use writing to your MP's since the DCMS just pass the buck).

The second is Temporary Event Notices. These cannot have conditions imposed on them. The mind boggles when some of the cowboys catch onto this. Watch the government jump at the first "incident" where the police/L.A. have given a licence.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: pavane
Date: 02 Mar 06 - 12:13 PM

The way I understand it (for this and all other laws) there is no way within the constitution to get a (legally binding) judicial ruling without someone having to take a large personal risk.

Wouldn't it be nice if points of law could be decided WITHOUT someone needing to be charged with breaking it?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 02 Mar 06 - 01:31 PM

The problem with this one Pavane is that even we - the world's folkies - cannot break the law - it is the landlord/premises owner that's gets done!!


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: pavane
Date: 03 Mar 06 - 02:02 AM

Yes, that is a deliberate ploy of the politicians these days, the anti-martyr strategy. Make sure that if you break the law, it is someone else who suffers. They learned this lesson from the Poll Tax (Community charge).


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST,Hamish Birchall
Date: 03 Mar 06 - 02:25 AM

Actually musicians can be prosecuted under this law. Jamie Cullum was right first time (see The Times 13 Jan 06).

If you organise a licensable gig in an unlicensed venue, you are in the firing line. This is no different than the old regime.

In 2002 Westminster City Council prosecuted a singer who organised a regular gig in the basement of a hotel. She ran these as a private members music club. Westminster also prosecuted the hotel owner. Undercover council officers gained entry to the club on the night without the then 24 hour registration period. I know about this because I helped the singer, Lee Lindsay, prepare her some of her defence.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 03 Mar 06 - 04:02 AM

Westminster also prosecuted the hotel owner.

I think that is the crunch really. If it was guaranteed that the premises owner would not be prosecuted then it would be simple to organise an illegal gig.

Now that does give me an idea. If I could hire a council premises........


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: stallion
Date: 03 Mar 06 - 04:37 AM

It is tricky, by giving the responsibility for enforcing the act, as it has already been pointed out, to the L.A's. it deflects any criticism of the working of the Act away from the legislature that enacted it, if it's vague enough then they can't be blamed for the interpretation. However, this maybe a life line, lobbying councillors is far easier than lobbying M.P's., target the licensing committee, offer to "help" them through the Act and if needs be set up informal ground rules, self regulating. The fly in the ointment, of course, is that a significant majority of L.A's. are "executive" led, they rubber stamp what the paid officials "advise" them to do. What I fear is happening is that L.A's. that preside over areas who's main income is derived from tourism then the department responsible for promoting tourism has a big say in how the act is interpreted, this manifests itself in a more liberal interpretation of the Act when applied to music venues. Indeed, I think it has already been mentioned, if not in this thread then others, that some enlightened L.A's. are actually licensing several area's which they own to cover informal events.
What ever is happening it seems that enforcement and dissent are piece meal and disorganised. Maybe, just maybe, if we pooled our resources and picked off one Authority after another, even one Authoriy, then some coherent, unambigous policy might be arrived at. This, I fear, will run for much longer.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 03 Mar 06 - 05:36 AM

Does anyone know of any gigs, sessions or other live music events (paid or unpaid - any genre) _ in West Yorkshire_ that have ceased as a direct result of the change in legislation? Of of any that have started up as a direct result?

Tom


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 03 Mar 06 - 08:39 AM

if we pooled our resources and picked off one Authority after another, even one Authoriy, then some coherent, unambigous policy might be arrived at. This, I fear, will run for much longer.

Well I am currently in dialogue with Sheffield Council who on the whole have acted quite sensibly as far as I can tell.

My current argument is as follows. A group of us sang carols in Radio Sheffield studios on December 20th as part of a live broadcast. Since the studio was not licensed (but was open to the public who were indeed present), I asked the council what action they would take.

The Council's reply is that "the singing of carols in celebration of Christmas in the lead weeks before Christmas is a form of religious service which is exempted under the Act".

I have replied that the implication of this is that non-carols would have been prosecuted and thus treating carols on this basis is purely arbitrary discrimination.

What is remarkable is that the BBC have broken this law twice as far as I can see. Which shows how stupidly complex the act can be.

I shall keep you all updated you on this.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 03 Mar 06 - 09:16 AM

To make that absolutely clear.....

The full sentence is......At the moment and you will appreciate that the law may have to be tested in the courts at some stage in the future, my view is that a presumption must arise that the singing of carols......etc, etc.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Mar 06 - 04:38 PM

Two points: to JB. If the licence contains fixed conditions, eg the provision of triple glazing or crash rails, you don't get a licnece until these are complied with. Only then can any remaining conditions (eg the provision of bouncers) be disapplied by the small premises exemption!

To others: The goverment does not want to listen. In the present political climate, listening and amending one's position in the light of reason is seen as political weakness and "flip-flopping". We will never ever achieve anything by reason. Constitutional lawyers are united that our democracy is no longer functional. We may achieve change by propaganda victory (if the press come massively on-side), or by massive force (Ireland, or Poll Tax). Remember, you will have to be bigger than Arthur Scargill's miners. Otherwise the only route to change is to change the government, and incredibly and regrettably, the other possibilities are worse still.

The time is coming for the second great constitutional change in the UK, because once again the people have no voice. The last time it took a civil war and about a quarter of the population dead. It led to the Bill of Rights in 1688 and the Act of Settlement in 1700.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 03 Mar 06 - 06:25 PM

The time is coming for the second great constitutional change in the UK, because once again the people have no voice. The last time it took a civil war and about a quarter of the population dead. It led to the Bill of Rights in 1688 and the Act of Settlement in 1700.

I sadly have to agree with Richard here. (Except for the deaths of course). Clearly common sense has no meaning any more.

Here is an extract from an email from the DCMS.

I cannot comment on whether individual events, such as one in Sheffield needs to be licensed, as much depends on the individual circumstances....... Licensing Authorities are best placed to say whether... [the event].... will be licensable in any given circumstance.

And here is the local authority talking about the same event:

If you think the law is in any way discriminatory this is a matter you should take up with the Secretary of State for Department of Media Culture and Sport, the sponsoring Government Department for the Licensing Act 2003.

Or let me put it another way......

The DCMS says contact the local authority - the authority says contact the DCMS. To think I used to be a member of the Labour Party. I hang my head in shame.

There is one small light at the end of the tunnel.......the curse of Dave on Tessa Jowell seems to be working - at least she and hubby may be having sleepless nights. And Tony Blair thinks God will be his judge. That's not quite good enough for me but it is getting close.

Another bright spot. The inaugural meeting of the local Curmudgeon Club met on Tuesday of last week. Tempura Prawns with Thai Rice and Chili Dip, Smoked Haddock and Poached Egg with roast and Duchesse Potatoes, Stuffed Aubergines and mixed fresh veg, and hot pineapple with Strawberry Ice Cream and raspberry coulis. Cost £5.15. Including service. (Total bill was £16.00 per head with tip - but we drank a lot of wine!!)

You will be pleased to know we complained. After all it is a Curmudgeon Club.

I'll get mi coat.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: stallion
Date: 04 Mar 06 - 07:39 AM

ok, I have had words with Martin, he is going to dig out all he has on the act, with all the guidance notes on the interpretation of the act, maybe we could host a chat room to discuss this on-line in real time. If anyone is interested either post or PM
Peter


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 07:36 AM

There is a good letter in the Observer today


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: stallion
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 07:52 AM

dave that club wi' t' fancy prawns looks good to me, can I join the club? I have winged a little bit on this thread, is that a qualification? Oh Martin, off the record, says " Of course there is always some officious little twat in a council who thinks the only thing worse than having trad music in one pub is to have it in two!" Now lets put this in perspective, the first time i ever heard Martin swear (and I have known him for over 25 years) was during the song "Stormy weather", he says knackers twice, it totally cracks me up, even having heard it several times, Martin swearing!
cheers
Peter


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST,Hamish Birchall
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 06:24 AM

This one's mainly for 'Dick the box' who reported the loss of live music at the Flying Goose Cafe, Beeston, on 01 March.

Manager Hilary Mason was happy to confirm this when I got through on the phone on 1st March. However, this week I have tried to get through again but there is no reply. Can Dick the box, or indeed anyone tell me whether this venue has temporarily closed?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Dick The Box
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 08:08 AM

Hamish,
The Flying Goose has not closed as far as I am aware. Although I have known Hilary as a friend of a friend for many years, that was the first visit I had made to the cafe! I will make enquiries and let you know.
Dick The Box


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 10:03 AM

Well I am currently in dialogue with Sheffield Council who on the whole have acted quite sensibly as far as I can tell.

The following is from my latest letter from the Assistant Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council.

You raise a number of interesting points in your letters which I have noted. However, it is for the Enforcing Authorities [the Council, the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service] to take a view on what contravenes the Act and ultimately the courts to decide on the presentation of evidence whether any alledged contravention results in a criminal conviction.

The views of Licensing Authorities will change over time as cases are decided before the courts. Please be assured that the City Council keep such matters under review.


It should be possible (if the Act were working as intended) for the public to currently know from the the Local Licensing Policy - if a specific activity (like an unpaid, non-amplified folk session) was licensable or not. This does not appear to be the case with mine or with Sheffield - is it the case with yours?

For in the unlikely event that any elected members on these Licensing Committees have considered such a question - there does not seem to be anyone who is prepared to provide the public with a simple answer to a simple question.   

The answer is to approach MPs and local councillors and to keep on until these answers are clearly provided in the words of Local Licensing Policies and do not remain only in the heads of individual council employees.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 11:56 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

Under pressure from the Statistics Commission, DCMS has finally published a breakdown of the 1.7m estimate for live gigs in venues in England and Wales 'whose main business is not live music'.

In a footnote, the Department also reveals a new error. The original estimate of 58,000 as the total number of pubs in the MORI live music survey should be 53,000. The original figure was almost 10% too high. The gig estimate for pubs should fall by about the same proportion. DCMS avoids this calculation, however, on the basis that the overall figure 'remains in the order of 1.7m'.

Here then are the latest gig estimates, which DCMS rounded to the nearest 1,000. The pub estimate is mine, taking into account the new 53,000 sample size. The DCMS estimate relating to the incorrect 58,000 pub sample is in square brackets.

Pubs/Inns: 578,000 [unadjusted DCMS estimate 647,000]
Hotels: 197,000
Restaurants:126,000
Small clubs: 58,000
Clubs & Associations: 468,000
Student Unions: 16,000
Church & Community Halls: 248,000

Estimated total = 1.7m approx

See: http://www.statscom.org.uk/correspondence_1-06-2.asp

Click on 'Letter 293' which follows the heading '23 Feb 06 - DCMS/MORI Live Music Survey - response to Hamish Birchall'. The letter is a PDF file for which you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. NB: DCMS do not mention that the gig averages in their table are rounded to the nearest whole number, nor do they mention that the majority of pubs, hotels, small clubs and restaurants had no live music at all. 53% of all venues in the survey reported no live music. We do not know the proportion of pub gigs that were 'two in a bar'. Originally, the 'two in a bar rule' and its effect on gigs was a high priority at DCMS. MORI's original Technical Proposal to DCMS in 2004 stated: 'One key issue... will be the investigation of the effect of the two-in-a-bar rule on the musical offering'. Curiously, this 'key issue' was barely discussed in the survey report, published by DCMS on 08 October 2004.


DJs vs live music - an evolving definition
Did ambiguous definition of live music in the DCMS/MORI survey lead to the inclusion of DJs as live music? DCMS refused to publish a note on the above document to this effect, despite the fact that last December DCMS statisticians admitted that interviewees may have been confused by the live music definition.

The argument that 'there is no robust evidence on this one way or the other' is weak, and somewhat misleading. DCMS should publicly acknowledge their own agreement that the live music definition may have been confusing, and then quantify the possible error. If they cannot quantify it, they should also say so publicly.

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that in the preparation of the survey the definition of live music was problematic. An email from MORI to DCMS dated 23 April 2004 includes this action point:

'Provide a succinct definition of 'live music' for the purpose of the interview'.

On 24 May 2004, MORI sent DCMS the first draft of the survey questionnaire. The opening question was simple:

'Q1. Have you staged any live music in your venue in the last 12 months?'

But for reasons that are not yet clear, this wasn't satisfactory. Various consultations were held with DCMS and the Live Music Forum. On 09 June a third draft appeared, with this new definition:

'Q1. Has there been any live music played or performed in your venue over the course of the past 12 months? By live music we mean [Live Music = Music performed in public by at least one person in real time]'

But this was to change again. The final draft, produced by MORI on 15 June 2004, read:

'Q1. Has there been any live music played or performed in your venue over the course of the past 12 months? By live music we mean music performed in public by at least one person in real time, that is, not pre-recorded?'

It would seem that DCMS or the LMF, or both, intended that combinations of live performer with recorded music were to be counted as live music. Whether a 'performer' could be a DJ or not is unclear. However, the fact that the Musicians' Union has for some time accepted scratch DJs as members may be a clue.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 12:01 PM

Tessa Jowell Sings


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 05:00 AM

I wonder if there is another statistical flaw in the DCMS figures.

The Students Union figure is based on the number of Student Unions affiliated to the NUS.

However there are only just over 200 universities and Institutes of Higher Education in the UK as a whole even where there are full time students. The DCMS figures suggest 620. This I assume is based on affiliated institutions which the NUS reports Currently around 700 students' unions across the country are affiliated to NUS, representing the interests of over 5 million students in Further and Higher education.

But the vast majority of theses are not places where full-time students go are they are FE colleges.

Now for years I worked at a FE college, one of the largest in the country and in that time it NEVER put on once a gig that would have fallen into the category of live music, despite a large performing arts department.

What the NUS there did do - and then only on a few occasions - was to hire a local night club. But then it was not a live band.

Any live bands that came out of the students played in small venues and then grew to bigger ones, or not as the case might be. They did not stage an event.

Can any other people confirm this in the case of FE colleges and would someone be kind enough to draw this letter to Hamish´s attention, since I am abroad at the moment and don´t have his email.

Folkiedave


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: BB
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 02:14 PM

Have just copied and posted it to him, Dave.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Mar 06 - 02:41 PM

Tomorrow morning (Friday 18 March) BBC Radio 4's Today programme will feature a piece on Tessa Jowell's recent venture into song. Westminster Council have declared this to have been illegal.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Mar 06 - 04:22 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

On 8th March, Tessa Jowell and other women MPs celebrated International Women's Day with a song, performed for the media's benefit in Victoria Tower Gardens, a public park next to the Houses of Parliament.

Earlier, the MPs had placed a bouquet of flowers beneath the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst, a campaigner for women's suffrage in the early 20th century. While the cause was undeniably just, it is worth noting that Mrs Pankhurst and her supporters pursued their cause through violent means including arson and attacks on politicians. It is tempting to speculate whether supporting such tactics today would amount to the 'glorification of terrorism'...

Anway, according to Westminster City Council, Tessa's singing was a licensable performance and no licence was in force. It would seem that a criminal offence has been committed. MPs will be relieved, however, that Westminster council has already decided not to prosecute.

This was covered in this morning's BBC R4 Today programme which can usually be downloaded from the BBC website by mid-morning:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/

Read a short account in today' Times: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2089859,00.html

View the BBC's coverage on 8th March:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/homepage/int/news/-/mediaselector/check/nolavconsole/ukfs_news/hi?redirect=fs.stm&nbram=1&bbram=1&nbwm=1&bbwm=1&news=1&nol_storyid=4787064


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Mar 06 - 04:27 AM

The Times article.

Tessa gets licence to break the law

WE DID enjoy the sight, on International Women's Day, of Tessa Jowell and Co singing a timely rendition of the updated battle hymn, The Women are Marching On, in Victoria Tower Gardens in London. So brave. So stirring. So defiant. So illegal.

"Illegal?" says the press office at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Oh yes. Tricky thing, the Licensing Act. Since the new laws came into effect in November (ushered in by— who was it again? Ah yes, Tessa Jowell) a licence has been required for any "regulated entertainment", such as a "performance of live music". No licence, and you face a fine of up to £20,000. And this event didn't have one.

It was a memorial service, says the press office, after some time. It was exempt.

"No it wasn't," says a Westminster City Council spokesman. "Because there was live music, and because journalists were invited, there should have been a licence.

"But this was a one-off. We won't prosecute."

Just as well. £20,000 is a lot of money. Even for Ms Jowell.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Mar 06 - 05:08 AM

PUBLICATION OF REPORT
FRIDAY 17 MARCH 2006 00.01AM
RE-LICENSING
The Committee on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions will be publishing its Second Report of Session 2005-06 on Re-licensing on Friday 17 March 2006 at 00.01am.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmselect/cmodpm/606/60602.htm


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 17 Mar 06 - 05:18 AM

One law for them, and thousands fo us, which they are allowed to break with impunity.

No change there, then!

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Tootler
Date: 17 Mar 06 - 05:23 AM

Once again, the law's an ass

Enough incidents like this and maybe the politicians might just, possibly, on the 30th of February, begin to realise that something needs changing in the law. There again, I think I saw some porcine aviators flying over just now


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Mar 06 - 05:50 AM

Select Committee on Office of the Deputy Prime Minister:
Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Second Report

----------------------------------------------------------------------

9 Conclusion



85. The Licensing Act 2003 gave the Department for Culture, Media and Sport the opportunity to simplify the licensing regime and reduce the regulatory burden on local authorities and licensees alike. The Act also aimed to provide residents with greater powers to object, and more involvement in the decision making process.

86. It is clear that, at present, the many problems encountered during the transition period are clouding the issue of whether the Act will be successful in these aims. It is unfortunate that so many errors have been made in the DCMS's planning during this time. There has been considerable stress on all parties, who were forced to deal with late regulations and guidance, inconsistent advice, unclear and irregular information and inadequate support. The ODPM failed local authorities: the department is there to support the workings of local authorities. We see little evidence that this was done during the transition period. Nor was action taken when direct appeals were made.

87. We hope that the DCMS review of guidance, and the Elton Review on fees will address many of the issues we have brought to the Government's attention. We regard the establishment of these reviews as a first step towards rectifying the problems inherent in the current system. The reviews should however seek to avoid imposing changes that will only cause further administrative burden, confusion or bad-feeling.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 Mar 06 - 05:39 AM

In other words we (proprietor=taxpayer) are paying for a bunch of incompetent civil servants and their pensions.

When Gordon Brown is busy taking his axe to the civil service let´s hope some of the people responsible for this b*ll**ks are in the line-up.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Mar 06 - 09:29 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

A few points to note before reading this transcript:

When questioned about Tessa's singing by the BBC and The Times last Thursday (16 March), DCMS initially claimed that the Act was about the application of 'common sense' and that no licence was required for 'live music that is incidental to a memorial service'. Later that afternoon, DCMS added another excuse: the event was private and not for profit.

But MPs had organised the performance well in advance and invited the press to record it. As such it was an event in itself, not incidental.

The BBC did not report any 'memorial service', they reported a 'celebration' and the singing. Indeed, in a Westminster Hall debate the next day, Linda Gilroy MP thanked the organisers, and called it 'a very celebratory event'. She made no reference to a 'memorial service'. In any case, it is hard to see that the laying of a bouquet beneath Emmeline Pankhurst's statue would qualify as such.

As for the private event claim, Victoria Tower Gardens is open to the public, and the new Licensing Act explicitly counts spectators as an audience.

Royal Parks had already submitted an application for a premises licence authorising entertainment, and this covers Victoria Tower Gardens. The application has been and continues to be advertised on the park railings, even though the closing date for representations was 1 March, a week before the MPs performance.

I understand 10 objections have been made, and these will have to be considered at public hearing. This will take place on 23 March - not sure where yet.

Westminster City Councillor Audrey Lewis implies that advertising a musical event is one of the legal reasons for licensing. In fact it is not a requirement under the Licensing Act. However, it appears to be one of the factors councils are using to assess whether a performance qualifies for the 'incidental music' exemption.

It would also appear that Westminster City Council is operating a policy of risk-based enforcement: no complaint, no action.

If this is possible, why is the pre-emptive criminalisation of unlicensed performances of this nature necessary at all?
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Tessa's illegal singing - BBC R4 Today - Fri 17 March 2006, 7.45am approx

Presenter, Sarah Montague: The Secretary of State for Culture, Tessa Jowell, has broken the law. Not just any law, but a law she introduced. Remember that sing-song to mark International Women's Day? Well, just in case you don't, here's a reminder:

Tessa Jowell and other women MPs singing to the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic (note the revised lyrics): My eyes have seen the women in the Commons and the Lords, they have trampled down the prejudice that was so long ignored, they have [fades out]...

Sarah Montague: Well, that was sung in Victoria Tower Gardens which is a royal park. And if you plan a musical event in a royal park, then under the terms of the new Licensing Act you need a licence. This is councillor Audrey Lewis who has responsibility for such matters on Westminster City Council.

Audrey Lewis: Well, technically to have a performance which was advertised of singing in a royal park, which is a premise under the terms of the new Licensing Act, was an offence because it has no licence. We would not, however, expect to prosecute because nobody has complained about it. It wasn't a question of law and disorder breaking out, or indeed public nuisance. Having said which, they've had a first offence. If they wanted to do this quite regularly they've had, they would get a warning and er I think that it's ironic that it's not only Tessa Jowell's law, it's Tessa Jowell in being involved in it, and of course it's Tessa Jowell who's responsible for the royal parks. So all in all [laughs] Tessa Jowell, I think probably knows by now that she can't do it again.

Sarah Montague: That was councillor Audrey Lewis. Well here with me in the studio is Hamish Birchall who's a musician who's been campaigning against the law. What do make of this?

Hamish Birchall: Well I think it's a superb example of the absurdity of the legislation, and er, this was discussed on internet chat groups just after the event happened. And I thought it worth looking into it a little bit more deeply, and um I know the law fairly well having worked on the Bill when it was a Bill. So I approached Westminster council, outlined the circumstances of the event and asked whether an offence had been committed.

Sarah Montague: You didn't complain, and that's one of the reasons that they said look nobody complained, it wasn't a case of law and disorder breaking out or a public nuisance.

Hamish Birchall: Oh no, I think it's absurd that people should face a potential criminal prosecution for something like this, but I think it does serve to illustrate the absurdity of the law.

Sarah Montague: Do you think there are many cases where sing-songs are not happening because of the law?

Hamish Birchall: I think people are a bit more wary of it, because erm although the government guidance is that, you know, spontaneous singing is exempt, actually there is very little spontaneous singing really in pubs. And in fact today, St Patrick's Day, there'd be a lot of planned singing in pubs and a lot of that will probably be illegal.

Sarah Montague: And so, there's, and there's do you think there is less singing going on as a result of the law?

Hamish Birchall: Probably not [laughs]...

Sarah Montague: [laughs] Because people will just get around it...

Hamish Birchall: It may not after this. It may not. This may discourage people.

Sarah Montague: Are you still campaigning to try to change the law?

Hamish Birchall: Yes.

Sarah Montague: But it's difficult to see what effect it is having.

Hamish Birchall: Erm, no. I've already er learned of three weekly jazz gigs in London that have been cancelled as a result of the new law.

Sarah Montague: Because they didn't have the appropriate licence?

Hamish Birchall: Well, because previously you didn't have to have a licence for one or two musicians and they were told that in fact they could carry this forward into the new regime, but you can't. Even if you provide one musician you'd need a new licence.

Sarah Montague: Ah, very interesting. Hamish Birchall thank you very much.

ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: pavane
Date: 20 Mar 06 - 09:52 AM

Key questions:

Firstly - who organised the event - NOT Tessa Jowell, I assume.
Therefore she is not the one who would be prosecuted.

Is the ORGANISER aware of the potential 20k fine?

If not, would she (I presume it is a SHE) still have done it if she knew? Probably NOT, I think.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 23 Mar 06 - 06:32 AM

I was watching BBC breakfast morning news this AM - it comes on at a civilised hour in Spain because we are an hour later (!!).

There was a piece about how music was being used to entertain patients at the Royal Hospital London, a harp and a guitar. It got their blood pressure down and was clearly therapeutic.

Now I would like to suggest that his could be regarded as regulated entertainment and thus licensable, and I do remember cases like these being put forward asthe sort of stupid thing that could happen if the bill went through in the form it eventually did.

There is an easy get-out for the hospital/licensing authority, (We was not entertaining the patients guv, we was treating them) but once again the absurdities of this act are exposed.

Anyone else see it?

Dave


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: stallion
Date: 23 Mar 06 - 07:59 AM

Ha HA,
Guess what, the reason I sing is to lower my blood pressure! True, my doctor was trying to rehab me after having six months off with stress and high blood pressure, "sing at least once, if not twice, a week". The missus was frothing about it, he then said to her "Do you want him dead". To wit I now sing every friday night, sacrosanct, so we are not entertaining but attending mass therapy classes like yoga and step aerobics, is that covered by the act?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Mar 06 - 08:48 AM

Before all this licensing rubbish descended on me - over 5 years ago now - I was a calm and reasonably healthy soul who did not get stressed about very much. As a result of trying to make sense of all this I have now developed high blood prssure.

I have taken my pills and I am set for yet another meeting at 4.pm with my local officers. Wish me luck.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: pavane
Date: 24 Mar 06 - 06:00 AM

All music provided in hospitals, nursing homes and similar must presumably be licensable because there are always visitors, and also the performers usually get paid.

Similarly for exercise classes, I suspect


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Mar 06 - 06:37 AM

The meeting was pretty much the struggle I expected.

The question was if the session prevented by this council under the old legislation could re-start without entertainment permission under the new.

A fairly simple question you would think. In fact this was the second meeting with the council's second-in-command where I had asked this question. I did not mangage to get an answer at the first meeting and I did not get an answer at this meeting. However, after having to be very forceful, I eventually managed to ensure that I would be getting an answer - when the employees of the licensing section are asked what the answer is................

I will also be told the number of the borough's pubs that are now without any entertainment permission.

The ignorance of the many changes resulting from the new legislation was as usual, pretty staggering and at one point both the officer and the councillor were urging me to just go ahead with organising a session in a pub without licensing permission as I would not be the one subject to prosecution............

Not too sure what chance they thought I had of persuading a licensee to re-start, when this council had already threatened to prosecute them for continuing under the old legislation.   

Watch this space for the answer - but don't hold your breath or expect too much when this letter arrives.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 24 Mar 06 - 12:06 PM

The ignorance of the many changes resulting from the new legislation was as usual, pretty staggering and at one point both the officer and the councillor were urging me to just go ahead with organising a session in a pub without licensing permission as I would not be the one subject to prosecution............

I hope you got that down in writing! Suggest to them that they do so!!

But I also wonder if they are dropping a gentle hint that they think this act is as stupid as you or I and countless others do - and they will not look to prosecute where there is no complaint and someone is clearly not organising a rave.

Certainly I get an instinctive feeling that that is happening. And as we gradually build up cases where councils have declined to prosecute, any council deciding to prosecute - for singing carols for example - or cabinet moinisters in parks, will find it in a dodgy legal position. Will they really spend money on prosecuting people when the outcome is not sure.

I doubt it.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Mar 06 - 12:23 PM

That I think that may be partly true.

But unless I (or the council) can give my licensee or the others, something a little more concrete than just this impression - they are unlikely to agree to any new sessions starting. Which if it were to prove to be the case that these are perfectly legal - would be just as bad - or perhaps worse that the law preventing it.

I can also see why they do not wish their officers to be tied down but the public and licensees need to have the protection of knowing what the law does or does not allow. And with the new exemption for incidental live music, Morris dancing and the distinction between amplified and non-amplified music in the legislation for the first time (in S177) - there really should be no question that such things are perfectly legal without entertainment permission.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Mar 06 - 11:28 AM

Just having laws which council's may or may not choose to prosecute if not really much good as at some point in the future this could change and will alway vary in different areas and no one has any protection under the law. For it becomes what council employees say that it is and licensees are most unlikely to legally challenge the entertainment aspects.

Councils, through the LGA are not backwards in lobbying Government for changes to legislation they do not like or they feel they are not properly funded to enforce. If they really feel that aspects of this legislation are presenting them with problems - they can say so.

But they are not going to do this unless they are asked the right questions and forced to come up with some answers.

This has been law since November 2005 - do you know if a new session in your area will be required to hold entertainment permission or will be pervented without this?

Do you know what your LA considers as incidental live music?

I am sure there are many similar question that we don't know the answers to......


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 25 Mar 06 - 12:45 PM

I can categorically state that Sheffield Council regards carols at Xmas - anywhere, not just in church, as part of a religious service and therefore will not be prosecuted. They have not prosecuted carols in pubs, nor have they prosecuted carols sung in a local radio station which was unlicensed.

I have this in writing. Hope this helps someone somewhere.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Mar 06 - 01:04 PM

How much help is this? For does it in fact it mean that any form of similar but secular music making - that cannot be stretched to qualify under this exemption will automatically be considered by them as licensable?

The words I have is that they have taken the view that there is a 'rebuttable presumption' that such gatherings qualify under the exemption in part 2. Para 9 to Schedule 1 of the Act.

I am sure that some legal person can explain what that phrase may mean.............


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: stallion
Date: 26 Mar 06 - 05:12 AM

This whole debate is starting to really pee me off, I have now berated Martin to publish official guide lines he has recieve, the vagueness is a deliberate attempt shackle raves and noisy spontaneous out burst of fun, the catch all tempered by ignoring quieter events such as sessions in pubs, in a highly organised and policed society as ours it isn't good enough, the real test will come when a "rave" organiser is prosecuted and a cute lawyer makes a council fall on it's own sword by holding up informal sessions, "flaunting" the act, as a precedent. Ain't no lawyer, and I know some of you are and will be quick to point out the short comings of the argument, that's good because we need as much ammunition as possible!


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 26 Mar 06 - 05:42 AM

I have to tell you that I went down that road with Sheffield City Council on the grounds that they were discriminating against secular music. I also tried Human Rights and was told this was discussed at the time of the passage of the Bill.

They told me they do not discriminate and that was that.

Again I suspect this was a hint that "sessions" will not be prosecuted if there are no complaints.

I decided to keep my powder dry for the moment and wait until there were signs (if any) of persecution of sessions.

But I agree that there are serious problems with the way this legislation is being handled with regard to music making and am happy to continue exposing its absurdities.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Mar 06 - 06:31 AM

They told me they do not discriminate and that was that.

Well they would say that wouldn't they?
Mandy Rice Davies

No one is going to prosecute themselves under Human Rights Legislation are they? The case would be brought by someone who thought they were being discrimnated against or when the council were not following the legislation and they would then have to defend their position.

Would you think they be discriminating if they enabled questionable events on the grounds that they were part of a religious service but prevented a new secular session from starting? I think it would be pretty plan that they were. if not why did they choose this exemption rather than one that would have also covered simlar secular events.

I think there is a case that the whole legislation regarding the special treatment of 'religous' music making is discriminatory.

But when you obtain the answer (rather than just hints) as to how they would view a secular session - the answer to whether they were discriminating will be clear.

Perhaps the first question for our local licensing authorites to answer now is how many of their pubs currently do not have any form of entertainment permission?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 26 Mar 06 - 04:28 PM

I have stayed out of the discussion until now but following from the last comment:
Would it not be more in our interests to compile lists of pubs WITH entertainment licences and give them our support by offering sessions. Now that's positive!!


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Mar 06 - 03:23 AM

I have stayed out of the discussion until now but following from the last comment:
Would it not be more in our interests to compile lists of pubs WITH entertainment licences and give them our support by offering sessions. Now that's positive!!


We do not have to compile any lists. The council will already have the information - all we have to do is ask for it. The Act also requires our councils to promote music and dance - not to prevent it.

On a practical level - pubs with licensing permission can legally hold sessions and many now do. These venues would also be promoting conventional and paid live music. Even if the pub was willing - it may not be possible to find a night that was free that would not also be denying musicians valuable opportunities for paid employment.

Again is it not more practical sense - if the aim is for a long-running session in a reliable and suitable venue - to establish sessions in the generally smaller pubs which for many reasons have not applied for permission to provide conventional entertainment but may be perfectly happy to host a session if asked.

On a less pracital level and more one of principle. If sessions are now in fact legal without licensing permission - surely it would be silly and wasteful not to take a course that would at least establish the facts?

Do you accept that this law means that if you obtain a licensee's permission that whether you should be allowed to play or sing in their pub for your own pleasure should be a matter for a council licensing officer to decide?

Do you accept that this law means that if you obtain a licensee's permission that whether you should be allowed to play pool or darts etc in their pub for your own pleasure should be a matter for a council licensing officer to decide?

The law either allows social indoor sports or similar social indoor music making without entertainment licenses or it does not. As both are included in Scedule 1 - the words of the same legislation cannot mean that one can and one cannot. If either of them are for the purpose of entertaining an audience - they are licensable. If either of them are NOT for the purpose of entertaining an audience - They are not licensable and of no concern to any council's licensing officers.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: pavane
Date: 27 Mar 06 - 06:40 AM

Just a (thread creep) note to say that the Government seem to be at it again.

Although I haven't seen it, there is apparently a clause in the Animal Welfare bill which requires ALL animal and bird shows to obtain a licence, at about 200 pounds a time. Looks like they will kill off all the childrens Pony club events and so on. No more animal competitions in local Fetes.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: DMcG
Date: 27 Mar 06 - 06:53 AM

While thread-creeping, I was told on Friday by a collector of WWII vehicles recently that the latest regulations intended to prevent people using replica weapons in crimes means he will no longer be allowed to have a barrel on the tanks he owns, and that many other groups such a Civil War re-enactors will (probably) be no longer allowed to use even replica weapons.

Heaven knows what the position for the BBC, film-makers and amateur dramatics is ...


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Mar 06 - 07:16 AM

To return to carol singing for a moment. Some are no so fortunate.

South Norfolk District Council do consider that carol singing requires entertainment permission as this council are following the DCMS's advice.

The Daily Telgraph 20 Dec 2005 by David Sapstead.

Up to 70 singers from local churches were to entertain passer-by on Saturday outside the Budgens store in Poringland near Norwich. But the event was called off on Friday because of confusion over the licensing position.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: DMcG
Date: 27 Mar 06 - 07:27 AM

I wrote to my MP about that very case on 20th December. He responded within 4 hours by email; I eventually got a response from the DCMS around the start of this month. It was the usual bland, incoherent stuff saying carol singing did not inherently need a licence(whether religous or secular) but if, for instance, a business arranged for them to sing outside his shop then a licence would be required.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 27 Mar 06 - 11:37 AM

I eventually got a response from the DCMS around the start of this month. It was the usual bland, incoherent stuff saying carol singing did not inherently need a licence(whether religous or secular) but if, for instance, a business arranged for them to sing outside his shop then a licence would be required.

First of all you were lucky they replied so quickly.

Secondly, what they usually do in my experience is say it is a matter for local councils. The councils refer you back to the DCMS!!

I was aware of the carol singers near Norwich but it was a bit too close to Xmas to add my two pennorth at the time. There is no doubt in my mind that there will be continual absurdities, and we need to keep highlighting them.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Tootler
Date: 27 Mar 06 - 12:22 PM

I met someone at the weekend who has, in the past provided music at local English Heritage Properties. This had simply involved sitting in a room during a weekend afternoon, playing his guitar. He has been told it unlikely they will be using him this coming season because of the new licensing laws. I understand National Trust properties could be similarly affected.

More venues lost to the new licensing laws? unless EH & NT are able to sort out the licensing situation.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: DMcG
Date: 27 Mar 06 - 12:50 PM

unless EH & NT are able to sort out the licensing situation.
But the problem is that it needs either a temporary licence each time at a handful of pounds but more importantly someone's time, effort and authority to push it through, or something similar to sort it at a national level, negotiating with each and every authority where a house happens to be ... I don't see it happening myself.

I suggest you get your contact to write to his MP and try to ask a question in the house. If he/she is a Labour MP, there's little hope of course. But if its another party something along these lines suggests itself.

"A member of my constituency has been informed that although he has sat in room at an English Heritage property playing period music for most weekends over X years, he will not be allowed to do so in future because of the licencing act of 2003. While this specific case is in the hands of English Heritage itself, will the Culture Secretary identify which of the main purposes of the Act -
(1) The prevention of crime and disorder;
(2) Public safety;
(3) The protection of children from harm;
(4) The prevention of public nuisance.

- made it necessary to bring such cases under the licencing remit at all?"


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: stallion
Date: 27 Mar 06 - 01:17 PM

Just got this from Martin, does it help?

"Section 177 - Dancing and live music in certain small premises

270 This section provides that where..............

the premises have a capacity limit of 200          any conditions relating to the provision of music entertainment imposed on the license by the licensing authority, other than those set out by the license or certificate holder in his operating schedule, will be suspended except where they were imposed as being necessary for public safety or the prevention of crime and disorder.

271. In addition where

.a premise license or club premise certificate authorises the provision of music entertainment, and

.the premises have a capacity limit of 200

then, during the hours of 8am and midnight, if the premises are being used for the provision of live unamplified music but no other description of regulated entertainment any conditions imposed on the license by the license authority, again other than those set out in the operating schedule, which relate to the provision of the music entertainment will be suspended."

This is from the government guide to the Act and seems to me to be quite clear. Any premises, including those with a capacity of more than 200, could presumably write the provision of amplified/unamplified music into their operating schedule. Perhaps the author's are unreconstructed traddies determined to pull the plug on singer-guitarists !!!

I'll bring a photo copy on Wed.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Mar 06 - 01:35 PM

The important part is:

271. In addition where

.a premise license or club premise certificate authorises the provision of music entertainment,


The entertainment permission has to have been applied for and in place first. In venues where none is in place - no form of live music that is for the purpose of entertaining an audience, can take place.

This is from the government guide to the Act and seems to me to be quite clear. Any premises, including those with a capacity of more than 200, could presumably write the provision of amplified/unamplified music into their operating schedule. Perhaps the author's are unreconstructed traddies determined to pull the plug on singer-guitarists !!!

They could but if they have not - these venues will have to pay again and go through the whole licensing process - just to enable non amplified music. I suggest that this very unlikely to happen?

But this section at least (and the Morris dance exemption) does for the first time make a distinction in licensing law for non amplified music.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: stallion
Date: 27 Mar 06 - 01:38 PM

and there is more

Ignore the flippant remark about "traddies". The key people are the landlords and the licensing officers; at the last meeting of the Yorkl LVA John Lacey ( City of York Licensing Officer )emphasiized the positive aspects of the Act, specifically mentioning its role in sustaining the tradition of live music in York pubs. In this respect he was promoting a key objective of our Licensing Policy:

"1.3.5 York's Licensed Heritage

The Licensing Authority recognizes the important part traditional and historic public houses play in our cultural and tourism heritage and would seek to preserve and enhance those assets for future generations.

1.3.6 Live Entertainment and Performing Arts

The Licensing Authority encourages the development of venues for the provision of live entertainment and performing arts, recognizing the contribution made to the vitality or the city. To this end the Licensing Authority will avoid applying measures which will deter live music, dancing and theatre by imposing direct costs of a disproportunate nature.."

City of York Council "Statement of Licensing Policy 2005"

I suggest that residents check out their local licensing policies and the government guidelines to the 'Act.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Mar 06 - 01:49 PM

I suggest that residents check out their local licensing policies and the government guidelines to the 'Act.

My local licensing policy has similar encouraging sounding things. It even contains a specific reference to the public's Right of Freedom of expression under Human Rights legislation.

Perhaps it is the nation's licensing officers who need to be encouraged to actually read these documents and put them into some practical and beneficial form for the public?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Mar 06 - 02:50 AM

The DCMS announce their Creative Economy Programme website (and discussion area).

http://www.cep.culture.gov.uk/index.cfm?fuseaction=main.viewSection&intSectionID=334


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 28 Mar 06 - 04:54 AM

The DCMS announce their Creative Economy Programme website (and discussion area).

Can I suggest that people look for an appropriate part of the website and make suggestions regarding the development of unamplified music? Richard Bridge has already done this. I´ll try and do it in the next day or two.

It might also be worth reminding the government that the Licensing Act does not apply to Scotland.

The government has previously claimed that it made no discrimination between unamplified and amplified music, but here in the letters below there is clear evidence that it does.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST,Hamish Birchall
Date: 28 Mar 06 - 10:21 AM

This is a message for 'Tootler' in response to their posting about the possible loss of live performance in English Heritage properties due to the new licensing legislation.

My first thought is that the performances may qualify for the 'incidental music' exemption (Licensing Act 2003, Sch.1, para 7). It would seem they are just background music, in which case the local authority should be at least asked to consider exempting on these grounds.

If you could identify the properties concerned this would help considerably. I have already phoned the events department at English Heritage HQ, and the person I spoke to had not heard of any performance cancellations.

Hope to hear from you.
Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Mar 06 - 03:45 AM

This was posted by Stephen Kellet on uk.music.folk.


Another licensing law casualty

The 4th Wednesday of the month folk singaround/playaround at the Chequers public house in Sutton, Cambridgeshire is no more.

The reason? The landlord will not pay for the new license.

According to the DCMS this sort of thing doesn't happen does it?

Stephen


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Mar 06 - 03:53 AM

Meanwhile this is how sessions are treated (and encouraged) in Shetland.

Which of course comes under Scottish Licensing legislation where they seem to see that their musical culture as a valuable asset rather than a threat.

http://www.shetland-music.com/tourevnt.htm


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 30 Mar 06 - 05:15 AM

Re: the session at the Chequers closing down.

I agree that it is a disgrace and I agree that this should not happen, BUT, I would respectfully suggest it would be useful to know why the landlord did not apply ("tick the box") at the time of the change over to the new license.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 06:56 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall

The City of London Corporation, which provides local government services for the 'square mile', has shown that it is possible to interpret the new Licensing Act liberally where live music is concerned.

On 24 March, Barts Hospital issued a press release about a new series of music concerts on the wards of Barts, and other participating hospitals: http://www.bartsandthelondon.org.uk/news/story.asp?id=1102§ion_id=1

The concerts were set up by a charity called Vital Arts: 'bringing musicians, story tellers and performers into the hospital to work on wards, in waiting rooms and other public areas to raise patient spirits and boost staff morale.'
http://www.vitalarts.org.uk/site/projects_01.html

The performances are public for the purposes of the Licensing Act, and they have been widely advertised. But the City of London licensing department today confirmed that, as far as they are concerned, these concerts qualify for the 'incidental music' exemption.

Last Friday (31.03.06), one of their licensing officers advised me: 'there is a strong argument for the music being incidental to the provision of clinical treatment, or infact that the music is actually part of that treatment. The City does not consider that the licensing of these 'performances' would serve any useful purpose, nor indeed would such licensing be within the spirit in which the legislation was enacted.'

This afternoon (Mon 03.04.06), Andrew Whittington, Assistant Chief Trading Standards Officer for the Corporation, said: 'I would reiterate his advice that the City of London, at this stage, does not consider that the music activity outlined in the link to Barts and the London NHS Trust website to be such as to require a licence under the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003. I can see no problem in you publishing this as the current view of this authority but as in all legal issues I would advise you of the following caveats:-
This view only relates to premises within the City of London.
Only the courts can interpret legislation with any authority and the City of London's view may change in the light of future court decisions.

I hope the above clarifies the position but if you come across any different view by other licensing authorities I would be grateful if you could let me know.'
Notwithstanding the caveat about this position applying only to the City of London, this position could prove useful to musicians elsewhere if they find their local authority adopting a less generous interpretation of 'incidental music' exemption (Licensing Act 2003, Sch.1, para 7).

Link to the City of London website:
http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/about_us/_whatis.htm


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Apr 06 - 03:14 AM

The following was just posted on the Yahoo - Action for Music list.

The Farriers Arms in St Albans, the very pub where CAMRA was founded had duos for many years under the two-in-the-bar rule. The landlord was a bit vague about what he needed to do when re-licensing the pub, but he has now been told that a music license will cost him £1,000. So no more music.

The Golden Lion, in London Colney, has a new restriction, even though it has a music license. I asked to have a session there during our festival week. As this particular session is a get together with the local branch of Comhalthas Ceolteori Eireann, which includes a number of very young musicians, we need either a function room without a bar in it, or outside space. The Golden Lion has a function room, but has told that it no longer has permission to have music outside.

More generally, our festival fortnight includes a number of outdoor events, each of which now needs a music license, which was not necessary in the past. The festival director, who is keen to promote access to the arts and has therefore encouraged us to organise outdoor events for the public in places like local parks, is now going spare acquiring the necessary licenses. She also tells us that it has been officially announced that Scottish dancing is not morris dancing for licensing purposes, and a license is needed for it.

Alison Macfarlane


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 10:55 AM

I received the following today.

Bridget Downton
Corporate Director
(Community Services)
Weymouth and Portland Borough Council

5th May [April] 2006

Dear Mr Gall

I write following our recent meeting. You asked for a list of all unlicensed premises. I attach two documents. One shows all premises and the other shows all those with licenses and the times – I hope this helps, it is the only way that we could extract the information from our database.

You raised some other specific points. I have consulted our legal team about these and will deal with them in turn:

Under the Act, it is not an offence for individuals to play live music in unlicensed premises where their only involvement in the provision of the entertainment is the playing of the live music and they take no role in the management/organisation of the same.

The New Starr Inn doe not have a license for regulated entertainment.

We are not in the business of trying to discourage people from learning to play musical instruments and we have worked hard with licensees across the borough to provide advice that means that they apply for the right license. We encourage licensees to apply for a regulated entertainment licence if they are in any doubt and if they think that they are likely to have regular music in their pub.

As you know, the Act contains no definition of 'incidental' and my legal team advise me that in these cases it is normal to use dictionary definitions to aid interpretation. The dictionary definition of incidental includes the word 'casual' which in our view, does impact on the regularity of incidental music. I can confirm that we would advise any licensees asking us that we would regard incidental music as that which:

Could take place without and audience;

Would not be advertised or held on a regular basis; and

Would not be amplified;

As I said in my previous letter, we have had very few issues regarding incidental music to date and we are not keen to apply 'one size fits all' rules. Therefore, we will continue to consider each case on its individual facts wherever possible and to advise licensees accordingly.

Your sincerely


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: stallion
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 12:59 PM

Had a word with Martin, Councillor Martin. He thinks it is crazy that in planning, when a scheme is rejected, another scheme may be submitted at no extra cost to the applicant. It therefore doesn't make sense, that having paid for the licence, a amendment can't be made, especially since it was new legislation, at no extra cost to the licencee. The costs involved in processing a second planning application are astronomical when compared to the ticking of a box on a licence. This is ludicrous, lunacy. Having said all that, with perhaps the exception of Sam Smiths, who instructed Tennants/Landlords not to tick the relevant box, the blame lays fairly and squarly on the licencees who either couldn't be arsed, or were too thick, to understand the implications of not ticking the box. Maybe L.A's might be peruaded to give licencees an "amnesty", a window, to amend the conditions of their licence now the debate has identified the idiotic nature of the practical application of the Act. I don't think piecemeal interpretation on a case by case basis is a reasonable solution. Perhaps we, as musicians, ought to contest an election or two, possible Tessa "Bare Faced CHEEKS" constituency.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 02:11 PM

Of the total of 340 local Premise Licenses - 174 do not have any form of entertainment permission.

Of the 166 that do have permission for 'live entertainment' - only 30 make any reference to any permission for indoor sports.

So does that mean that regular social indoor games - like darts etc are illegal in the remaining 310 premises?

My council is trying to maintain that regular social music making is illegal without entertainment permission when both this and regular social indoor games can now equally be considered under the words of Schedule 1 of the Act - as Regulated Entertainment - when they are for the purpose of entertaining an audience.

The New Star has no entertainment permission and according to my council's officers - this seems to prevent the session from re-starting even when it would take place with no one present but its participants.

But the New Star also has no permission for any social indoor games either and there is no question of any regular social indoor games taking place in its skittle alley requiring entertainment permission or of being prevented for the lack of this permission by these same officers.

Surely if one of these is licensable - they both are and if one is not licensable - then neither of them are licensable?

Is this descrimination - by my council's officers against one form of Regulated Entertainment - legal?

Is it the same where you live?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 04:57 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

Earlier this week the City of London Corporation showed that it is possible to interpret the 'incidental music' exemption liberally. Regular music concerts in wards (twice a week), waiting rooms and other public areas of hospitals as advertised by Barts Hospital need not be licensed under the new Licensing Act.

Contrast that approach with one from a local authority in the south west of England. Here is a section of their response sent this week to a local folk musician seeking clarification of the incidental music exemption:

'As you know, the Act contains no definition of "incidental" and my legal team advise me that in these cases it is normal to use dictionary definitions to aid interpretation. The dictionary definition of incidental includes the word "casual" which in our view, does impact on the regularity of incidental music. I can confirm that we would advise any licensees asking us that we would regard incidental music as that which:

Could take place without an audience;
Would not be advertised or held on a regular basis; and
Would not be amplified.
'As I said in my previous letter, we have had very few issues regarding incidental music to date and we are not keen to apply "one size fits all" rules. Therefore, we will continue to consider each case on its individual facts wherever possible and to advise licensees accordingly.'

All performances of live music can take place without an audience, so it is hard to see the point of the first criterion. Advertising is not cited in the new Act as a criterion for the licensing of live music, nor is this implied; likewise the regularity of performances. In any case Barts Hospital advertised their concerts on wards, which are taking place twice a week. Amplification is allowed by the incidental exemption, which makes no distinction between live and recorded music. Where recorded music is provided, amplification is unavoidable.

My Concise Oxford Dictionary leads with this definition of 'incidental': 'Having a minor role in relation to a more important thing, event, etc'. It does not mention 'casual'.

It would seem some local authorities are just making up their own law.
ENDS

Whilst agreeing the general point that is being made here - think I would take issue with the accuracy of the following:

Amplification is allowed by the incidental exemption, which makes no distinction between live and recorded music.

Perhaps the fact that the words of exemption specifically refer to the 'performance' of live music but the 'playing' of recorded music could yet prove to be an important distinction. It may be nit-picking on my part - but it is a distinction that the words of the Act make between live and recorded music.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Apr 06 - 02:43 AM

House Concerts a Federal Case


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: stallion
Date: 09 Apr 06 - 03:30 AM

re- House concerts etc.
it only requires one sad B*****d to spoil everyones enjoyment.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Apr 06 - 03:18 AM

You may have noticed from the council's letter that they have failed to answer the first question - if the session would be considered by them as Regulated Entertainment.

Howeve, the officers have answered the second question as to what their advice would be to any licensee requesting for the session to be considered under the exemption for a performance of incidental live music.

Their main requirement in a long list - is that it could take place without an audience. In their haste to block all the possible ways that this venue's session could take place - they have overlooked that a performance without an audience is a strange one and possibly not one at all.

But more importantly - that if the session could take place without an audience ( which it can ) it would not qualify as Regulated Entertainment in the first place and would have no need of the incidental exemption .......................


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 11 Apr 06 - 02:11 PM

This goes back to James Furnell´s original argument last
October referring to the Sheffield Carols. If all the people in a music event are taking part then by definition there is no audience.

So get a session together and have a roomful of participants. Or ask the council what there attitude would be towards it.

Of course what heppens then if someone walks in..........


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Apr 06 - 02:24 PM

Where did James Purnell make this comment specifically on the Sheffield carols?

It was the case that the event enabled without entertainment permission was because it was judged by Sheffield City Council that this participatory pub session (and the piano) was a religious service?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Apr 06 - 03:08 PM

Am I missing something?

My practical and moral argument under the old legislation was that participatory sessions in pubs should be viewed as indoor sports darts etc.

Under this legislation where both can now be equally qualify as being licensable Regulated Entertainment - this argument is not only a practical and moral one - now it is also a legal one.

Perhaps you can ensure that your local officers finally accept this reality of the new legislation?

For councils can now obviously accept two levels of indoor sports. One level like a exhibition match for the purposes of an audience - which requires entertainment permission, and another level - social games which would take place with no spectators or audience - which do not require entertainment permission.

Why then cannot they accept the same two levels of live music making? Especially when not to do so is placing participatory music making sessions at risk. For although examples are given for indoor sports in the Act's Guidance - it is only the words of the Act that are being enlarged on.

Words that equally apply to live music and indoor sports - which only become licensable Regulated Entertainment if or when they are for the purpose of entertaining an audience or spectators?

The determining point should not be any stray custoners that may wander in and be entertained and considered as an audience or spectators but - far more sensibly whether the indoor sport or social music making would be satifactorly taking place anyway in the absence of anyone other than the participants.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Snuffy
Date: 12 Apr 06 - 06:35 AM

Music and singing should be treated the same as darts, quizzes, etc, but to my mind there are three (not two) levels of activity to be addressed.

1. An exhibition darts match, designed to attract an audience, probably with paid performers, and probably advertised both in the pub and in local media.

2. A darts league match, which is planned in advance and "advertised"
by a fixture list on the pub notice board (i.e. not at all "spontaneous"). Spectators are not expected, but nor are they banned or even discouraged.

3. A few friends meeting in a pub and deciding on the spur of the moment to have a quick game of darts.

I think both we and the council officers would agree that type 1 is regulated and type 3 is not. However, the officers appear to claim that type 2 occurences are "regulated entertainment" for music but not for pub games.

A regular, planned session with low-key "in-house" advertising can be no more and no less "regulated entertainment" than a league match of darts, dominoes or quiz.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Apr 06 - 08:10 AM

As far as the words of the Act's Guidance is concerned - indoor sports are either licensable or they are not and it explains the reasoning for this.

The question of whether any of it is 'spontaneous' or not - is irrelevant as far as the words of the Act go - for the word does not appear in it.

Nor does an event's regularity affect whether it is licensable Regulated Entertainment or not - this factor does not appear in Schedule 1 of the Act.

Howver many types we may prefer to see - perhaps there is agreement that if all regular social music making is licensable - then so are all regular indoor games? And if all regular indoor sports are not licensable - then neither is regular social music making?

And that for local authorities to advise anything else - under the words of this legislation is unlawful and discriminatory?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Snuffy
Date: 12 Apr 06 - 09:46 AM

Although "spontaneous" is not in the act, LGOs seem to interpret the Act as though "incidental" and "spontaneous" have the same meaning: viz. your message of 07 Apr 06 - 04:57 AM

'As you know, the Act contains no definition of "incidental" and my legal team advise me that in these cases it is normal to use dictionary definitions to aid interpretation. The dictionary definition of incidental includes the word "casual" which in our view, does impact on the regularity of incidental music. I can confirm that we would advise any licensees asking us that we would regard incidental music as that which:

Could take place without an audience;
Would not be advertised or held on a regular basis;


This would rule out anything that was in the slightest degree premeditated or prearranged, so it would have to be either spontaneous or regulated.

Darts matches are both advertised and held on a regular basis but this does not appear to make them "regulated entertainment". Can the council officers explain that one?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Apr 06 - 12:51 PM

I think that we can discount the legality of just about everything in the council's last letter. The comment I had when I asked for advice on this letter was that The council's advice is BULLS*$T.

Can the council officers explain that one?

Probably not - but they don't attempt to - they just ignore any mention of anything that does not fit...

Such as the following. This has been supplied to the officers but they have made no comment to date and appear to wish to simply ignore it and its specific relevance to the nature of these local sessions as considered by Parliament?

The following Commons quote from the then Minister concerned Dr Kim Howells made in the Bill's Standing Committee to Jim Knight MP on the 1st April 2003. This in direct response to a question about the local Cove session.
It seems that it is largely a spontaneous activity, to which people turn up occasionally and it seems also that the word has spread that people can hear some nice music. However, as the Hon Gentleman says, the licensee does not spend money on advertising. If it is clear that music is being played in the corner of the pub, that would be incidental in my book.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Apr 06 - 01:10 PM

Re all this about about the event's regularity -

I am coming to the conclusion that most of the problem is confusion among the elected members stemming from the change of the term Public Entertainment to Regulated Entertainment. The officers should know but I am not sure that they really try too hard to correct any wrong impressions that councillors may have.

The Vice Chair of the Licensing Commitee he is telling me that he is advised that the reason the New Star session would have to be considered as Regulated Entertainment because it is 'organised' to take place on a regular basis.

Now the term Regulated - simply refers to what is regulated or is licensable. And whether an activity qualifies - has little or nothing to do with an event's regularity. I have tried to explain this to him but says he is going to ask the officers to provide for him the exact words of the Act which support what they are advising him. This should be interesting..............


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 12 Apr 06 - 01:37 PM

Where did James Purnell make this comment specifically on the Sheffield carols

It was the case that the event enabled without entertainment permission was because it was judged by Sheffield City Council that this participatory pub session (and the piano) was a religious service? ?


He made in a letter to David Blunkett. Hamish has certainly seen it or something similar. Currently I am in Spain so cannot post the exact words. I will do so when I am back in May. I wrote to the Minstry pointing out I thought it was unusual for a Minister to seek loopholes in an Act for which he was responsible. He ignored the comment in his last letter to me.

Sheffield City Council adjudged any carols taking place in their area - whether accompanied or not as part of a religious service. Wherever they took place. As posted earlier in this thread.

What we have now is a farce of the first order. It is a farce becasuse the law means different things in different parts of England and Wales. (It was always so as far as other parts of the UK are concerned). I am not sure how this is justified but I am determined to get past this excuse "We leave it to local authorities to judge what is best in their local area".


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Apr 06 - 01:57 PM

I am not sure how this is justified but I am determined to get past this excuse "We leave it to local authorities to judge what is best in their local area".

Well this is true with legislation delegated to them - but only to the extent that what any LA judges to be best MUST follow in the words of the legislation, follow the spirit of it and not be ignored and made-up locally by individual council employees to suit them.

The recourse is the courts - but before that can be an option - councils have to first provide the answers to the questions asked. We largely had those answers under the old legislation but as this was coming to an end - there was little point in going to the courts at that point.

The situation is different when very little of the new legislation has been tested in the courts. It does mean that liberal positions like The City of London's on the incidental exemption can stand until any ruling is made elsewhere and that councils who hold less liberal posisions will most likely find that they will be the ones defending their positions in court.

But all councils must be pushed out of their comfort zones and forced to answer the basic questions and if they then find the legislation a problem to enforce - they can join in the lobby to change it.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST,Cookieless Folkiedave in Spain
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 07:45 AM

The situation is different when very little of the new legislation has been tested in the courts.

I agree entirely BUT how is the legislation going to get tested?   Wetherspoons clearly have enough financial muscle. And we can keep questioning local authorities - but they do succesfully ignore us when we ask the more awkward questions about their logic defying decisions.

As does the DCMS.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 11:50 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

On 17 March a cross-party committee of MPs strongly criticised DCMS for 'inconsistent and unclear advice' during their implementation of the new licensing regime (see BBC report:
Now the Better Regulation Commission has weighed in with another report on licensing reform, equally critical of both DCMS and the government. 'Implementation of the Licensing Act 2003' was published by the BRC earlier this month (PDF file):
http://www.brc.gov.uk/publications/licensingact2003.asp

The new report explicitly highlights uncertainty over the 'incidental music' exemption, and puts the blame firmly on the government:
'We find it alarming that the government is unable to clarify its intentions and explain to those affected by its own legislation what they are required to do.' [para 31, p16, full text below]

They add, under 'Observations':
'The uncertainty over incidental music. Should changes need to be made to legislation to resolve this, then they should be initiated immediately.'

In paragraph 4 (and many others), highlights the hidden costs and bureaucracy:

'Although the 2003 Licensing Act is a significant deregulatory and simplification measure that originally enjoyed widespread support, the way it was implemented during 2004 and 2005 led to complaints about increased costs and unnecessary bureaucracy.

The actual experience of applicants and licensees going through the new process was often far from the streamlined, simplified, efficient and less costly process that the Act led them to expect and which we believe Parliament voted for. The Better Regulation Commission is concerned that the policy and administrative decisions taken during implementation were not subject to sufficient consultation and a rigorous analysis of options, costs and benefits.'

In para 74, the BRC adds: 'We are surprised that, after nearly ten years of better regulation under the current government, a major government department should still make the kinds of regulatory mistakes that we have outlined in this review.'

~ ~ ~

Full text of paragraph 31, BRC 'Implementation of the Licensing Act 2003':

'31. Two other things that caused major uncertainty were (a) whether a DPS [Designated Premises Superviser] always needs to be on the premises when alcohol is sold and (b) what constitutes incidental music. Neither is satisfactorily explained in the guidance and subsequent correspondence between licensees and the DCMS has not resolved these issues.

Most licensees respect and want to comply with the law and do not like operating under this kind of uncertainty. Departments should do everything possible to resolve issues of regulatory uncertainty or confusion as soon as they become apparent. We understand that the government has said that case law is needed to clarify the first issue. We find it alarming that the government is unable to clarify its intentions and explain to those affected by its own legislation what they are required to do.
ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 Apr 06 - 03:42 AM

From the Minister's last letter (24/03/06) to me:

"It would be inappropriate for me to comment on a specific performance of music, as licensing authorities are now responsible for administering and enforcing the new licensing regime".

To me that is simply a cop out. It is starting to result in one local authority ignoring blatant breaches of the law, (Westminster with the BBC in Abbey Rd, Tessa Jowell in the Royal Park) whilst Roger's local authority seem to be adopting a "the law means what we say it means" sort of approach. Sheffield seems to take the same approach but from a more liberal standpoint.

There must be lawyers all over the land rubbing their hands with glee. I seem to remember Richard Bridge pointing out something to that effect much earlier on in this debate.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Apr 06 - 07:46 AM

Sorry I messed up with the links.

On 17 March a cross-party committee of MPs strongly criticised DCMS for 'inconsistent and unclear advice' during their implementation of the new licensing regime (see BBC report: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4815648.stm


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Apr 06 - 03:53 AM

Feargal Sharkey of the Live Music Forum has a message board prior to hosting a live broadcast on Radio One.

Well, whatever he means, in conclusion he throws out this challenge:

'...if you've got an idea, no matter how big, small or outrageous, but one that you think might make it easier for you to get a gig or go see a gig that's I want to hear about.'

The message board is at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbradio1/F2675886?thread=2701326

I note a number of correspondents from here seem to have written already and I intend to do so.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Apr 06 - 04:34 AM

The following from Hamish Burchall

On 24 April Radio 1 is hosting a 'live music debate' at the Glee Club in Birmingham. Feargal Sharkey will be on the panel, and he wants your views on live music.
Licensing minister James Purnell will also attend, as will Andy Parfitt, controller of Radio 1:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/onemusic/ask/

In a message to potential contributors, Feargal writes:

'The Live Music Forum was set-up by the Government back in 2004 to monitor the impact of the new Licensing laws on live music. We have also been asked to put together some ideas on what the Forum thinks everyone can be doing to help ensure that live music continues to grow, prosper and develop.'

These carefully worded sentences imply a worrying separation of functions. Does he mean the LMF itself keeps the monitoring of the Licensing Act's impact as something entirely separate from putting ideas together to help ensure that live music prospers?

Well, whatever he means, in conclusion he throws out this challenge:

'...if you've got an idea, no matter how big, small or outrageous, but one that you think might make it easier for you to get a gig or go see a gig that's I want to hear about.'

The message board is at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbradio1/F2675886?thread=2701326


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Apr 06 - 05:29 AM

The following from the message board.

My name is Feargal Sharkey and I am Chairman of the Live Music Forum.

The Live Music Forum was set-up by the Government back in 2004 to monitor the impact of the new Licensing laws on live music. We have also been asked to put together some ideas on what the Forum thinks everyone can be doing to help ensure that live music continues to grow, prosper and develop.

To do this we've been talking to all kinds of people throughout the music industry, venues owners, promoters, booking agents, record companies and music publishers for example. Now while all of this is incredibly important the most important part of all is missing, That's where you come in. The simple truth is none of this can happen if there are not people out there standing on stages, playing music, going to gigs, enjoying the whole experience that is live music.

What I would like to hear about is you. Do you play, are you in a band or group, do you have somewhere to rehearse, what's it like, where do you play (pubs, clubs, mate's dad's garage), do you get paid, have you ever tried putting on your own gigs, how do you advertise you gigs, do you get to play outside your local area, do you use the internet to try and promote yourself, does it work?

I also want to hear what you think if you are not a musician or performer but like going to gigs. How often would you go, what kind of acts do you go and see, where, what's the best gig you've ever been to, what's the local transport like, what about ticket prices, do you buy ticket from internet ticket shops or auction sites, what could be done to make the whole thing easier or better for you?

All in all I'm happy to talk about pretty much any aspect of live music. Unfortunately I can't tell you why your record wasn't Number 1 last-week (maybe it just wasn't good enough), or why your not already confirmed to headline Glastonbury next year (see first point), but if you've got an idea, no matter how big, small or outrageous, but one that you think might make it easier for you to get a gig or go see a gig that's I want to hear about.

Now it's your turn.

Feargal.

ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Apr 06 - 11:08 AM

Hello All,

Setbatjazzdev, I will post an answer to your question a little later today if that's OK.

For rogerthechorister, melhnery, Terpsichore, alimac-stalbans, smfolk, Tootler, almunecarblade or indeed anyone else that would like to raise ANY issue regarding the Licensing Act could you email me directly at,

LiveMusicForum@culture.gsi.gov.uk

This is particularlly important if like melhenry you feel you have lost a gig as a result of the changes in the law.

I'll try to give you what answers I can to whatever questions you might have.

Hope this helps.


Kind regards,



Feargal.


I shall certainly be writing to Mr. Sharkey.

I shall let you know what answers I get.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: DMcG
Date: 20 Apr 06 - 03:49 AM

... Or in this case, apparently NOT affected by the Act.

According the the 'Today' radio programme, Fulham council has found that 'Top of the Pops' needed a licence because there was definitely an audience. They have confirmed that all such programmes will need a licence ... but have decided not to stop Sunday's performance. Pity - it needs something high-profile like that to bring home to people just how problematical this Act is. Which is exactly why it is not being stopped, naturally.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Apr 06 - 05:09 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

The next few weeks' Top of the Pops could be illegal, if the BBC admit a studio audience comprising members of the public in the way they have done for years.

This should be covered by tomorrow's BBC R4 Today programme - although I don't know the exact time.

The lack of an appropriate licence for the TOTP studios came to light as a consequence of a gig by the Red Hot Chili Peppers at BBC TV centre last Saturday (15 April 06). There appears also to have been confusion about what constitutes a private event under the new legislation.

The BBC have for years distributed free tickets to the public in advance of the show, making it in their view an 'invitation only event'. But after discussions today with the local authority, Hammersmith & Fulham, the BBC has accepted that under the new legislation a licence under the Licensing Act is now required.

Despite the possible illegality of the next few week's Top of the Pops it looks as though Hammersmith & Fulham will not be taking any legal action. A spokesperson for Hammersmith & Fulham issued a statement which explains the council's position:

"It does appear that the BBC should have applied for a licence for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers concert because it was apparently open to the public as advertised in the Evening Standard and elsewhere. We will be looking at whether any action should be taken with regards to this event, but it is important to point out that we received no complaints about the event. The safety of people attending an event and the wellbeing of the local community, particularly neighbouring residents,
are always our primary concerns and we have no evidence that this event threatened that safety or wellbeing.

"A more pressing issue seems to be the historical consideration of Top of the Pops as a private event, attended by an invited audience. Whilst there is no explicit definition of a "public event" in the new legislation, it does appear that the way tickets are distributed for TOTP makes it a public event.

"Ultimately the decision over whether or not to apply for a licence lies with the BBC's legal team. We understand from recent discussions that they agree a licence is required and that they will imminently be submitting an application to the council.

"The BBC has an excellent track record of running events effectively and sensitively at their Wood Lane studios, and TOTP has been filmed with a live audience there for many years with no negative impact on local residents or the local environment. Therefore we cannot see a problem with them continuing to do so until their licence is in place, and we will not be seeking to prevent them going ahead this weekend.

"We will, however, continue to monitor events at the BBC and work with them to ensure that they continue to be run in safe and responsible manner."

'Louise Neilan
Spokesperson for the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham'

ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Apr 06 - 05:12 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

See below for a transcript of this morning's Top of the Pops licensing story covered by the BBC R4 Today programme (20 April 2006). A few points to consider before reading it:

On the Today programme of 29 June 2005, licensing minister James Purnell said the new Licensing Act would be 'much better' for live music, adding: 'Now as long as they tick the box which says we want to put on an entertainment they won't have to pay any more and it is a much much easier system.'

In fact, even if the BBC had 'ticked the box' last year they would have faced, as they probably face now, a hefty bill for a premises licence covering a very large and complex set of studio performance areas.

There are implications for every broadcaster using a studio audience, but not only for performances of music and dancing. The new legislation also applies to the 'performance of a play', a description which is likely to cover sitcoms and other dramatic works in this setting (see the Licensing Act 2003, Sch.1, para 2(1)(a) and 2(2), and para 14 'Plays').

Perhaps James Purnell, Feargal Sharkey and BBC Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt will include all this in their BBC Radio 1 'Live Music Debate' agenda on Monday. See:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/onemusic/ask/

There's still plenty of time to answer Feargal's call: '...if you've got an idea, no matter how big, small or outrageous, but one that you think might make it easier for you to get a gig or go see a gig that's I want to hear about.'

The BBC R1 Live Music Debate message board is at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbradio1/F2675886?thread=2701326

~ ~ ~

Transcript of BBC R4 Today, Thursday 20 April 2006
Top of the Pops caught by new Licensing Act


JIM NAUGHTIE: It's 20 past 8. Now six months after the Licensing Act was introduced to regulate 24 hour drinking it's still causing quite a bit of confusion. According to Hammersmith & Fulham Council in London, a concert staged by Top of the Pops on Saturday fell foul of the new law because it was a public event. The council warns that the president, er the presence of a studio audience meant that the event had to be licensed, and this applies to the programme's normal weekly recordings as well, all of which could now be illegal. Nicola Stanbridge reports:

[TOTP theme fades in]
NICOLA STANBRIDGE: Top of the Pops has passed from generation to generation, even though the music has changed a little bit in 40 years. Hammersmith & Fulham Council started investigating the iconic programme when it staged a small open air concert at Television Centre by the Red Hot Chili Peppers on Saturday. The council says the BBC should have applied for a licence under the new Licensing Act, and delving further now feels the BBC needs a licence for all its studios. I asked Louise Neilan from Hammersmith and Fulham if this made Sunday's Top of the Pops illegal under the new Licensing Act while a licence is sought.

LOUISE NEILAN: Yes, that could be in breach. It's all around the interpretation of whether its a private or public event, and if it's been advertised on the website and the audience has come in and is considered public. If they didn't have an audience for Top of the Pops it's our understanding that they wouldn't be in breach of the er Licensing Act. It may well have implications for other forms of entertainment as well, anything with sort of music or dancing.

NICOLA STANBRIDGE: The BBC is in discussion with the council now. No-one was available for an interview, but in a statement it said:

ACTOR READING BBC STATEMENT: The recording of live performances before a limited invited studio audience has always been treated by the BBC and the council as constituting a private event, not requiring a live performance licence. In the event that a different approach is now required the BBC will apply for the appropriate licence.

[electric guitar fade in]
NICOLA STANBRIDGE: Past presenters have rallied around the longest-running British pop show, including the very first one, Sir Jimmy Saville.

SIR JIMMY SAVILE: Top of the Pops is a way of life for young people. If they say 'no Top of the Pops', young people will bounce up like corks. When I started Top of the Pops Wednesday January 1st, 1964, 6.30 in the evening, Rolling Stones first group, at Dickenson Road in Manchester in a converted church, a journalist said to me 'How long do you think this sort of thing will last?', and I said 'As long as people listen to records, because you listen to a record of course you want to see the artist, you want to see them move'. There'll always be a Top of the Pops, one way or another, dictators or no.

[TOTP theme fade in - crowd roar]

NICOLA STANBRIDGE: Every week there's a studio audience of teenagers screaming and dancing. Mike Reid who's also presented the show, says the notion that the studio audience is in jeopardy is worrying.

MIKE REID: The crowd have always been an essential part of it since 1964. If you're doing it in an empty studio it's a bit like playing a football match with no crowd there. And if were Top of the Pops I'd just carry on and say 'to hell with Hammersmith Council, let's just do it and enjoy ourselves, they, they try and stop us enjoying ourselves at every turn now the nanny state - just go ahead, I'd be right behind it'.

NICOLA STANBRIDGE: Breaking the Licensing Act can lead to a £20,000 fine and six months in prison, but Hammersmith and Fulham Council says Top of the Pops has been running for many years without causing harm and it won't be seeking to stop the programme going ahead this Sunday, even though it thinks technically the programme is breaking the new Licensing Act.

JOHN HUMPHRYS: And the time is now 24 minutes past 8...

ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 20 Apr 06 - 06:32 AM

I wonder if I park illegally in Hammersmith and Fulham I will be treated with the same respect and that it will just be seen as a technical breach of the law.

Somehow I doubt it.........


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Barden of England
Date: 20 Apr 06 - 07:16 AM

If this was a small pub you can bet your boots that the Hammersmith and Fulham licencing officers would have come down like a ton of bricks with all sorts of threats - because it's the BBC the same people turn cowardly in the face of might. It proves that might is right when it comes to the law doesn't it. I would have loved to see this taken on as a legal battle, but no doubt the council will have decided it would be too costly. Not so against a small pub though is it. Same happened with Tessa Jowell - wouldn't have been so otherwise I'm absolutely sure. There is one law for us, and another for the establishment I'm afraid, and there's bugger all we can do about it.
John Barden
Duplicate threads combined.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: affected by the Licencing Laws April 06
From: stallion
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 11:34 AM

apologies for a new thread but the old one was to full for me to wade through it.
I wrote to feargal and got a reply!

the bit you might be interested in, and I hope you will respond to feargal, is as follows, bearing in mind that I was bemoaning the demise of pub sessions, this was the reply.

Good to hear that you feel York has been supportive. I'm interested that you feel that this
kind of event has been "Trounced," by the new legislation. As you may know this is one of the particular
tasks the Forum has been given, to monitor the impact of the new regulations on live music, regardless
of where or when it might be taking place.

Are you aware of particular venues that have been effected in this way or indeed know the details of any Local Authorities
who have not been as supportive as York? If there was a Local Authority who was on a "Quest to stamp them out," I know for
certain that is something Forum members would want to take a very distinct interest in.
( i said "seem like they are on a quest to stamp them out")

send your info on local authoriies and pub sessions knocked on the head to following



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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 05:20 AM

The following from Hamish Birhall.

Last December I wrote to every member of the Cabinet suggesting that having had more than two years to sell the benefits of the new Licensing Act to venues, there should by then have been strong evidence of the promised 'explosion of live music'. I also suggested that the government apologise for publicly misinterpreting the MORI live music survey (the unjustified 'flourishing' claim), and consider changing the Act.

Yesterday I received this reply from DCMS, dated 19 April 06, on behalf of Tessa Jowell:

'We are sorry we cannot reassure you of the advantages of the Licensing Act 2003 and our determination to ensure its success. We therefore feel that we must agree to disagree about the concerns you raise and let the Act be judged in the fullness of time and experience.'

This seems to rule out any early change to the legislation. Moreover, if such changes are off limits, it must be clear that the Live Music Forum (LMF) is not independent - its remit is essentially dictated by DCMS. It is, and always was, a PR exercise by the government, and an effective way of coralling potential opposition.

In my view the LMF is a waste of time. If you are unhappy with the legislation write to your MP:
www.writetothem.com


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 05:25 AM

The following link is for a thread for posts on the Live Music Forum's feedback to our views etc.

Your views wanted by UK Govenment


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 05:42 AM

Link to an article in The Publican.

http://www.thepublican.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=20490&d=32&h=24&f=23&dateformat=%25o%20%25B%20%25Y

Not really related but it an interseting attempt by some pubs to avoid paying UK fees and conditions for the showing of TV sport. Which of course - be it from home or abroad - does not require entertainment permission.

-------------------------------------------------------------------
I think the following from the guidance may be useful for those who have a session or similar event that is being deterred locally.

Cultural strategies

3.47
In connection with cultural strategies, licensing policy statements should include clearly worded statements indicating that they will monitor the impact of licensing on the provision of regulated entertainment, and particularly live music and dancing. Care will be needed to ensure that only necessary, proportionate and reasonable licensing conditions impose any restrictions on such events.

Where there is any indication that such events are being deterred by licensing requirements, statements of licensing policy should be re-visited with a view to investigating how the situation might be reversed. Broader cultural activities and entertainment may also be affected -.


And from
Live music, dancing and theatre
3.58
Statements of licensing policy should also recognise that as part of implementing local authority cultural strategies, proper account should be taken of the need to encourage and promote a broad range of entertainment, particularly live music, dancing and theatre, including the performance of a wide range of traditional and historic plays, for the wider cultural benefit of communities.

A natural concern to prevent disturbance in neighbourhoods should always be carefully balanced with these wider cultural benefits, particularly the cultural benefits for children. In determining what conditions should be attached to licences and certificates as a matter of necessity for the promotion of the licensing objectives, licensing authorities should be aware of the need to avoid measures which deter live music, dancing and theatre by imposing indirect costs of a disproportionate nature.

Performances of live music and dancing are central to the development of cultural diversity and vibrant and exciting communities where artistic freedom of expression is a fundamental right and greatly valued. Traditional music and dancing are parts of the cultural heritage of England and Wales. Music and dancing also help to unite communities and particularly in ethnically diverse communities, new and emerging musical and dance forms can assist the development of a fully integrated society.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 12:39 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall

Last Friday, 21 April 06, the Queen went on a walkabout in the streets of Windsor as part of her 80th birthday celebrations. The bands of the Welsh and Irish Guards performed live music by way of accompaniment.

A spokesperson for the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, which covers the area including Windsor Castle, confirmed today that no premises licence was in force for the event. They also claimed that the bands' performances were covered by the 'incidental music' exemption: 'In this case, visitors were not there to hear the band play and if there had been no band at all, there would have been just as many visitors at the event.'

However, the statutory Guidance to the Licensing Act, issued by DCMS, suggests that 'volume' is the key factor for local authorities in deciding whether the incidental music exemption should apply. 'Common sense dictates that live or recorded music played at volumes which predominate over other activities at a venue could rarely be regarded as incidental to those activities.' ['Guidance issued under s.182 of the Licensing Act 2003', para 5.18. Note also that 'premises' in the Act is defined as 'any place' and this includes open spaces.]

The music was captured by the BBC. When the bands play, the volume does seem much louder than anything else going on. When pressed on what 'rare' circumstances led the council apparently to disregard the high volume of the marching bands, the council declined to comment further.

Link to BBC coverage:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/nolavconsole/ukfs_news/hi/newsid_4930000/newsid_4932900/bb_rm_4932920.stm


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 05:27 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

The BBC Radio 1 public live music debate, held at the Glee Club in Birmingham in the evening of Monday 24 April, is now available online. Be warned, however, it is nearly an hour and a half long:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/onemusic/exposed/ and click on the 'Any questions' link.

The overall content reflected the concerns of the rock and pop constituency, as you would expect. On this planet, licensing does not register strongly, no doubt because the new regime presented few obstacles for existing specialist rock and pop venues. Converting their licences last year was, in the main, a tick box exercise. Many such venues will save money because they no longer pay high annual entertainment licence fees.

This fundamentally different perspective explains, in part, the gulf of understanding between DCMS and musicians who aren't focused exclusively on rock and pop.

During the debate, Feargal Sharkey emphatically and misleadingly repeated the DCMS myth that licensing live music cost nothing extra. He also said that the Live Music Forum would be presenting its final recommendations to the licensing minister James Purnell in September. However, the minister's reply suggests that the LMF report will be not be independent. Purnell 'will work quite closely on developing it'.

Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq seems to think live music has never had it so good, and said he'd like a law requiring everyone over 50 to re-sit their 'artistic licence' to carry on making music (this may have been purely in jest - it's hard to tell).

Purnell also suggested that a change to the new licensing laws had not been ruled out (which tends to contradict the DCMS letter of last week).

Lamacq compered the debate. Sharkey and BBC R1 controller Andy Parfitt were on the panel from the start. Purnell was 44 minutes late. DCMS civil servants were among the audience of 200-300 Birmingham rock and pop musicians and promoters.

Some questions about licensing were raised, but they were not well informed.

Here are a few transcribed extracts:

SHARKEY [responding to a punter who said that two pubs had 'gone down' due to licensing bureaucracy and having to pay £1000 for their music licence]:

'... just to pick up a point about this, coz it's something I've heard repeated quite a lot, er about it costing an extra thousand pounds to put on live music. If you know of one single premises that was charged a thousand pounds extra to put on live music, I would like to know about it because the law says it cost absolutely nothing extra whatsoever to put on live music. If you want to sell alcohol, that's the price of the licence. If you want to sell alcohol and provide live music, that's still the price of the licence, regardless of whether you're doing one or the other. And if anyone's been told anything else, or charged anything else, come and talk to me afterwards, coz I think we can probably fix that one fairly quickly.' [my emphasis]

This DCMS myth was debunked by two BBC R4 reports when Purnell made essentially the same claim on the Today programme, on 29 June last year.

For the typical pub, bar and restaurant converting its alcohol licence last year there were unavoidable knock-on costs if they 'ticked the box' for live music. These costs were not payable if they simply ticked the box for alcohol.

For example, public advertisement of the application often cost several hundred pounds. Such advertisement was a statutory requirement where live music permission was being sought for the first time by venues that only had an alcohol licence. Scale plans did not have to be professionally produced, but many venues paid for them nonetheless - it saved time, or the premises layout was complex, or they weren't confident that they could draw scale plans correctly. There were also legal fees - again, not absolutely required, but often unavoidable. Lastly, for a significant minority, there was the cost of implementing licence conditions.

Entirely new venues, applying now, will pay one fee whether they tick one box for live music, or multiple boxes to cover alcohol, playing of recorded music, showing of films, and so on. But they still face hidden extra costs if legal representation is needed to handle difficult public hearings, or if faced with local authority licence conditions such as installing noise limiters etc. If they don't tick the live music box, but want permission later on, they will face the full costs of a new application, including a licence fee.

~ ~ ~

(Following a discussion about the popularity of big pop festivals and problems with ticket touts)

LAMACQ: ... Aren't we now just victims of our own success? Live music has become so popular. It's become better organised in some cases. It's with, via our coverage on Radio 1, we've excited people, we've explained to them what it's like, we've brought the atmosphere into their homes, we've got a lot of bands, we've had a reasonably good British music scene, we've tried to help new music come through, we've now got all this going on, and now the problem is just too many people want to go. Because we've made it so good.

SHARKEY: Just to play devil's advocate Steve, are you genuinely saying then that we should try and stop musicians and performers who by default, good luck, or skill, talent and ability have managed to create a piece of music that the average human person in the audience gets excited, passionate and excited about and wants to go and see and experience and be a part of? I wouldn't want to prevent that for one second.

LAMACQ: Well, I'd like a law that said everyone over 50 has to re-sit their artistic licence to carry on making music, but that's another thing entirely. Do you see what I mean though? That it's now, we have a great product, so now we're dealing with, now we're now dealing with the fall out?

~ ~ ~

LAMACQ: James, before we wind up, when Feargal's paper gets to you, what happens next?

JAMES PURNELL: I'll be very frightened.

SHARKEY: You will be! [laughs]

JAMES PURNELL: We're looking forward to it. And er, you know, I think we're going to work quite closely on developing it. And, where we can take the ideas forward we will do so. There may be some things which are about banging heads together or encouraging people, or building on good practice. Stuff like that is relatively easy to do. Things which involve changing the law or finding money are harder to do, but aren't ruled out of the question. So, we're basically erm looking forward to the ideas and, you know, we'll take them forward as we can.

LAMACQ: And do you see this as a long term investment on behalf of the government?

PURNELL: Yes we do. I mean, as I said the British music industry is a really important part of the economy. It's 5 billion pounds a year, so purely in economic terms it's a really important thing and we want to build on it. It's also, I think live music is really crucial to the success of British music now, you know the fact that people want to break American bands like the Strokes erm or the White Stripes here because that gives them credibility elsewhere because we're seen as a kinda 'island of taste makers' and that makes people really focus on the UK music scene from all over the world, that's a really good thing er for British music and British culture. And also, just coz it's such an important of people's lives now, if there's anything that we can do to get rid of problems or to build on success then we shall be doing so. And it won't just be a short term thing, it will be er a prolonged engagement.

LAMACQ: Final thought Feargal?

SHARKEY: Er, I have told James this in the past, er it's purely a personal ambition of mine and I have explained it to the Forum members: if government accept all of our recommendations I will be slightly disappointed coz it might be an indication that we weren't thinking radically enough. And I'm pleased to say I think I've heard a couple of ideas that might help me achieve that objective by the end of the summer. Thank you all very much.

[LAMACQ thanks panellists. Debate ends


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST,Just curious.
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 01:42 PM

Interesting comments Hamish.

I've just listened to the whole thing and just after Feargal Sharkey
makes his comments about the cost of live music a pub landlord
speak and says that he was right. He applied for live music and it
cost him nothing extra at all!

Perhaps you've gotten this one wrong mate?

Oh, by the way I know of 3 venues in my local area that have now started
doing live music within the last couple of months, none of them have ever
done any live music at all in the past.

What happened the nationwide decimation of live music you were
predicting?

Look like you might have gotten that one wrong too.

Just curious .


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 06:26 PM

I am afraid it is not as simple as the landlord (and Feargal) make out.

If at the time of the renewal of the licence last November you applied for music and "ticked the box" then theoretically it cost "nothing". I put that in inverted commas because it could cost for alterations etc. qwhich may have been demanded or not by the council.

However if now you have your drinking licence you apply to vary it by having a music licence then the cost of this is variable but can be four figures depending upon your local council.

Perhaps you would be good enough to name the locations where live music has started up. They can be added to the list of those that have closed down.

Hope that helps.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 28 Apr 06 - 11:12 AM

What happened the nationwide decimation of live music you were
predicting?


I missed replying to this first time around.

I am not aware of anyone predicting the decimation of music. I am aware of the Minister predicting an "explosion" of music and people saying it would not happen. Now, as far as I am aware it has not happened in Sheffield.

But clearly some sort of explosion has happened where you are. If it is a tiny village, explosion might be a good description. If it is a biog town - well - whimper might be better.

Once again I ask, tell us all about it!!


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 May 06 - 01:39 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall

Another example of inconsistency in the regulation of entertainment under the new Licensing Act:

A giant wooden elephant, which at over 40 tons weighs more than Nelson's column, begins a four-day trip through the streets of Westminster this morning (Thursday 4th May, 2006). The 'Sultan's Elephant Theatre Show' promises 'an enchanting world of larger than life puppets and quirky theatre':

http://www.viewlondon.co.uk/the-sultans-elephant-london-theatre-show_index.html
http://www.artichokeproductions.co.uk/sultans.htm

'A performance of a play' is one of the descriptions of entertainment in the Act (Sch.1, para 2(1)(a)). On the face of it, the 'quirky theatre' of the Sultan's Elephant procession would appear to be licensable entertainment. After all, the Act further defines the performance of a play as 'a performance of any dramatic piece, whether involving improvisation or not, - (a) which is given wholly or in part by one or more persons actually present and performing, and (b) in which the whole or a major proportion of what is done by the person or persons performing, whether by way of speech, singing or action, involves the playing of a role.' (Sch.1, para 14(1)).

So, one actor standing in the street reciting Shakespeare (or indeed story-telling in a pub) is a potential criminal offence unless his or her pitch is licensed for 'the performance of a play'.

By contrast, the Sultan's Elephant procession - a somewhat greater risk on safety and nuisance grounds (some might argue) - has escaped licensing by Westminster City Council on the basis that the entertainment is on moving floats, which fall within the exemption for entertainment on 'vehicles in motion' (Licensing Act 2003, Schedule 1, para 12).


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 May 06 - 01:42 PM

The Sultan's Elephant


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: DMcG
Date: 07 May 06 - 05:14 PM

A post on that link said "it involves a fifty foot elephant, a giant girl and a cast of hundreds."

Granted the fifty foot elephant and giant girl are on moving floats. Are all the cast of hundreds? If not, on what grounds are they exempt?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 07 May 06 - 06:17 PM

They are exempt for two reasons.

1. They are exempt on the grounds that they are incidental to the main (non-licensable)activity.

2. They are exempt because Westminster Council says so.

You know it is a load of round-spherical-objects and so do I and so do they. But let's keep plugging away at these councils - I have a couple of on-going queries at the moment with Sheffield.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 May 06 - 03:10 AM

I wish you better luck than I am having with mine.

Bridget Downton
Corporate Director
Weymouth and Portland Council Borough Council

19 April 2006

Dear Mr Gall

I write following your recent letter in response to the letter that I sent you after our recent meeting. I am also responding to you recent correspondence with Cllr Ames. I understand from colleagues in other councils that you have circulated the letter that I sent you nationally and I have seen correspondence where a part of that letter has been taken out of context. I am personally a big supporter of live music and do not wish to put unnecessary barriers in the way and I resent the implications that have been made to the contrary.

I consider that my licensing and legal teams took the opportunity of the new legislation to work hard with local licensees to ensure that they applied for appropriate licenses to cover all likely eventualities. Many local establishments took advantage of the new legislation to apply, at no extra charge, for a license that would cover them for live music and hence not have to worry about case law in the absence of clear guidance about incidental music.

I'm sorry to have to tell you that I have reached the same conclusion as my predecessor in that I feel it is not appropriate for me or my team to continue to converse with you on this subject. Both my team and I continue to be happy to provide advice, assistance and guidance to individual licensees on any matters but I am not prepared to continue this debate with you about the legislation.

Yours sincerely

Bridget Downton


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 08 May 06 - 03:53 AM

You mean like this?


With respect I now feel that I have dealt with this matter. The queries you raise should be properly made to the Department of Culture Media and Sport, the sponsoring Government Department for the 2003 Act. I now have to turn my mind to the problems associated with the enforcement of the legislation and the various complaints of nuisance and disorder that have been raised during the transition period by members of the public.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 May 06 - 10:41 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

James Purnell, formerly licensing minister at DCMS, has been appointed Minister for Pension Reform at the Department for Work and Pensions: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/aboutus/news/index.asp

John Hutton, Secretary of State at the DWP, welcomed Purnell and cited his 'great track record in government'.

Purnell was licensing minister for just short of a year (appointed 11 May 2005; departed 06 May 2006). On 29 June 2005, he said on BBC Radio 4 Today:

' ... I am very happy to come back in a year and discuss whether live music has improved or not.'

He may now be very happy that this will not happen.
It is not yet clear who replaces Purnell at DCMS.
ENDS

And

DCMS has confirmed that Shaun Woodward is the new minister with responsibility for alcohol and entertainment licensing:
http://www.culture.gov.uk/about_dcms/ministers/shaunwoodward.htm

Interesting to note, Woodward was a member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) when the Licensing Act was a Bill
.
The JCHR published five reports during 2002/3 criticising the live music reforms. Their reasons included risks to people's right to freedom of expression and discrimination against secular premises (because of the exemption for places of public religious worship).

In their fifth and final report, published on 21 July 2003, the JCHR wrongly concluded that the Act covers amplified and unamplified music in the same way (para 5.6). This basic mistake seems to have been the result of DCMS representations. The Act did not, and does not, treat live and recorded music equally.

During the licence conversion period in 2005, bars and restaurants were allowed to keep recorded sound systems automatically, but their automatic right to one or two live musicians was taken away. The exemption for broadcast entertainment (inevitably amplified), as against the potential requirement to licence even one unamplified musician, is another obvious example of unequal treatment.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 08 May 06 - 10:52 AM

Belper Carnival has been cancelled, due to organisers' confusion and police arse protection.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 May 06 - 11:48 AM

Any carnival procession with floats and moving vehicles shouldn't need permission - should they?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 May 06 - 12:03 PM

The following was posted by Bill Long - on the Action for Music list

As a point of interest: Charlbury Riverside Festival (Oxfordshire), a free to come event which, I think, would be in its fourth year this year, has been cancelled because the police or local authority (sorry, I'm not sure whom), has insisted on professional security. Volunteer stewards would not be good enough.

This as the result of an apparently mad man last year claiming to be an undercover cop beating some heads with a baton. I'm not clear, although the story was in the local Witney Gazette how much, if any, influence the licensing laws had on the decision, but I seem to have the impression that there was some involvement from the West Oxfordshire District Council. If I'm wrong, they have my apologies.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 08 May 06 - 06:37 PM

Worth listening to the interview on this page
http://www.riversidefestival.charlbury.com/news.htm

Clearly the problems of the Festival were not limited to things affected by licensing - BUT equally the man from the Council seems to be wrong too.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 May 06 - 05:24 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

Belper's annual carnival has been cancelled due to confusion over the new licensing regime.
See: http://tinyurl.com/g2ww8

Thanks to Roger Gall for this lead.

~ ~ ~

Similar confusion has also led Sheffield licensing department to consider whether all sports grounds in their area must be licensed for entertainment. On Sunday 30 April 2006 a Chinese Lion Dance was performed at half-time during Sheffield United's match against Crystal Palace (attendance 27,120). No licence authorising the performance of dance was in force - and there is no exemption for 'incidental dancing'.

Picture of the Lion Dance here (all part of celebrations for Sheffield's promotion to the Premier League): http://www.sufc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/MatchAction/0,,10418~823895,00.html

It is possible that Chinese Lion dancing could be deemed sufficiently similar to Morris dancing to qualify for the Morris dancing exemption. It would seem at this stage, however, that Sheffield's licensing department do not favour this interpretation. More on this story later.

~ ~ ~

Jazz gigs cancelled at Ray's Jazz in Foyle's bookshop, London

This message today from Paul Pace, singer, successful jazz gig promoter, and manager of Ray's Jazz:

'Sincere apologies to those who came to hear Ian Shaw perform with guitarist David Preston on Saturday at Ray's Jazz at Foyles. This event and the other in-store musical events booked during May were required to be cancelled at short notice due to licensing issues with Westminster Council. It is hoped that 'Entertainment Licensing' requirements will be deemed satisfactory and a programme of events re-established as soon as possible.
Paul Pace, Manager, Ray's Jazz at Foyles, Foyles Bookshop, 113-119 Charing Cross Road, London WC2 0EB'

~ ~ ~

But... Jowell praises Purnell

In another DCMS press release issued yesterday (08 May 2006), Tessa Jowell said:
"I would like to thank James Purnell for all his work over the last year, particularly on successfully implementing the Licensing Act and playing a key role in shaping the White Paper on the future of the BBC. I wish him well in his new role."

See: http://www.culture.gov.uk/global/press_notices/archive_2006/dcms_064.htm

This despite the recent strong criticism of the Act's implementation by a cross-party committee of MPs and the Better Regulation Commission. Almost all local authority licensing officers I have spoken to in the past few weeks have offered unprintable and disparaging comments about the quality of the legislation itself.

ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 May 06 - 11:29 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

Sheffield City Council has just issued a statement (below) about the unlicensed Chinese Lion Dance on the pitch at Sheffield United's match on 30 April 2006. The council is advising all their sports stadia to vary their premises licences to allow 'incidental' entertainment on the pitch. Licence fees are linked to rateable value of the premises.

The Bramall Road stadium is in the constituency of Richard Caborn MP, Minister for Sport.

Sheffield City Council statement issued 09 May 2006:

'PERFORMANCE OF LION DANCE AT BRAMALL LANE STADIUM, 30 APRIL 2006

ENDS

I really cannot see all the football grounds in the country applying and paying for a variation - so I think we can wave goodbye to the lion dance - thanks to the Licensing Act 2003. Unless all of the little celebratory jigs and sambas that players do after scoring a goal will also be judged as licensable?

'The terms of the new Licensing Act are less flexible than was the case previously. Under the new Act, regulated entertainment with certain exceptions requires a licence, but Morris dancing or dancing of a similar kind is exempt. Whether the Lion Dance could be viewed as falling under this exemption is a grey area that can ultimately only be tested in a court of law.

'So Sheffield City Council has taken the common sense approach of advising Sheffield United Football Club to apply to vary their licence to include all incidental entertainment on the pitch. This removes any question of doubt and we are recommending that all sports stadia do the same. The cost of the variation is dependent upon the rateable value of the premises.

'Steve Lonnia, Licensing General Section, Sheffield City Council'


Contrast that with statements made by Richard Caborn when he was licensing minister in a letter to the Joint Committee on Human Rights dated 30 June 2003:

'... In terms of its general impact, the [Licensing] Bill will therefore not present increased regulation but will instead involve a significant move towards greater simplicity, transparency and reduction in costs.'
'Scrutiny of Bills and Draft Bills: Further Progress Report', p25, 'Appendix 2: the Licensing Bill', JCHR 15th Report of 2002/3, 21 July 2003, HL 149, HC 1005, ISBN 0104002689.

PDF copy:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt200203/jtselect/jtrights/149/149.pdf


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 May 06 - 11:34 AM

I am sorry I cocked that up.

The following from Hamish Birchall.

Sheffield City Council has just issued a statement (below) about the unlicensed Chinese Lion Dance on the pitch at Sheffield United's match on 30 April 2006. The council is advising all their sports stadia to vary their premises licences to allow 'incidental' entertainment on the pitch. Licence fees are linked to rateable value of the premises.

The Bramall Road stadium is in the constituency of Richard Caborn MP, Minister for Sport.

Sheffield City Council statement issued 09 May 2006:

'PERFORMANCE OF LION DANCE AT BRAMALL LANE STADIUM, 30 APRIL 2006

'The terms of the new Licensing Act are less flexible than was the case previously. Under the new Act, regulated entertainment with certain exceptions requires a licence, but Morris dancing or dancing of a similar kind is exempt. Whether the Lion Dance could be viewed as falling under this exemption is a grey area that can ultimately only be tested in a court of law.

'So Sheffield City Council has taken the common sense approach of advising Sheffield United Football Club to apply to vary their licence to include all incidental entertainment on the pitch. This removes any question of doubt and we are recommending that all sports stadia do the same. The cost of the variation is dependent upon the rateable value of the premises.

'Steve Lonnia, Licensing General Section, Sheffield City Council'


Contrast that with statements made by Richard Caborn when he was licensing minister in a letter to the Joint Committee on Human Rights dated 30 June 2003:

'... In terms of its general impact, the [Licensing] Bill will therefore not present increased regulation but will instead involve a significant move towards greater simplicity, transparency and reduction in costs.'
'Scrutiny of Bills and Draft Bills: Further Progress Report', p25, 'Appendix 2: the Licensing Bill', JCHR 15th Report of 2002/3, 21 July 2003, HL 149, HC 1005, ISBN 0104002689.

PDF copy:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt200203/jtselect/jtrights/149/149.pdf

ENDS

I really cannot see all the football grounds in the country applying and paying for a variation - so I think we can wave goodbye to the lion dance - thanks to the Licensing Act 2003. Unless all of the little celebratory jigs and sambas that players do after scoring a goal will also be judged as licensable?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 May 06 - 05:58 PM

Anyone interested in this issue could take a look at:

thread.cfm?threadid=91359&messages=10


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 May 06 - 02:04 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall

Ticket-holders for tonight's recording of Top of the Pops are being turned away from the studio at Television Centre in London. BBC bosses today appealed to BBC staff, including Radio 5 presenters, to make up the live audience.

This follows legal advice provided last night to the BBC confirming that TOTP, and some other programmes using live audiences, will require licensing under the new Licensing Act. The BBC had been in discussions with the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham since an open-air concert on 15 April by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

A BBC spokesperson confirmed that the Corporation will now submit a premises licence application to the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. This process is likely to take some weeks. Several TOTP recordings will be affected.

More coverage likely in tomorrow's Times and other national newspapers.

~ ~ ~

Last Sunday, 7th May, Roger Daltrey performed before and after Arsenal's last match at Highbury. This was widely advertised on the web.

A spokesperson for Islington council subsequently confirmed that Arsenal does not have a premises licence that allows entertainment in the stadium. They added:

'Under the terms of their Safety At Sports Grounds certification, we can allow them to have licensable entertainment on a match day that is incidental to the game. We worked with Arsenal and agreed a programme of entertainment that suited the theme the club wanted for the day whilst fitting the criteria set out for the SASG Act."

The Safety at Sports Ground Act 1975 does indeed require that all activities in designated sports grounds must be certified as safe, but according to licensing lawyers, this does not exempt regulated entertainment from licensing under the Licensing Act. It was unclear whether the council regarded Daltrey's performance as 'incidental music' under the Act, and therefore exempt. When pressed on this question they declined to provide further comment.

They did, however, confirm that the playing of recorded music at the stadium was allowed since this was carried forward automatically as a 'grandfather right' during last year's licence conversion. Interestingly, the club's licence for alcohol applies to the whole premises, even though it is illegal to sell alcohol within sight of the pitch.
-----

Rowena Smith, manager of The Old China Hand bar in Clerkenwell, said that Islington council advised her that the jazz duos she had been providing weekly until last November would not qualify for the incidental exemption. The gig was cancelled, and has still not been reinstated.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 May 06 - 02:07 PM

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4762783.stm


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 May 06 - 02:11 PM

A Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokesperson said the situation was not down to new laws.

She said: "Some types of entertainment in front of public audiences have needed to be licensed since at least 1963 in London and 1982 in the rest of the country.

"The Licensing Act 2003 has not changed that. Whether or not a licence is required in any particular set of circumstances is rightly a matter for the local licensing authority."


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: DMcG
Date: 11 May 06 - 02:33 PM

... the situation was not down to new laws. Some types of entertainment in front of public audiences have needed to be licensed since at least 1963 in London

So is she saying the council has been neglecting its responsibilities for the past fourty years? What other things apart from the new laws have caused it to be reviwed now?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 12 May 06 - 05:27 AM

"The Licensing Act 2003 has not changed that. Whether or not a licence is required in any particular set of circumstances is rightly a matter for the local licensing authority."

So is she saying the council has been neglecting its responsibilities for the past fourty years?

Not at all. What she is saying is that they have made a total set of round spherical objects of all this and they are anxious to pass the blame onto the local authority as quickly as possible.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 May 06 - 05:37 AM

It was illegal when old Feargal was a regular performer then?

The current chairman of the DCMS Live Music Forum was involved in unlicensed performances and there is TV evidence for this?

RESIGN!


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: DMcG
Date: 12 May 06 - 05:46 AM

Another thing I am doubtful about is the BBC's temporary solution to this being to ask their staff if they want to attend as a "fake" public audience. It seems to me a very grey area whether staff of the BBC are any less a public audience. True, they are being paid to attend, which a reversal of the usual position when attending a performance, but they are not involved in the producing the show any more than any other member of the public would be.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Barden of England
Date: 12 May 06 - 06:36 AM

Exactly my thoughts DMcG. The act states 'audience' and it matters not one jot if the 'audience' is paid to be there, it's still an audience. As I've said before- there's one rule for them and another for us.
John Barden


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 May 06 - 08:43 AM

Listen Again to BBC Radio 4 You and Yours.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/youandyours/transcripts_spring06.shtml

A piece on the mistakes and delays to licensing applications and Westminster Council's reasons for this.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 May 06 - 09:17 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

This morning's BBC Radio 4 Today programme covered the TOTP story. It is also covered in The Times:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2176807.html>a href=>http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2176807.html

The entertainment licensing requirement was described by Today presenter Jim Naughtie as a 'fandango'. But the general tone was light-hearted and shed no light on the underlying issues, in particular on the question of what is private (exempt) and public (licensable) under the new law.

The BBC news website included this comment from DCMS which also avoided the key question:

"Some types of entertainment in front of public audiences have needed to be licensed since at least 1963 in London and 1982 in the rest of the country. The Licensing Act 2003 has not changed that. Whether or not a licence is required in any particular set of circumstances is rightly a matter for the local licensing authority."

See: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4762783.stm

In fact most public music and dancing has been illegal unless licensed in England since 1752. The law and the courts ultimately determine whether or not a licence is required. Local authorities have some discretion in enforcing the law. If an offence has been committed they must decide whether or not it is in the public interest to prosecute.

Experts in licensing law, and officials at Westminster and Hammersmith & Fulham councils have repeatedly told me that the new Licensing Act is obscure and confusing. This lack of clarity meant that council legal officers were forced to look to case law going back to 1991 and 1961 when deciding if the Coldplay Abbey Road gig and TOTP should be licensed. In both cases the public audience were free ticket-holders. It would seem that Lunn v Colston-Hayter, 1991, is the precedent that suggests such free ticketing arrangements may not be sufficient segregation to qualify as a private event for licensing purposes.

However, during the past 40 years local authorities have rarely enforced entertainment licensing at private events in bars, clubs or restaurants where members of the public could not just walk in off the street.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 May 06 - 05:58 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall

Henry Lowther is one of the UK's leading trumpeters. His long and distinguished CV spans five decades. See:
http://www.jazztrumpet.co.uk/henrylowther/henrylowther.html

Yesterday Henry emailed an impassioned letter to Musicians' Union General Secretary John Smith. It concerned gigs Henry and fellow musicians have recently lost due to licensing problems in a Regent's Park venue. He criticises the MU for its 'lacklustre performance' on this issue over the last two years. The reply from Mr Smith was brief and almost off-hand. There is no suggestion of personal moral support or empathy, nor any clue about the Union's view on licensing generally. Disappointed at this response, Henry has copied this exchange to me and given permission for it to be circulated as widely as possible.

NB: It is true that public entertainment licences as such no longer exist - but a premises licence authorising entertainment is the same in all but name.

~ ~ ~
From: Henry Lowther
Sent: Thu 11/05/2006 16:14
To: John Smith
Subject: Public Entertainment Licence

Dear John,

In connection with the Musician's Union's recent survey and request for information regarding the effects of the new Public Entertainment Licence (PEL) on musician's interests, I'm writing to inform you of a blatant example of why this legislation is so damaging and unnecessary.

Last year I had the good fortune to be asked to play with a quartet on a regular basis in the Garden Cafe in The Regent's Park. This was for two mid-week late afternoons/early evenings per week for a period of three months, about 30 gigs in total. It was a delightful experience for all the musicians involved. We usually played outdoors, received generous and friendly hospitality and a good fee. The company who run the cafe, Caper Green, were delighted with the way it went (and so were the cafe's customers) and then invited us to play indoors for four Sunday afternoons prior to Christmas. At this time the overall manager for the company said he would like us to play again throughout the summer of this year, commencing at Easter, possibly three times a week and also maybe have us play in some of their other cafes. (Caper Green also run cafes in other Royal Parks and the cafe at Kenwood and will also be running the restaurant in the newly refurbished Roundhouse when it opens.) As you can see, all of this would amount to a significant amount of work for four musicians.

Unfortunately, so far this year, this has all come to nought because of the necessity for a PEL. Caper Green have, through their solicitors, applied for a PEL for the restaurant in the Hub, a new sports facility in The Regent's Park but are finding dealing with Westminster City Council complicated, difficult and time consuming. "It's a nightmare," were the manager's words to me. Among other things Westminster City Council wish, for some unknown reason, to impose a limit of no more than three musicians. It would seem that, in this instance, the "Two in a Bar Rule" has been replaced by a "Three in a Bar Rule". I didn't realise that they were able to stipulate in this way. All of this totally contradicts the DCMS's claim that obtaining a PEL would be easy.

Prior to the implementation of this legislation, Royal Parks, being Crown land, were exempt from the necessity of a music licence but are now required to obtain a PEL in order to engage musicians. Why? If the system worked before why shouldn't it work now? This is just yet another example among many of the total illogicality and stupidity of this bill. In the meantime the musicians involved are losing at least £200 or £300 a week in income, possibly more, with no possibility of compensation for loss of earnings. In addition the public are losing an opportunity of hearing good music in a pleasant environment.

Over the last couple of years I have been disappointed and unhappy with the Musicians' Union's lacklustre performance in this matter and with what seems to me to be an apathetic response to the Government during the passage of this Bill through Parliament. After some brief lobbying and campaigning about three years ago it would appear that the Union has now rolled over and allowed the Government to tickle its tummy, swayed by a few minor concessions and exemptions and a more than unlikely empty promise to review the situation after a couple of years. By then so much damage will already have been done and if the Government wouldn't listen to objections before, why should we believe that they would in the future?

The fact that the new licensing regulations don't require pubs, etc. to have a licence for them to present large screen televised sport or to play often loud background music is nothing less than a major concession to large corporate interests. Instead, this Government has chosen to regulate the performances of mostly minority and increasingly marginalised forms of music. Small venues, pubs, private premises, etc. who wish to present jazz, folk, improvised, experimental or avant-garde music are now in the almost Stalinesque position of having to seek permission from the State to do so and many of them simply don't have either the financial or organisational recourses to deal with it.

Up until the last couple of years I've always paid my Musicians' Union subscriptions in the highest band for over thirty-five years and was always happy to support the Union's financial contributions to the Labour Party. Now, however, I resent the fact that any portion of my subscriptions should go towards supporting the Party that is responsible for this abhorrent legislation. Moreover I feel that the Musician' Union should have withdrawn its financial donations to the Labour Party two or three years ago in disgust and to have disaffiliated.

Yours in despair,

Henry Lowther

~ ~ ~

Response from Musicians' Union General Secretary John Smith:

From: John Smith
To: Henry Lowther
Sent: Thursday, May 11, 2006 4:26 PM
Subject: RE: Public Entertainment Licence


Dear Henry

Thanks for this. Of course PELs no longer exist, so the venue needs a Premises Licence which allows Entertainment. There is a Live Music Forum meeting at the DCMS tomorrow and I will copy your email to its Chair Feargal Sharkey, who will, no doubt, follow it up. I'll also copy it to our London Regional Office and ask them to talk to the venue and the Licensing Authority.

As for the Labour Party, the affiliation is a decision of the Union's conference and neither I nor the Executive Committee can overule that decision. The next conference is in July 2007 - maybe someone should propose a motion, through their Region to the effect that the MU ends its affiliation. Conference can then decide.

John F. Smith
General Secretary, Musicians' Union


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 12 May 06 - 08:53 PM

It used to be the case that TOTP was produced with artists miming to recordings of their songs.

If this is still the case, then no license should be required whatever the audience may be.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 13 May 06 - 08:59 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 May 06 - 09:18 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall

Another TOTP licensing article, this time from yesterday's Independent (Fri 12 May 2006):

http://news.independent.co.uk/media/article364314.ece
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Perhaps broadcasters should relocate to Camden. A statement released yesterday by Camden's press office suggests a more liberal interpretation of the Licensing Act:

'Camden Licensing Authority has considered the enquiry from MTV for the Hawley Crescent [studio], and based on the information supplied we do not consider this premises to need a Premises Licence under the Licensing Act 2003. Licensable Activities under the Act are the sale of alcohol, regulated entertainment and late night refreshment. In the case of MTV the only licensable activity that could apply is regulated entertainment. The Act defines regulated entertainment as entertainment provided to members of the public or a section of the public, or for consideration with a view to profit.
'MTV have stated that no members of the public will be admitted to the entertainment, and the audience will be made up from pre-invited guests who are given a ticket. MTV is making no charge for these tickets, and the tickets will be given away to competition winners. Therefore Camden Licensing Authority does not consider the entertainment at MTVs studios to be regulated entertainment, and no licence is required.

'In the case of the LB Hammersmith and Fulham issue with Tops of the Pops, the event is not private, as tickets are available to anyone who applies for them, therefore the entertainment is public and licensable under the Licensing Act 2003.'

----------------------------------------------------------------------
This position could be based on a misunderstanding, however. MTV's ticket allocation process is the same as the BBC's for the Coldplay gig at Abbey Road (13 Feb), and for the Red Hot Chili Peppers recording for TOTP (15 April) - free tickets given away to competition winners. See this Coldplay website where the small print states that the call cost of entering the free ticket competition went to BBC Children in Need:

http://www.coldplaying.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=1299

http://mycoldplay.com/home/?m=200601 (scroll down)


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 May 06 - 10:59 AM

See:

thread.cfm?threadid=91483&messages=2


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Bert
Date: 15 May 06 - 11:58 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

During a House of Lords debate on the arts last week (Thursday 11 May 2006), Lord Colwyn spoke up for jazz, and against the new licensing laws:

'Another restriction on the performance of jazz is the shambles created by the new licensing legislation.'

For his full speech, see:

here


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Jun 06 - 11:08 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

'The Government wants your help in tackling unnecessary regulation', says the Better Regulation Executive.

'We want to receive practical proposals for regulatory simplification from business, the voluntary and community sectors, public sector front line staff and any of their representatives.'

See: http://www.betterregulation.gov.uk/

The downloadable guidance includes this caveat:

'The Government recognises that some regulations are required in order to provide necessary protections such as to employees or the environment. We will consider simplifying these regulations, for example by removing duplication, but not at a cost to those being protected.'

Interestingly, later this year new fire safety legislation should come into force that will explicitly disapply fire safety conditions imposed on premises licences under the Licensing Act. This is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, originally due to come into force 1st April 2006, now deferred to 1st October 2006:
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2005/20051541.htm

Responsibility for fire safety will reside exclusively with the fire service and whoever counts as the 'responsible person' at the venue making the appropriate risk assessments. Local authority involvement in fire safety through licensing will end. Given that existing safety law already allows both the fire service and environmental health officers to address most, if not all, risks arising from live music (including safe capacities), it is hard to see how any safety condition imposed via the Licensing Act would not duplicate what is already available.

This no doubt why, in terms of the licensing objectives, DCMS now only cites noise as the rationale for abolishing the 'two in a bar rule'.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Jun 06 - 05:19 AM

Yesterday (5 June 2006) the following questions were asked in Parliament.

Mr. Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich, West) (Lab/Co-op): What assessment she has made of the impact of the Licensing Act 2003.

Mr. Malcolm Moss (North-East Cambridgeshire) (Con): Will not the public think it completely barmy, if typical of this incompetent Government, that a pub needs a licence for one or two musicians in the bar but does not need one to show World cup matches on big screens to hundreds of inebriated supporters? Will the Secretary of State tell us just how much taxpayers' money is being used on extra policing, under the alcohol misuse enforcement campaign, in order to massage the crime and disorder figures associated with showing World cup matches?

Bob Russell (Colchester) (LD): What her policy is for the promotion of English folk dance and song.



The answers can be seen on the following.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmhansrd/cm060605/debtext/60605-0337.htm


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Jun 06 - 08:24 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

With the 2006 World Cup about to start, it is perhaps a good time to consider that overworked metaphor 'level playing field' and the implications for live music.

Only this week the press office for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, told me that licensing reform creates a level playing field for all musicians.

This is nonsense, of course. I tried to explain to them that a) during last year's transition period the new Act automatically allowed bars and restaurants converting their old alcohol licence to keep the right to play recorded music (using DJs) while removing the exemption for one or two live musicians - at a stroke that tilted the playing field steeply against live music; b) the broadcast entertainment exemption obviously discriminates against live performers.

DCMS press office would have none of it. They claimed that they had merely set out 'government policy', adding:

'... as Richard Caborn told Parliament on July 8 2003: "Let me deal with the two-in-a-bar argument from the Musicians Union. Before we published the White Paper, the union told us that it needed a level playing field for live music, with permission to hold music events that involved any number in pubs and restaurants at low cost. We have delivered what the Musicians Union requested."'

But this is just more tosh.

Firstly, what the Musicians' Union may or may not have requested years ago is irrelevant to the question about whether or not the new Licensing Act actually creates a level playing field for all musicians. Secondly, Richard Caborn was being disingenuous. The licensing White Paper was published on 10 April 2000. Whatever the MU position had been prior to that date, by August 2000 a new position was being set out publicly by former general secretary Dennis Scard.

'Dennis Scard, general secretary of the Musicians' Union, is lobbying the government to rule that the new licences will automatically allow live music.' [Time Out, 'The late late-licensing show', Ruth Bloomfield, August 16-23, 2000, p14]

If live music were automatically allowed, that means not 'low cost' but no cost. As we now know, the 'cost nothing extra' claims of ministers have been proved false for many licensees.

In his statement of 8 July 2003, Caborn also forgot to mention that only three months before, the MU, Arts Council and music industry had backed a Conservative amendment to the then Licensing Bill which would have exempted small venues from licensing for live music. That was shot down by the government using a quote from a senior police officer that live music 'brings people from outside that community and having no connection locally behave in a way that is inappropriate, criminal and disorderly'.

Throughout the Licensing Bill's passage through Parliament, November 2002 to July 2003, Culture ministers issued dire warnings about the need to licence live music on public safety, crime and disorder grounds. Panic tactics, in short, intended in part at least to stiffen the spine of wavering Labour backbenchers. And now these deceitful reasons for abolishing the two musician exemption have been quietly dropped. Even the remaining noise justification is rubbish: local authorities and the police have plenty of legislation to regulate noisy premises.

What does this year's World Cup have in store for licensing ministers? Reliable sources suggest that DMCS press office has conducted a 'war cabinet' by way of preparation.
ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Jun 06 - 11:06 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

Live music, criminality and the entertainment licence exemption for broadcast entertainment:

'... A mass brawl involving around 200 people broke out at Canary Wharf in London where up to 6,000 people were watching an outdoor screening of England's 1-0 defeat of Paraguay. At about the same time, trouble broke out in front of a big screen in Liverpool city centre with fans hurling missiles.'
['In Germany, England fans enjoy the party. At home, there's a mass brawl', Andrew Culf, The Guardian, p9, Monday 12 June 2006]

~ ~ ~
'Live music always acts as a magnet in whatever community it is being played. It brings people from outside that community and having no connection locally behave in a way that is inappropriate, criminal and disorderly'.
[Letter from Association of Chief Police Officers' president Chris Fox to Tessa Jowell, 02 July 2003, opposing an entertainment licence exemption for live music in small venues, a position that was supported by the government during Parliamentary debate.]

ENDS
http://football.guardian.co.uk/worldcup2006/story/0,,1795474,00.html

AND

http://media.guardian.co.uk/site/story/0,,1795853,00.html


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 12 Jun 06 - 11:19 AM

In Birmingham, according to the Sunday Times, they switched the Big Screen to tennis and told the fans to go in to the pubs.

Errrr...................the police told people to go into the pubs so trouble could be avoided?

Looks like the world is upside down again.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 05:01 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

Following mass brawls in Liverpool and Canary Wharf during big screenings of England's match against Paraguay last Saturday, the BBC has cancelled its big screenings of the World Cup:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/5073434.stm

The Sunday Times of 12 June reported the violence in Liverpool and Canary wharf, but also apparently trouble-free screenings in Manchester, Leeds, Cambridge and Hull:

'Eight thousand fans packed into Manchesters Exchange Square. Before the match they were entertained by a karaoke of soccer anthems and a live interactive football game. Aiden Hooson, 14, a Manchester City fan, said: The atmosphere is far better than sitting in the house. The happy scenes were repeated in Leeds, Cambridge and Hull as fans sang Three Lions with its refrain Footballs coming homeand jumped in the air as one when England scored.'

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,176-2220281,00.html

Perhaps the music helped:

Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast,
To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.

William Congreve 1670-1729, The Mourning Bride

NB: I am waiting to hear from Manchester City Council whether Exchange Square has a premises licence authorising the performance of live music and the playing of recorded music.
ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 05:57 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall

This Thursday, 15 June 2006, Lord Addington will ask the government a question along these lines:

'Is Her Majesty's Government satisfied that the police and local authorities have adequate powers to regulate crime, disorder, public safety and public nuisance at premises or open spaces where World Cup matches are shown on large screens for the entertainment of the public?'

A Home Office minister is to reply. The answer should be interesting, and may have implications for musicians arguing for an alleviation of licensing requirements for small-scale gigs in bars.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Also, Lord Clement-Jones yesterday tabled these questions for written answer. Replies should come within three weeks:

To ask Her Majestys Government whether, following the outdoor performance of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on the BBCs Top of the Pops programme on 15th April, they will amend Schedule 1 to the Licensing Act 2003 to clarify the distinction between public entertainment that is licensable and private entertainment that is not licensable. (HL6247)

To ask Her Majestys Government what proportion of licensed premises in England and Wales that did not previously hold an entertainment licence now have authorisation for the performance of live music. (HL6248)

To ask Her Majestys Government on what basis they assess that there is a flourishing live music scene in bars and restaurants. (HL6249)

To ask Her Majestys Government what powers under the Licensing Act 2003 have been used to close down licensed premises with a history of disorder and to prevent some licensed premises from screening games involving the England football team during the 2006 World Cup. (HL6250)

To ask Her Majestys Government how many licensed premises with a history of disorder have been closed down or prevented from screening games involving the England football team during the 2006 World Cup under the Licensing Act 2003 before the beginning of the tournament on 9th June. (HL6251)
ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Jun 06 - 07:59 AM

The following From Hamish Birchall.

Writing about the Licensing Act on page 9 of the latest issue of Musician, the in-house journal for Musicians' Union members, General Secretary John Smith says:

'We do believe there is a marked drop in live music in smaller venues, especially the ones that previously benefited from the "two or fewer performers' exemption under the old PEL system...'

This important and worrying finding is rather incongruously located beneath a large photograph of the General Secretary beaming congenially at the reader. He adds, however, that 'intense discussions with DCMS are taking place over these issues' and responds to an apparently 'small minority of members' who believe the union kow-towed to the government and lack a coherent policy on the Licensing Act. According to Mr Smith, the policy recently 're-considered' by the Executive Committee is clear, and includes:

'A pragmatic acceptance of the position we are now in - the Act is the law and we have to operate within its confines.'
'Adopting a "wait and see' position until the full impact of the Act is clear'.


The union will also commission more research of its own 'to complement the DCMS research'.

On key points this policy will fail the majority of members whose employment opportunities will diminish as a result of the Act. Firstly, the 'confines' of the new law for live music are unclear and open to legal challenge; secondly, if the union already knows there has been a 'marked drop' in gigs, what is it waiting for?

Where local authorities adopt interpretations that unnecessarily restrict members' employment surely the union has a responsibility to its members to do what it can to challenge such interpretations? What about licence conditions that deter venues from hosting live music? One common condition is the requirement to install and set up a noise limiter, which can cost around £2k. Unless the venue implements the condition, having live music is illegal. But the local authority could have issued a pre-emptive noise abatement notice under s.80 of the Environmental Protection Act, which allows the venue to propose its own measures to limit the noise. In most cases that would suffice, and would be a more proportionate process than an all-or-nothing £2k licence condition. The union could and should consider challenging such conditions in the courts on the basis that they are disproportionately restricting members' exercising their right to freedom of expression. The law requires that, where possible, all legislation must be interpreted compatibly with this right. Setting a precedent in favour of live music would have national significance.

Elsewhere in the magazine, under the headline 'State of the Nation' (p6), Assistant General Secretary Horace Trubridge is quoted:

'... This area [i.e. the Licensing Act] will continue to be a key priority for the Union until we are satisfied that our members' work opportunities, along with their health and safety, are at least being maintained and, ideally, improved by last year's changes.'

The implication that licensing and musicians' safety are inseparable is mistaken and reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the law. It also suggests a shift from the Union's position when the Act was a Bill back in 2003. The safety risks associated with live music in bars or any other workplace are addressed by separate legislation irrespective of licensing. The MU and Arts Council employed an expert in safety and licensing law to brief members of the House of Lords explicitly on this point back in 2003.

And the implication that licensing might cease to be a key priority for the Union if the existing gig level is maintained is, frankly, ludicrous. The live music campaign drew its strength from the widespread view among musicians that existing performance opportunities were woefully inadequate.
ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST,fvf
Date: 16 Jun 06 - 08:01 AM

fvfvdfv d v


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Jun 06 - 02:25 PM

Show of hand - Roots - What a track


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: vectis
Date: 16 Jun 06 - 03:14 PM

Good old Lord Clement-Jones. I await his responses with interest but little hope of change for the better.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Jun 06 - 06:31 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

There have been rumours lately of a licensing clampdown on South Bank buskers. Sure enough, Southwark Council's licensing department confirmed today that they require buskers to apply for a Temporary Event Notice under the new licensing laws. This despite the difficulty of providing a precise address for the busking location, and despite the fact that only 12 such permits are allowed per year per premises (total annual cost to the busker: £252).

South Bank buskers could therefore face criminal prosecution if they do not obtain a Temporary Event Notice in advance. Max penalty: £20,000 fine and six months in prison.

One busker, who asked not to be named, said that this is the first time they have run into serious difficulty. Until the new licensing laws came into force, entertainment licensing did not apply to public land, and busking was specifically regulated through local by-laws or not at all. The police would intervene sometimes on the grounds of obstruction; noise complaints were dealt with under the Environmental Protection Act. Under the new law 'premises' is defined as 'any place', which includes public or private land, as well as streets and pavements.

By contrast with the new licensing restrictions for South Bank buskers, on Saturday 17 June over 400 musician members of the armed forces performed live music for the Trooping the Colour ceremony in The Mall and Horse Guards Parade. No licence was issued under the Licensing Act 2003.

A spokesman for Westminster City Council explained that this particular performance was exempt because s.173 the Act exempts the military, and - wait for it - because it was incidental music. The incidental exemption may not be persuasive in this case, but the s.173 claim is arguable:

'An activity is not a licensable activity if it is carried on - (f) at premises which, at the time when the activity is carried on, are permanently or temporarily occupied for the purposes of the armed forces of the Crown'. [Licensing Act 2003, Part 9, s.173(1)(f)]


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Jun 06 - 06:51 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

Yesterday, Thursday 22 June 2006, the government published revised statutory Guidance for the new Licensing Act. See this DCMS press release:
http://www.culture.gov.uk/global/press_notices/archive_2006/dcms090_06.htm

Significantly, ministers are no longer claiming that the new legislation is 'much better' for live music. "The new licensing laws have been in place for six months. But it's still too soon to draw any conclusions. We will continue to monitor the impact the Act throughout this year and beyond," said Mr Woodward.

Of course it is not too early to draw conclusions. The government should now know the proportion of bars and restaurants that do not have a live music authorisation. These places are limited to 12 gigs a year under the temporary licence scheme and 'incidental music'. Most of these have the 'grandfather right' to play recorded music, which would include using DJs. They can also provide unlimited broadcast entertainment, no matter how powerfully amplified. For the licensee in such venues, obtaining the necessary permission to host more live music will be a more complex and often more expensive process than it was under the old entertainment licensing regime.

Shaun Woodward says it's too early to draw conclusions, but earlier this month Musicians' Union General Secretary John Smith reported a 'marked drop in live music in smaller venues, especially the ones that previously benefited from the "two or fewer performers" exemption'. He added that the union was 'attempting to clarify the position in London'.

A DCMS summary of the proposed Licensing Guidance changes or additions can be found here:
http://www.culture.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/C1056CF9-F361-4FDE-BC11-7F9B1161A6A9/0/Suppguidance_section182_June06.pdf

The Live Music Forum has been debating the 'incidental music' exemption for some weeks, but this is not addressed in the proposed changes. There is a significant recommendation that noise limiter licence conditions, which can be expensive, should be avoided unless other noise reduction measures have failed. But there is no mention of the fact that noise abatement notices, issued under the Environmental Protection Act, achieve the same result. In short, noise restricting licence conditions could unlawfully duplicate provision available under separate legislation.

In April, Westminster City Council imposed a noise limiter condition AND a 3-performer limit on The Hub, a brand new restaurant and sports changing facility in Regents Park. This was one of two Regents Park venues that top UK trumpeter, Henry Lowther, had hoped to perform in over the summer. The other venue, the Garden Cafe - run by the same company - has not so far applied for a live music authorisation, perhaps because of its tortuous experience of licensing at The Hub. Under the old regime neither venue would have needed an entertainment licence, because Crown land was exempt.

Following Mr Lowther's public complaint to the MU General Secretary about the loss of these gigs, he received a letter from a London MU official who claimed to have made a 'thorough investigation'.

This official had obtained a copy of the Minutes of the licensing hearing for The Hub. These did not set out or imply the licensing objective justifying the 3-performer condition. Despite this, the official concluded that it was to do with the health and safety of MU members, adding 'The Musicians' Union understand that 4 or more musicians performing are better than three. However, we are also concerned for the health and welfare of our members and can find no argument that might find us in opposition to such conditions.' End of MU investigation.

In fact, when Westminster's press office was subsequently asked what licensing objective was served by the 3-performer limit, they quickly confirmed it was not to do with public safety but was a 'public nuisance' condition. They added that it had been proposed by the venue - which was technically correct. But the venue's original application submitted in February did not mention the number of performers. According to Westminster's licensing department the application received objections from local residents. Under pressure, council officers appear to have negotiated a compromise with the venue's solicitor just prior to the licence hearing.

Are such noise conditions reasonable? Could a 3-performer limit ever be reasonable? The Hub is about half a kilometre from the nearest house, and the area where the musicians could perform is underground: the ground floor changing area is buried in an earth mound, while the first floor restaurant has a clear view across the park:
http://www.royalparks.gov.uk/parks/regents_park/hub/thehub.cfm

Mr Lowther has now written back to the MU asking what action they now propose to take in light of this new information.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Jun 06 - 07:52 AM

The following from the revised Guidance.

Annex G -
Noise and vibration
Change 1ST bullet point

"noise or vibration does not emanate from the premises so as to cause a nuisance to nearby properties. This might be achieved by a simple requirement to keep doors and windows at the premises closed, or to use noise limiters on amplification equipment used at the premises;"

to

"noise or vibration does not emanate from the premises so as to cause a nuisance to nearby properties. This might be achieved by one or more of the following conditions:
a simple requirement to keep doors and windows at the premises closed;
limiting live music to a particular area of the building;
moving the location and direction of speakers away from external walls or walls that abut private premises;
installation of acoustic curtains;
fitting of rubber seals to doorways;
installation of rubber speaker mounts;
requiring the licensee to take measure to ensure that music will not be audible above background level at the nearest noise sensitive location;
require licensee to undertake routine monitoring to ensure external levels of music are not excessive and take appropriate action where necessary;
noise limiters on amplification equipment used at the premises (if other measures have been unsuccessful).

In determining which conditions are necessary and appropriate, licensing authorities should be aware of the need to avoid unnecessary or disproportionate measures that could deter the holding of events that are valuable to the community, such as live music.
Noise limiters, for example, are very expensive to purchase and install and are likely to be a considerable burden for smaller venues."


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 25 Jun 06 - 09:38 AM

Southwark Council's licensing department confirmed today that they require buskers to apply for a Temporary Event Notice under the new licensing laws. This despite the difficulty of providing a precise address for the busking location, and despite the fact that only 12 such permits are allowed per year per premises (total annual cost to the busker: £252).

I thought it might be nice to support the buskers. Especially since the government specifically said in the run up to the Act that busking would not be affected.

So I have written to Southwark Council asking when various events on their website applied for and were granted licences. You often find councils have not licensed streets for parades for example. Interestingly they have a huge event in September which will need a licence on the area between Westminster Bridge and Tower Bridge which may be the area where they are asking buskers to have licences.

See:


Can I suggest anyone else who believes this Act is iniquitous, and who finds it strange that it needs 186 pages of guidance six months after coming into being to likewise use the Freedom of Information Act creatively.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 25 Jun 06 - 09:42 AM

Noise and vibration etc.......

Meanwhile large screen TV´s and juke boxes can be played as loud as they like with windows wide open and the remedy is only in the Noise Abatement Act. Fine, but why is this act not considered sufficient for live music?

Answers to Tessa Jowell DCMS.

Best regards,

Dave Eyre


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: pavane
Date: 26 Jun 06 - 04:31 AM

Are the councils themselves limited in the number of Temporary Event licences they can obtain in the year?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 26 Jun 06 - 09:30 AM

I am not a lawyer and do not purport to give legal advice. (Disclaimer).

Having said that, as I understand it the limit on TEN´s for a venue is twelve per year.

For personal licence holders it is 50 per year and for non-personal licence holders, 5 per year.

Section 107 0f the Licensing Act. 2003.

In the old days a morris team like Sheffield City Morris would have a ceilidh or two each year and apply for an occasional licence via the Magistrates Court. The process is simplified (written rather than requiring attendance for example)and we could have five rather than four - but if we wanted to we could have the squire, bagman, secretary etc apply.

There are a number of possible problems with TEN´s: they are limited to 499 people; limited to 96 hours; and a venue can only have twelve. A village hall might have loads of licensable events, which means they need a "permanent" licence.

HTH

Dave


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: pavane
Date: 26 Jun 06 - 11:16 AM

I assume, then, that Southwark council's 'huge event' also could not be covered by a TEN!


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 26 Jun 06 - 01:05 PM

As anyone who has asked questions of the local councils they are a law unto themselves on licensing matters. So the answer to your question is no it could not, legally.

However "legally" did not stop Sheffield City Council calling a whole variety of dances (belly dancing, line dancing, ballroom dancing) "similar to Morris dancing" and then letting them go ahead with amplified music. Not legal and they knew it!.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Jun 06 - 12:05 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall

The government has replied to Lord Clement-Jones' licensing questions tabled on 12 June 2006. See below for the Hansard extracts.

Points to note

Pubs/football: from the minister's answer it is clear that, irrespective of licensing, there is more than enough legislation to deal with noise and disorder. And the minister didn't mention powers available to local authorities under the Environmental Protection Act to confiscate noisy equipment immediately, and to issue pre-emptive or reactive noise abatement notices. In 2002 Camden council closed a West End show, Umoja, using a noise abatement notice. One resident's complaint was enough.

On 8th May 2006 the Home Office announced the 4th Alcohol Misuse Enforcement Campaign. Newspapers headlines promised a crackdown on problem pubs in the run-up to the World Cup. Strangely, the government now appears to have no information about the number of pubs that have been closed down or prevented from screening such matches as a result of enforcement under the new Licensing Act.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Top of the Pops: licensing of the BBC studios depended on whether, under the new legislation, the live studio audience arrangements rendered the event public. Under the old legislation it was understood that free tickets allocated to the public meant that such studio recordings private (and not for profit) and therefore exempt. The government says is not aware of any evidence that the Act is unclear. Perhaps they don't know that Camden council appears to be interpreting the Act differently by allowing MTV to arrange studio audiences in the same way for their Hawley Crescent studio without a premises licence.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

It is ironic that the government should suggest that any amendments to the Act must be 'evidence based'. They abolished the 'two in a bar rule' on noise grounds, but never provided any research to suggest that it was a problem. Indeed, all the evidence that existed pointed to noisy punters outside licensed premises as the source of most complaints.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Proportion of new live music authorisations in licensed premises: the government doesn't know the answer, but will attempt to find out later this year. Strange again. They could have found out within weeks of the Act coming into force by checking a representative sample of new premises licences and comparing them with the previous year's PEL records. The information is held by local authorities - a few DCMS staff could have done the work.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Assessing a 'flourishing' live music scene: the government's response is, of course, still based on the MORI survey data of 2004, specifically MORI's estimate that there were 1.7m live gigs a year in venues whose main business is not live music. There is no statistical justification for the word 'flourishing' first used by the then licensing minister, Richard Caborn, in the now notorious DCMS live music survey press release of 25 August 2004 (notorious because Caborn's quote was covertly altered in October 2005 when the Market Research Society ruled that his claim was misleading).

DCMS has so far resisted my Freedom of Information Act request for details of correspondence with MORI over the wording of this press release. There was no benchmark against which to judge the data because by DCMS' own admission, it was the first survey of its kind. In any case, 1.7m live gigs a year works out at roughly 1 live gig a year for every 25 people in England and Wales (assuming population of 50m that could attend). The MORI survey also found that the majority of pubs, restaurants and hotels had no live music at all, and that the more the Licensing Act was explained to licensees, the less likely they were to host live music in future.

~ ~ ~

House of Lords 26 June 2006
Licensing: Closure of Premises

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

What powers under the Licensing Act 2003 have been used to close down licensed premises with a history of disorder and to prevent some licensed premises from screening games involving the England football team during the 2006 World Cup. [HL6250]

Lord Davies of Oldham: This information is not available centrally.

Part 8 of the Licensing Act 2003 makes provision for closing licensed premises on grounds of disorder, imminent disorder and public nuisance resulting from noise emanating from the premises. In addition, Section 19 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 provides for the closure of premises selling alcohol for consumption on the premises in breach of the conditions of a premises licence. Sections 40 and 41 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 make provision for closing licensed premises on grounds of public nuisance resulting from noise emanating from the premises. In addition, where premises have been the scene of disorder or disturbance, the police and other responsible bodies may apply for a review of the premises licences and this can result in the suspension or revocation of the licence by the licensing authority.

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many licensed premises with a history of disorder have been closed down or prevented from screening games involving the England football team during the 2006 World Cup under the Licensing Act 2003 before the beginning of the tournament on 9 June. [HL6251]

Lord Davies of Oldham: This information is not available centrally.

Licensing: Live Entertainment

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, following the outdoor performance of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on the BBC's "Top of the Pops" programme on 15 April, they will amend Schedule 1 to the Licensing Act 2003 to clarify the distinction between public entertainment that is licensable and private entertainment that is not licensable. [HL6247]

Lord Davies of Oldham: We have no current plans to amend Schedule 1 to the Licensing Act 2003, as there is no evidence to suggest that the distinction is unclear. We shall, however, continue to monitor and evaluate the impact of the licensing reforms, to ensure that future proposed amendments to the legislation are evidence based.
~ ~ ~

And from 22 June 2006:

Licensing: Live Entertainment

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

What proportion of licensed premises in England and Wales that did not previously hold an entertainment licence now have authorisation for the performance of live music. [HL6248]

Lord Davies of Oldham: This information is not held centrally.

However, the DCMS intends to commission research this year to assess the take-up of new licences permitting live music performances in England and Wales. This research will provide a measure of the number of smaller venues that did not previously hold an entertainment licence and which have secured the authorisation to provide live music under the new system.

Once completed, copies of the results of this research will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and published on the DCMS website at www.culture.gov.uk.

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

On what basis they assess that there is a flourishing live music scene in bars and restaurants. [HL6249]

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Government's last assessment of the live music scene in England and Wales was made in 2004. This was based on findings from a survey by MORI, commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) that year, about live music performances in a wide range of smaller venues, including bars and restaurants, in the preceding 12 months. The survey findings are available on the DCMS website (www.culture.gov.uk), and copies were deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.

The DCMS intends to commission research this year to assess the take up of new licences permitting live music performances in England and Wales. A repeat of the 2004 baseline study will take place in 2007, when the Licensing Act 2003 will have been fully operational for more than a year, to measure its impact on live music.
ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Jun 06 - 01:45 PM

Lord Davies of Oldham: We have no current plans to amend Schedule 1 to the Licensing Act 2003, as there is no evidence to suggest that the distinction is unclear. We shall, however, continue to monitor and evaluate the impact of the licensing reforms, to ensure that future proposed amendments to the legislation are evidence based.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Schedule 1 is what contains the existing descriptions of entertainment in the Act.

See also http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page4259.asp>http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page4259.asp for Number Ten Downing Street's
full response to the E Petition.

Which includes the following.

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

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.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: pavane
Date: 30 Jun 06 - 02:43 AM

If the provisions really are allowing entertainment to thrive, then why are councils finding it necessary to define belly dancing and line dancing as 'Similar to Morris dance' in order to avoid the necessity of obtaining a licence?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 30 Jun 06 - 04:13 AM

If the provisions really are allowing entertainment to thrive, then why are councils finding it necessary to define belly dancing and line dancing as 'Similar to Morris dance' in order to avoid the necessity of obtaining a licence?

What happened is that I have been questioning Sheffield City Council about the licences for events, which included "regulated entertainment", being held by them. In fact when this event "Chance to Dance" was held there was no licence. The event went ahead under the "Morris Dance exemption", although it used amplified music illegally.

"Chance to Dance" is a showcase for the City's various dance groups.

Since then they have avoided this by licensing the whole of the City Centre. This in particular to allow the Lord Mayor's Parade to go ahead.

I hope this makes things clear.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Jun 06 - 05:22 AM

Since then they have avoided this by licensing the whole of the City Centre. This in particular to allow the Lord Mayor's Parade to go ahead.

What is the position for buskers now in the City Centre or for any events there, other than those organised by the Council itself?

Can they just go ahead - as Premises Licence entertainment permission is already in place? Or is prior permission from the Council or some form of payment to the Council now required there for busking, carol singing etc?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Snuffy
Date: 30 Jun 06 - 08:43 AM

They won't need a licence to busk there, but they will still need the permission of the owner of the premises.

As they would if they wanted to busk in a licensed pub.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 30 Jun 06 - 09:26 AM

Extract from DCMS website

DCMS is encouraging local authorities to licence public spaces to enable a range of events to take place. This is so performers and entertainers would then have no need to obtain a separate premises licence, or give a temporary event notice themselves to give a performance in these areas, so long as they had permission from the local authority to use the land.

A list of available open spaces already licensed is here.

A list of places already licensed

See here

Encourage your local authority to do the same.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: IanC
Date: 30 Jun 06 - 09:53 AM

(from the LondonBuskers thread)

I also just send this to my local council (with a copy to our (Con) MP).

Hi

I've been looking at the Government's pilot list of public spaces which have been registered by local authorities for entertainment on the basis of the governments (mandatory) guidance for the Licensing Act of 2003.

The government stated that no facilities for entertainment would be lost due to the fact that public spaces (not licensable before the act) would become licensable from November 2005. Their reason for saying this was that in their guidance information they would "strongly encourage" local authorities to themselves license any open spaces within their area. The guidance was subsequently made mandatory.

I'm surprised to find that, at least in the pilot document, NHDC has not apparently registered a single one of our (many) open spaces as licensable for entertainment. Such diverse places as Kennedy Gardens in Letchworth, Royston Town Centre, Ashwell Recreation Ground etc. etc. etc. - which are common venues for a variety of harmless entertainment - have not yet been registered by NHDC.

Could you provide me with a list of locations you intend to register and some idea of when this will be done.

Thank you
Ian Chandler

PS I will be contacting our local MP on this matter.

:-)
Ian

NB I did send a copy to my local MP Oliver Heald who's already written back to say he will follow this up.

;-)


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Jun 06 - 10:10 AM

(from the London Buskers /Licensing Act thread)

The following from Hamish Birchall

Last week I reported that Southwark's licensing department were advising buskers to obtain a Temporary Event Notice under the new Licensing Act. This contradicted DCMS advice that busking would not be licensable.

However, when further enquiries were made by a national newspaper, Southwark's press office denied that the council had a 'policy' to licence buskers. But a council policy may not be the same as advice provided to individual musicians by officials. So, for clarification I asked Southwark's press office to respond to a couple of questions:
If a musician entertained spectators regularly with performances of live music at the same spot on the South Bank (i.e. at least once a week) within Southwark's boundaries, would the council regard this as the provision of regulated entertainment under the Licensing Act 2003?
If not, on what legal basis would it be exempt?
The reply came yesterday (29 June):

'The Licencing Act does not exempt buskers from needing a license but advice from the Local Authority Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS) suggests that this is 'neither pragmatic nor realistic' and buskers should be treated on a case by case basis. We therefore don't have one rule for all buskers, but instead would look at whether or not individuals cause genuine noise nuisance before we took any action.'

In other words, yes, busking is covered by the Licensing Act, but we will only take action under that Act if there are noise complaints. Encouraging, except... if noise is a problem why use licensing to deal with it? What about noise regulation under the Environmental Protection Act?

A council spokesperson said:

'I have spoken to Environmental Protection, who say there is little scope for action from this point of view. This is because primarily, the term 'statutory nuisance' deals with noise from premises. Theoretically, there is scope if a busker is deemed to be busking from a vehicle, or using equipment or machinery, but this is unlikely. Also, the Control of Pollution 1974 could be used if the busker was using a loudspeaker in the street, but again this is unlikely.'

Is this correct? According to experts in noise legislation, the answer is 'no':

1. Noise abatement notices issued under s.80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (as amended by the 1993 Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act) are not confined to noise from premises. Section 79(1)(ga) explicitly states that 'statutory nuisances' can include noise from 'equipment in a street'.
2. Section 79(7) provides that '"equipment" includes a musical instrument'.
3. Recent case law showed that noise abatement notices can be used to prosecute noisy buskers: Westminster City Council v Prian Bruno McDonald, 28 October 2002, Neutral Citation Number: [2003] EWHC 2698 (Admin).


Why should councils or indeed government ministers play down the power to control noise using the EPA? The answer seems to be a fear of increased public demand for noise enforcement and the potential drain on resources.

By coincidence, this week the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) issued a press release entitled 'New powers to curb noise in late-night pubs and clubs': http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2006/060628d.htm

The new powers will only apply to licensed premises betweeen 11pm and 7am. They are due to come into force in October, and have been created specifically to address the potential for late night noise nuisance resulting from longer pub and club opening hours. One important implication of the announcement is that between 7am and 11pm existing noise legislation has been deemed adequate to address noise nuisance, irrespective of licensing.

This reinforces the case for the deregulation of the licensing of live music under the Licensing Act 2003.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Jul 06 - 12:24 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

On Saturday 01 July 2006 the Daily Telegraph reported more licensing problems, this time for village halls: 'Licensing rules "may force village halls to break the law"', by Richard Savill.

The limit of 12 Temporary Event Notices a year is particularly onerous for these venues. By way of response, DCMS issued another misleading statement in the now familiar Nurse Ratched tone *: 'The cap on numbers (of TENs) ensures people are adequately protected from excessive noise, nuisance and disturbance.' See: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/07/01/nhalls01.xml

Fearful of recent press interest and increased public concern about licensing and live music, Labour has planted some questions for today's Oral Questions session in the House of Commons (Mon 03 July, 2.30pm):

'What steps her Department is taking to support live music.' (Q1, Ian Wright, Hartlepool)
'What steps the Government is taking to support live music and encourage the participation of young people.' (Q13. John Robertson, Glasgow North West).


The questions are clearly intended to give the Secretary of State at DCMS an opportunity to divert attention from licensing. No doubt she will say how much the government values live music and how many excellent initiatives are currently underway. She probably won't say that her department was wrong when it claimed busking would not be licensable.

Once the Secretary of State has addressed these questions, other MPs and particularly opposition MPs can raise licensing issues. If you have time, why not ask your MP to put a licensing question to Tessa Jowell today?   Use this website to contact your MP by email:
http://www.theyworkforyou.com/

~ ~ ~

* For those who have never seen the film or read the book, Nurse Ratched is one of the main characters in 'One flew over the cuckoo's nest' (book by Ken Kesey, 1962; film by Milos Forman, 1975, starring Jack Nicholson as Randle P. McMurphy and Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched).

The story centres on the battle of wills between McMurphy, a 'swaggering, fun-loving' petty criminal and 'coolly monstrous' Nurse Ratched who is in charge of the mental hospital ward in which McMurphy has been detained. McMurphy has feigned mental-illness to escape prison. His resistance to Nurse Ratched eventually results in the destruction of his personality by enforced lobotomy.

Nurse Ratched notoriously protests genuine concern for her patients. But as the Penguin Modern Classics edition of the book observes: 'Tyrannical Nurse Ratched rules her ward in an Oregon State mental hospital with a strict and unbending routine, unopposed by her patients, who remain cowed by mind-numbing medication and the threat of electric shock therapy.'

With DCMS licensing statements, comparisons with electric shock therapy are perhaps inappropriate, but they could be described as a form of mind-numbing medication.
ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Jul 06 - 12:29 PM

Licensing rules 'may force village halls to break the law'
By Richard Savill
(Filed: 01/07/2006)
Saturday 01 July 2006 the Daily Telegraph


Hundreds of village halls are losing revenue and could be forced to operate illegally because the Government's new licensing laws have restricted the number of events that they can hold, according to a survey published yesterday.

The annual limit of 12 temporary events notices (Tens) has meant that bookings have had to be turned away so that halls can remain within the law. Fund-raising events generating thousands of pounds have had to be cancelled.

Action with Communities in Rural England (Acre), which conducted the survey in conjunction with Mori, said a fifth of halls appeared to be at risk of contravening the Licensing Act, or were restricting the number of events.

"There are thought to be 8,900 village halls in England, so this represents a significant number of communities," said Acre, which wants the limit increased to 36.
"A limit of 12 Tens is not enough to allow a village hall to provide a range of services and activities that are necessary to support a healthy sustainable community. Bookings are being turned away to remain within the limit of the law."

Fifty seven per cent of halls that responded to the survey felt that the limit on Tens was inadequate.

Deborah Clarke, Acre's village hall information officer, said: "Volunteers managing halls already struggle with the level of legislation and regulation. Having to cope with a new system designed primarily for pubs and clubs in urban areas has not only added to this burden but affected their income and future sustainability."

The Tens notice is needed for the sale of alcohol at events where a premises licence does not include it. The survey found that two thirds of halls had not applied for a premises licence that included the sale of alcohol mainly because of the difficulty in finding a volunteer willing to act as designated supervisor.

Twenty nine per cent of halls expect between nine and 15 events per year involving alcohol sales, and 23 per cent expect 16 or more. Amateur dramatic groups that would previously have operated under a theatre licence now need to use Tens for interval bars.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport said it would consider the survey, but a spokesman added: "The cap on numbers [of Tens] ensures people are adequately protected from excessive noise, nuisance and disturbance."


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Jul 06 - 02:38 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall

Now as long as they tick the box which says we want to put on an entertainment they won't have to pay any more and it is a much much easier system.' Former licensing minister James Purnell, BBC Radio 4 'Today', Wednesday 29 June 2005.

~ ~ ~

The Sir Richard Steele pub in Haverstock Hill, London, has resumed its weekly jazz sessions after a break of nearly six months. In February I reported that the gigs had stopped following council enforcement action after residents' complaints - not about the live music, but about a noisy DJ.

In the past, the pub relied on the old 'two in a bar rule' to run its successful Monday night jazz. During last year's licensing changeover the landlord had failed to apply for a live music authorisation.

The pub subsequently applied for a new licence, which was finally granted a couple of weeks ago. It allows recorded music every day up to midnight. They can also have live music... but with no more than two musicians... no later than 11pm... the music must be jazz or traditional, no rock or pop... and the venue must install a noise limiter.

~ ~ ~

Abbey Road Studios

On February 13, BBC Radio 2 staged a Coldplay gig at Abbey Road Studios. The audience included members of the public who had won free tickets to the event in a BBC online competition. Under the old regime, such gigs had been deemed private, not for profit, and therefore exempt. But no longer. Westminster City Council decided that even this ticketing arrangement was public for the purposes of the new law and the event was therefore licensable. (Top of the Pops was caught for the same reason).

The Studios then applied for a new licence which would allow them to host such events. The application provoked 67 objections on noise and disorder grounds. The council initially recommended that the application be refused.

Significantly, the Studio's licence application suggests they believed that the recording facility itself was licensable. On the 'facilities for making music' section they entered: 'All necessary facilities so that musicians are able to play and record their music'. This may explain why they asked for authorisation 10am-midnight, 365 days a year, which in turn probably explains the high number of objectors.

For sight of their application see Westminster's online public licensing register: http://www3.westminster.gov.uk/licensingapplications/ . Enter 'Abbey Road Studios' in the 'Trading as name' box. To the right of the screen there is a disclaimer you must accept to gain access to PDF's of the application.

The public hearing to consider the objections took place this morning at the council's Marylebone offices. I understand that a compromise has been reached, but do not yet know the terms.

A spokesperson for the council suggested that recording studio facilities would not be considered licensable by the council's legal officers unless 'guests were formally invited - one or two friends wouldn't count'. However, the presence of an audience is not required under the provision of entertainment facilities section of the Licensing Act 2003 (Schedule 1, para 3).


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Jul 06 - 10:03 AM

spy@telegraph.co.uk
(Filed: 01/07/2006)

Regatta ball blow


There was grave disappointment for anyone hoping to attend last night's sumptuous Henley Regatta Ball. The bash - for which VIP tickets were being sold at £800 - was unceremoniously cancelled 48 hours before the event, amid legal wrangling why the right licence had not been obtained from the local council.

Bryan Ferry had been booked as the headline entertainment, while Elizabeth Hurley had agreed to host a fashion show and Olympic rower James Cracknell was all set to compere the charity auction.

The guests were promised "an evening of unashamed extravagance" and a "celebration of the delights of the English social season" - but the failure to secure a live entertainment licence in time prompted Wokinghan council to pull the plug.

Greg Mason, the ball's organiser and promoter, explains: "The council couldn't let the event take place because the person we relied on to obtain a licence had not done so.

He adds: "We have refunded all tickets, and our VIPs have all been very supportive.

"We're planning another event some time this year and hope to auction off some of the fantastic lots we got in aid of our charities. We also plan to be back next year."


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 Jul 06 - 06:53 AM

Not really.

All sorts of events are being cancelled including a school fete in Sheffield last weekend. I am still awaiting full details - but someone local complained that the event (which has been held each year for many years) did not have a licence and the police advised, (wrongly IMHO and that of a local solicitor that the school consulted) that the event needed a licence.

Sheffield City Centre,(as bounded by the Inner City Ring Road) is now licensed thanks partly to the efforts of people complaining to the local council.

We still have the daft thing where a Pub gets a music licence provided they close the windows (in this weather??) Meanwhle an identical pub can have its windows open and Sky on as loud as they like subject ot Noise Abatement Act.

Let's keep it open.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: pavane
Date: 14 Jul 06 - 07:10 AM

The work will never be done until common sense returns.
Looks like it will be a long time yet.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: DMcG
Date: 15 Jul 06 - 06:08 AM

A letter and an article from "The Stage" dated 13 July 2006. This a specialist newspaper aimed at actors, professional musicians and other people connected with the theatre.




Your article (June 29, page 2) on Shaun Woodward's warning to heavy handed councils prompts me to tell you about the crazy antics of Scarborough Borough Council and the Whitby Harbour Masters Office.

It all started with the decision that the traditional bandstand on the pier, just past the amusement arcades at Scotch Head, needed to be licensed for music. There was an objector. It was only licensed after practically giving the Harbour Master's Office carte blanche to say what could go on in the way of music and what could not, along the whole of Whitby harbour side. This means that the Harbour Master is moving buskers away from pitches they have traditionally used for many years. The odd group that is amplified may not be popular with some of the locals but the buskers are popular with tourists who appreciate that they contribute to the colour that has recently given the resort such high ratings in media awards.

Whitby is a top venue for music and arts festivals and its success as such is being threatened by the jackboot of bureaucracy described above. Additionally, a planning application by the organisers of Whitby Musicport, a successful World Music Festival, to convert the old Quaker Meeting House into an arts centre has been refused by Scarborough Borough Council, forcing Musicport to consider pulling out of Whitby. At the same planning meeting permission was given for yet another nightclub in the town centre which will not be hosting live music.

Article continues

Clearly, the way the Licensing Act is being applied by Scarborough Borough Council in respect of Whitby is oppressive.

Tony Morris,

South View

Whitby

North Yorkshire






Music minister Shaun Woodward has called on councils to avoid using the Licensing Act to impose heavy handed conditions which discourage venues from hosting live entertainment.

New guidelines to the act call on local authorities to consult local musicians and owners regularly. If they find the local music scene is suffering as a result of their interpretation of the act, then they must rethink their licensing policies.

Woodward said: "Live venues are the heart of many communities. That's why we gave them greater opportunities to put on live entertainment, such as music and dancing, under the licensing laws.


"But we need to make sure local councils are promoting these opportunities and venue owners are taking advantage of them."

The advice comes on the back of claims by campaigners and the pub industry that some councils are exceeding their powers under the act and imposing conditions which are discouraging people from applying for live entertainment permits.

Results of a recent survey by the Musician's Union reveal that, while business in larger venues has continued much as usual, there has been a "marked drop" in live music in smaller venues, particularly those which previously benefited from the old 'two in a bar' rule allowing up to two people to perform without a licence.

In April Westminster City Council imposed 39 conditions on The Hub, a new restaurant in Regents Park, before allowing it to host live music, even though it is half a kilometre from the nearest house and the performance area is underground. They included installing a noise limiter and CCTV systems and having no more than three musicians at any one time.

The decision prompted leading trumpeter Henry Lowther to write to the MU saying he feared the act was making it harder for venues to put on music.

Lowther said: "If every applicant has to comply with such conditions along with the cost of the licence itself, one could say that that is not exactly an incentive to small premises to present live music."


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Tootler
Date: 15 Jul 06 - 06:27 PM

It is quite clear from DMcG's post two above that this thread has no way outlived its usefulness. I suspect there is still a lot more to come.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: stallion
Date: 17 Jul 06 - 04:24 AM

Pro's and cons, my argument for opening another thread, indeed I tried it and it got "lost", is because I am on dial up and it takes forever to load up all the messages in this thread, especially since I have read intently the contents of most of the messages posted, I am only interested in what is happening now, not what was happening in 2003. However, this is a powerful and worthy archive to keep and it needs to be stored for future reference. Why can't the posts be archived so the "live" info tree/debate is more up to date. If one reads the threads you can realise this is going to be a long haul and much moral support is going to be needed. Thankfully our local authority is very keen to promote live music and requires concrete proof from objectors, which of course there isn't any (they can't predict future noise and nuisance levels). So, they may object afterwards but they need evidence such as the council noise pollution police, it will not happen. Other authorities are not so enlightened thus this thread is neccessary and important. So less bickering, there is a job to do.
    Stallion, after two days, your message was the only one in the new thread you started - so I moved your message into this thread. You'll find it below.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Snuffy
Date: 17 Jul 06 - 07:07 PM

Stallion,

If you look at the main threads list, in the column next to Affected by The Licensing Act 2003 you will see something like 293* d. If you click on the d you will get just the last 50 posts in reverse order - newest at the top.

That loads much quicker


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jul 06 - 11:08 AM

Stallion, after two days, your message was the only one in the new thread you started - so I moved your message into this thread. You'll find it below.
-Joe Offer-


Perhaps you will be kind enough to replace the recent posts of mine that have been deleted from this thread without notice or explanation?
    Shambles, please try to remember that this is a thread about the Licensing Act. I can't allow you to hijack threads on other subjects and use them for your campaign against "Mudcat censorship." You'll find your messages, intact, in the thread titled Is Closing Threads Censorship? If you really feel a need to discuss new aspects of the subject of censorship, you may start a new thread - but you may have only one thread active at a time on the subject, and it will be in the "BS" section. If it is littered with copy-pastes from other threads, it will most probably be closed.
    I repeat, this particular thread is about the Licensing Act. If anyone posts comments about Mudcat administration here, those messages will be moved to the "closing threads" thread.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Jul 06 - 01:18 PM

I wish Medway would impose conditions on the Nag's Head, Lower Stoke. Last Saturday the "musician" (singer with karaoke backing tracks) was audible for nearly 400 years, and all the doors and windows were open. How any parent living in the High Street gets a young child to sleep is beyond me.

I wish I knew why they don't impose conditions. Has money changed hands unauthorisedly perhaps?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Bonecruncher
Date: 18 Jul 06 - 09:16 PM

400 years???
That singer must have a hell of a voice!
Colyn.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Jul 06 - 12:00 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall

Ministers claimed that the new Licensing Act would be much better for live music. Swindon could be the first area to justify these claims - at least in part.

One measure of ministers' optimism would be the number of bars and restaurants that can now, for the first time, host live bands, and whether this represents a significant improvement on the position prior to the new law. In Parliament recently, ministers said they didn't yet have this data but that DCMS would be conducting research that should provide answers by the autumn.

Last month I asked a few licensing managers whether they had some of this data already. One has so far replied: Lionel Starling, licensing manager for Swindon council.

According to Mr Starling's figures, the number of Swindon pubs, bars and clubs that could host live bands has increased by about a third to 133, or about 86% of the total number of such venues in his licensing area (155). It has to be said that a relatively high proportion of these venues already had a public entertainment licence. Converting this to the new licence was straightforward. Nonetheless the increase is significant.

Restaurants and hotels, however, fare less well. Only 22 out of 60 have a live music authorisation, or about 37%. Overall, 72% of pubs, bars, clubs, hotels and restaurants have a live music authorisation. The downside is that 28% of these venues, formerly able to provide one or two musicians whenever they wanted, are now limited to 'incidental music' and a maximum 12 gigs a year under a Temporary Event Notice.

This data alone would not necessarily mean a thriving gig scene. Venues may have the necessary permissions, but still be subject to onerous licence conditions, such as noise limiter installation, or limits on the number of performers and performance times. But Swindon Council seems to have adopted a light touch. Mr Starling says that only a few venues have noise limiter conditions, and that there are no performer limits:

'The general approach in Swindon is that licences have few if any conditions. It stays that way if there are no problems. If it goes wrong, conditions are waiting in the wings to be used as a correctional device. So far, little has gone wrong. Our corporate slogan is "Making Swindon the UK's Best Business Location" and our Licensing Statement starts "Swindon Borough Council is committed to building and maintaining a diverse, thriving, vibrant and sustainable leisure and hospitality economy. We value the contribution which this sector of the economy makes to the economic well being of Swindon and to the quality of life of those who live here and those who visit us."

If the national picture for pubs, bars and clubs were as rosy as Mr Starling's data I would have to say that ministers' claims had some merit and reach for some edible headgear. But that is a big 'if'. The legislation was designed to allow wide differences of interpretation and application, and those could mean the difference between a thriving or failing local gig scene.

My thanks to Lionel Starling for his willing and helpful input, and hard work in providing the licensing statistics.
ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Jul 06 - 07:09 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

BBC Radio 4 'Today' reported this morning (20 July 2006) on research in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital that is providing hard evidence of the healing effect of live music. The hospital has been providing regular live music for patients and staff for some years, on wards and in the main public areas. It was also the location for a special study on the effect of live music and art. See BBC online article:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/1/hi/health/5194884.stm

'Listen again' to the Today programme (scroll down to 7.24am - you will need Real Player):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listenagain/

The hospital held a public entertainment licence for the public concerts under the old regime. However, in London at least, local authorities could and did waive the fee where entertainment was for a charitable, educational or like purpose. I believe that was the case for the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital (I am awaiting confirmation).

By contrast, under the new regime, the hospital is no longer eligible for this fee waiver. According to the licensing department at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the hospital paid £635 for its new live music and dance licence and will also pay annual fees of £350. The mandatory public advertisement of their application in local papers for 28 days would have been an additional cost. The licence covers entertainment in the ground floor 'Mall' and second floor performance area. The status of live music on wards is uncertain.

The council has imposed two conditions: a limit of 185 persons on the second floor performance area, and prior sight of seating plans which must be adhered to. Both these health and safety measures could and should have been implemented under separate legislation. The statutory Guidance that accompanies the Licensing Act warns local authorities not to duplicate provision available under separate legislation.

While Chelsea and Westminster Hospital is required to hold an entertainment authorisation by its local authority, Barts Hospital has been allowed to provide regular, publicly advertised, high-profile performances of live music under the incidental exemption.
ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 06:48 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall

A group of local councils tasked with monitoring the impact of the Licensing Act has concluded that the laws are starting to have a beneficial impact on residents, police and local councils, according to a new report published today.'

So begins the latest DCMS licensing press release, published today (Mon 24 July 2006):
http://www.culture.gov.uk/global/press_notices/archive_2006/dcms106_06.htm

http://tinyurl.com/h28qx

Both the press release and the 13-page report focus exclusively on alcohol issues. The impact of the new Act on the performance of live music, dance and theatre is not mentioned once. Most public performances, and many private performances, of live music, dance and theatre are illegal unless licensed under the new Act, whether or not alcohol is sold.

The DCMS sample of 10 'scrutiny councils' represents just under 3% of the 376 licensing authorities in England and Wales (there are 410 local authorities, but 34 county councils are not licensing authorities).

Last week, the media widely reported the Home Office finding that crime had not risen in the hours immediately after pub closing time as if this was a beneficial effect of the new licensing laws. In fact, when the legislation was first published in 2002, Tessa Jowell said it 'would be a key plank of the Government's drive to cut down on crime and anti-social behaviour.' The legislation has so far failed to live up to that promise.
ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Jul 06 - 05:38 AM

I have been thinking of S177.

Licensing authorities cannot impose blanket conditions any more under the new Act.

But is there anything legally preventing them from imposing blanket S177 type 'permissions' on all applications and variations and even back date them for pubs with no form of entertainment permission?

So instead of a small pub having to first apply for any form of licensing permission etc - in order that they can hold non-amplified music from 8 to midnight - that it was taken as read that these pubs could have this permission for this form of music making.

The choice to hold or not would still be one for the licensee - but should they ever wish to hold such live music - it would then be perfectly legal............


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 26 Jul 06 - 06:39 AM

A very interesting thought, Roger, and on the face of it, probably acceptable, if you discount the average council's tendency to espouse interpretations that result in more revenue to them.

It might be an interesting exercise for someone whose local authority is already showing a positive attitude to contact them and pose the question.

Like chicken soup, can't do any harm.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Jul 06 - 12:27 PM

Anyone live in Swindon? They may be up for it......Well for any Asian music anyway.


The following from Hamish Birchall.

This Saturday, 29 July, over 12,000 people are expected to attend Swindon's Mela. This festival of Asian music, dance and other activities will feature internationally successful pop acts, including Jazzy B, Arif Lohar and Ajay. See:

http://www.swindonmela.com/

http://www.swindon.gov.uk/artsandculture/swindonmela.htm

In a move that may surprise other local authorities, Swindon Council has decided that the Mela's entertainment is exempt from licensing on the basis that the event is essentially a garden fete. Under Schedule 1, paragraph 10 of the new Licensing Act, there is an exemption for entertainment at 'a garden fete, or at a function or event of a similar nature', provided the event is not promoted for private gain.

Although the park in which the Mela takes place is already licensed for regulated entertainment by the Council, the licence and its conditions (which only stipulate a midnight cut-off time for music and dance) will not apply to any regulated entertainment at the Mela.

Swindon Council has issued this statement which sets out their position. It includes some interestring general observations about the new law:

'The Licensing Act 2003 contains within it various exemptions from licensing. Some of these seem to have been prompted by the sensitivities of interest groups, rather than arising from any objective assessment of relative risk. As an example, the licensing regime which applies to church halls does not apply to churches. We would of course prefer to see a clear rationale based on practical impacts but that is not the approach taken by the Act.

'There is a very broadly framed exemption for any form of entertainment at a "garden fete, or at a function or event of a similar character". Such entertainment is not deemed to be 'regulated' so no licence of any kind is needed. Parliament did not impose any upper limit on the scale of exempt events, so the fact that the Swindon Mela sees around 12,000 people pass through during the day is not a consideration.

'The event has elements of music and dance but also substantial elements of picnic, a market, educational and health initiatives, displays of art and other cultural activities. Setting aside the ethnicity of the event (which has absolutely no bearing on Licensing) the nature of the event matches very well the model of a garden fête. Any lingering doubt is dispelled by the extension of the exemption to other events of a "similar character".

'The event is held in a traditional Victorian park. In order to facilitate musical events, Swindon Borough Council has obtained a premises licence for the park which can be used as an umbrella for events held by third parties. Nevertheless, the Mela itself has exempt status, so it does not operate under the licence, even though one is available.

'The Licensing Authority has no discretion to impose conditions on a premises licence, unless asked to do so by authorities such as the Police or Child Protection Officers. In the event, the absence of any representations meant that the only conditions on the licence are the normal imposition of age controls on filims, together with a ban on plays, indoor sporting events, boxing and wrestling (entertainments in these categories were not requested by the applicant). Time restrictions also apply. For regulated entertainment in general the cut off time throughout the week is midnight but films can be shown until 02.00hrs.'
ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 09:49 AM

Meanwhile - I found this rather different approach for Trowbridge - a town not very far from Swindon......Perhaps if the majorette toupe were some Asian cultural group - this council would be more flexible?

http://www.wiltshiretimes.co.uk/news/trowbridgenews/display.var.843961.0.major_upset_for_troupe.php

Major upset for troupe
By Morwenna Blake
9:39am Friday 21st July 2006

MAJORETTE troupes which have been a part of the carnival celebrations in west Wiltshire for decades are to be forced out due to red tape.
Children will be bitterly disappointed, as Trowbridge Carnival Committee has already banned majorettes and Warminster looks likely to follow suit.
Gwenda Noakes, leader of the Trowbridge Majorettes, said: "We have been going to the carnival for 30 years. We do it for the children and we are just so upset for them.
"It is our local town and we just thought Trowbridge Carnival was for the people of Trowbridge.

"Trying to explain to a five-year-old why this has happened will not be easy. It is hard to understand ourselves."

The majorette troupe is one of three in the town and has 30 children taking part, aged from five to 14.
They and other groups from around the county take part in a series of carnival processions each year. Potentially hundreds of youngsters could face a bitter disappointment.

The ban has been put into place because of the demands of the 2003 Licensing Act, which comes into force this year. The act means those on foot in the procession must number no more than half the number of floats, or organisers could face a hefty licence fee.

Trowbridge Carnival committee chairman Steve Nash said: "The way it works is the majorettes are dancers and dancing is a licensable activity.

"West Wiltshire District Council has said to us as long as the number of people walking is less than 50 per cent of the number of floats that take part in the carnival then it is not a licensable activity.

"We have taken this step because obviously the majorettes are a large number of people on foot."
Sandra Major, chairman of Warminster Carnival Committee, said a final decision had not been made but majorettes may well be prevented from taking part in their town's carnival.

"Everyone expects a few majorettes to be in the procession but it is going to cost us a lot of money if we do have them," she said.

A spokesman for West Wiltshire District Council confirmed carnivals do not need licensing under the act if the ratio of the number of people on foot to the number of floats is less than 50 per cent, but said it is up to individual committees how they meet the requirements.

She said: "Trowbridge has banned majorettes, that is their policy. How they choose to work out who can take part is up to them, they could do it on a first-come first-served basis."

The licensing fee payable varies according to the number of people attending, or estimated likely to attend, an event, ranging from £100 to tens of thousands.

Trowbridge carnival can attract about 10,000 people. The fee for 5,000 to 9,999 people is £1,100, but for 10,000 to 14,999 it would be £2,000.
ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 10:21 AM

Does anyone actually attend a carnival (apart from the participants) rather than just happen to be standing on the kerb as it passes by?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Bonecruncher
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 11:24 PM

I live in Melksham, about ten miles from Trowbridge and in the same Local Authority area (West Wilts District Council). Our town carnival was two weeks ago, for which a local Councillor stated that fees had to be paid for a PEL.
If, as stated above by IanC 30th June 09.53 A.M., streets and public open spaces are required to be licenced by the Local Authority, why should fees be payable according to numbers attending? The PEL, as I read IanC's post, would have been automatically granted at the inception of the Act.
Regarding the "attendees" question, local carnivals often end in a social dance, concert etc. in a local park. Again the comment about public open spaces should apply.
I have taken this matter up with our local Councillor and am still awaiting a reply after a fortnight!
Colyn.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 29 Jul 06 - 08:45 AM

I am not a lawyer and do not purport to give legal advice (disclaimer)
In my understanding and the DSMS website bears this out - it is not compulsory.

The relevant section of the guidance is section 3.59 of the Guidance and suggests that Local Authorities "give regard to licensing open spaces".

Sheffield for instance has licensed the whole of the city as bounded by the inner ring road, an area about a mile across. OTher LA's have done similar things.

But it is not compulsory.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Jul 06 - 02:08 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) has decided that the street dancers, or 'masqueraders', accompanying the Notting Hill Carnival floats will qualify for the Licensing Act's morris dancing exemption. The wording allows for 'any dancing of a similar nature'.

Had RBKC not adopted this interpretation, carnival organisers would have faced entertainment licence fees of up to £64,000. Extra fees apply where attendance exceeds 5,000. There is no exemption for 'incidental dancing'. As it is, for the first time the carnival's 30-40 'static sound systems' will require premises licences or Temporary Events Notices. Fees for these are not expected to exceed £2,000.

If RBKC has adopted a liberal reading of the morris exemption, other local authorities are taking a different view.

According to this report in the online Wiltshire Times, Trowbridge has already banned majorettes (unless licensed), and Warminster looks set to follow:
http://www.wiltshiretimes.co.uk/news/trowbridgenews/display.var.843961.0.major_upset_for_troupe.php


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Jul 06 - 02:29 PM

Unless some legal challenge is mounted and some court is asked to decide - despite all the fine sounding claims made by the Government's various ministers for it - whether these cultural activities are prevented by the Licensing Act 2003 in England and Wales - is simply going to be a matter of pot-luck as to which council you happen to live under............


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 29 Jul 06 - 02:45 PM

West Wiltshire Council like many others are clearly confused by the Act.

They had a couple of options for the majorettes. 1) Treat is as similar to Morris dancing - thus it is exempt. That's what they have done for the Notting Hill Carnival. 2) License the streets themselves - no cost - as Sheffield have done. That is what the government advises councils to do.

What is perhaps more important is that "A spokesman for West Wiltshire District Council confirmed carnivals do not need licensing under the act if the ratio of the number of people on foot to the number of floats is less than 50 per cent, but said it is up to individual committees how they meet the requirements". Apart from the fact that this is patent nonsense (think about it, a carnival with 50 floats (very large) could only have 24 people alongside it before it needed a license, it is simply untrue. There is no such clause in the Act nor was there in any previous Act and nor is there in the Guidance to the Act.

They - West Wiltshire Council - have made this "law" up. It is sheer round spherical objects. The Licensing Act 2003 allows them to do this and the DCMS encourages them to do so. The only way to challenge it is through the courts and I doubt if the Majorettes have sufficient backing to do so. (Actually they really ought to go ahead and let the Council dare to prosecute a group of young people girls).

But for certain if you live in the area make a stink with your MP and your local councillor and start by asking which section of the Act/Guidance this "50% rule" appears.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 04:22 AM

In my last post there was a small typo prosecute a group of young people girls should have read people of course.

I decided to write to West Wiltshire Council and ask where they got the idea about the "number of people on foot in a carnival in ratio to floats" from.

If anyone else would like to make a point or a protest - perhaps they would like to email: environmentalhealth@westwiltshire.gov.uk

I have also written a letter to the newspaper that first published the story.

Clearly a grumpy old man with too much time on his hands.

I'll get mi coat.


Dave


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Bonecruncher
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 09:41 PM

Thanks to Folkiedave aand The Shambles for their advice.
Colyn.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Jul 06 - 03:07 AM

I have taken this matter up with our local Councillor and am still awaiting a reply after a fortnight!
Colyn.


I have been trying this route for over 6 years now - so you may have to learn how to wait a little bit longer than two weeks. *Smiles*

But it would be useful if you could keep us informed of your progress with West Wilts.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Jul 06 - 03:21 AM

I have had not time yet to read West Wilts Statement of Local Licensing Policy - to see if there is any mention of the pemitted ratio of walker/dancers to floats. But it is in PDF form on the following...........

http://www.westwiltshire.gov.uk/index/business/business-street-trading-licences/licensingact2003/licensingact2003-licensingpolicy.htm


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 31 Jul 06 - 07:45 AM

I have read the Licensing Statement. Nothing better to do, grumpy old man, retired and obsessive.

Section 2.38 says

"This policy seeks to apply restrictions only where they are necessary, proportionate and reasoanable for promoting the ofour licensing objectives. This policy recognises that unecessary conditions coupld place substantial and reasonable financial burdens on those providing cultural entertainment.
If the Council has, or receives evidence that this policy may be signiifcantly deterring cultural activity, in particular live music,dancing or theatre, then a review of this policy will be considered."

Plain enoughI would have thought.

The council is going against its own policy.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Jul 06 - 10:27 AM

And the The Act's Statutory Guidance states -

Cultural strategies
3.47

Where there is any indication that such events are being deterred by licensing requirements, statements of licensing policy should be re-visited with a view to investigating how the situation might be reversed. Broader cultural activities and entertainment may also be affected.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 01 Aug 06 - 04:52 AM

I have been thinking of starting a "blog" for ages and decided this would be as good as a time as any.

If anyone has any good stories which they think may fit into this blog, feel free to pass them on to me via a PM.

Take a look, and all comments gratefully via the "comments section" or via a PM gratefully received. This includes alterations to my spelling, grammar, and any typos you spot.

http://licensing-folkiedave.blogspot.com/

Dave Eyre


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 01 Aug 06 - 05:15 AM

Sorry, that should have read - here


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Aug 06 - 11:19 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

In a press release entitled 'Red tape in danger of throttling sport', published on 18 July, the Central Council of Physical Recreation (CCPR) cited high licensing costs among its key concerns:

'Despite government assurances that sports clubs would only be marginally affected by the [Licensing] Act, some clubs are reporting costs of more than £1000 to get a licence. Some are even paying licensing costs at levels comparable to those incurred by pubs and wine bars.'

See: http://www.ccpr.org.uk/index.cfm and scroll down

Under the old licensing regime, an alcohol licence cost £30 and lasted three years. Annual entertainment licence fees varied considerably, although in rural areas they were often lower than new the annual 'inspection' fees for medium- to large-size bars. See DCMS fees tables:
http://www.culture.gov.uk/alcohol_and_entertainment/fee_levels.htm

But sports clubs could face more costs if they provide dancing entertainment on the sports ground or pitch itself. Many, if not most, sports grounds will not have a premises licence that authorises music and dancing on the playing area. This problem came to light following reports of a Chinese Lion dance at Sheffield United's ground during half-time at a match on 30 April 2006:
http://www.sufc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/MatchAction/0,,10418~823895,00.html

The pitch was not licensed for dancing and Sheffield City Council was uncertain whether the Act's morris dancing exemption would apply. On 9 May the Council announced that it was advising not just Sheffield United, but all sports grounds to vary their licences if they wished to have on-pitch entertainment. Sheffield United subsequently made a variation application. The fee was £635. Additional costs include 28 days advertisement in the local press and probably legal fees.

The Council is not claiming eye-watering additional charges set out under the Fees Regulations where a premises capacity exceeds 5,000. The basis of the Council position is a convoluted exemption that applies if the premises is 'a structure which is not a vehicle, vessel, or moveable structure; and has been constructed or structurally altered for the purpose, or for purposes which include the purpose, of enabling- (i) the premises to be used for the licensable activities the applicant proposes the licence should authorise...'. [see The Licensing Act 2003 (Fees) Regulations 2005, Part 2, Premises Licences, para 4(5): http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2005/20050079.htm].

This raises the sort of questions which keep lawyers in business for years: is a football pitch 'a structure'? Even if it is, could it be said that it was 'constructed or structurally altered' in any sense to enable on-pitch dancing? Definitive answers are unlikely in the short term, so the Council's position is arguable, if unproven.

According to the Football Licensing Authority (FLA), 40-50% of its 92 premiership or football league grounds have 'cheer-leading troupes' for some or all of their matches. Majorette-style dancers are also popular at Rugby Super League games - the same dancing that was deemed licensable by Trowbridge Carnival Committee last month, and which led to the 'banning' of a local majorette troupe:
http://www.wiltshiretimes.co.uk/news/trowbridgenews/display.var.843961.0.major_upset_for_troupe.php

By contrast, the Notting Hill Carnival street dancers have been granted the morris or similar dancing exemption by the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (RBKC). The exemption only allows unamplified live music to accompany the dancers, however. If the dancers are accompanied by recorded music, then a premises licence or Temporary Event Notice is required.

But what if the recorded music is on a moving vehicle - entertainment on moving vehicles is exempt, after all.

'My advice to the dancers would be "don't dance to the beat of the recorded music"', said one expert licensing lawyer, tongue in cheek of course.
ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Aug 06 - 10:47 AM

The following (today) from West Wiltshire District Council.

Thank you for your recent email concerning the above and in particular participation by majorettes. Please find attached to this email our guidance on the need for the licensing of carnivals. This was produced after taking legal advice.

There is no doubt that musical entertainment or dancing on foot is licensable if it takes place in isolation. Majorettes, and others fall into this group. The guidance revolves around at what point does the licensable activity become 'incidental' to other non licensable activities such as entertainment on a float or someone simply walking in fancy dress.

This is where the 50% comes from. We issued this guidance in April of this year following several enquiries and it has not changed. The recent article in the local paper said that it was the ratio of people, which was incorrect. As you will see from the guidance it is the ratio of entertainment groups, so a majorette 'team' will count as one. Following the newspaper article we have again sent the guidance to all Town Councils in our district to pass on to their carnival committees.


West Wiltshire District Council
Licensing Act 2003
Carnivals
The requirement to licence carnivals

Having taken into account that:
• entertainment on moving vehicles is exempt
• not all of the entertainment on foot would be licensable
• some of the musical entertainment may be incidental to other
entertainment
the following advice to carnival organisers is provided.

Carnivals will only be licensable if:
• The number of entrants that are on foot and providing regulated
entertainment is more than half of the total number of entrants.

The definition of entrant includes a vehicle, a float, an identifiable separate
group of people or an individual providing entertainment of any description
and authorised by the organisers.

• Two distinctly different marching bands, playing different music would
count as two entrants
• All persons on a single vehicle or float would be classed as one entrant
• A collection of people walking in costume would be classed as one
entrant.
• A marching band with majorettes would be classed as one entrant
• An individual robotic dancer, on foot and not associated with any other
group, would be classed as one entrant.

The definitions of regulated entertainment and the list of exemptions, from the
legislation, is attached.

ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 02 Aug 06 - 11:28 AM

It seems the council have ignored the DCMS guidelines and made up their own.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Aug 06 - 11:37 AM

It seems the council have ignored the DCMS guidelines and made up their own.

Yes I have responded to them and pointed that out.

I think this is it - but it less about the objects of the Licensing Act 2003 than an attempt at social engineering:-

If there are 10 entrants in total and 6 are exempt floats. No licenced required for the whole carnival.

The other way around and a licence is required.

It makes a sort of sense to a certain mind-set. But it is bit hard if one group of majorettes has to be left out because their addition would mean the organisers would have to pay. It is hardly their fault as they have no control over the number of floats entered.

Perhaps it is simply the council's way of boosting the number of floats entered to these canivals? If a majorette's mum wants to stop the tears and ensure their group is not excluded - they can always enter a float to change the ratio............


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 02 Aug 06 - 02:57 PM

I had the same reply as Roger - my reply to the council can be viewed on my blog here


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Aug 06 - 11:50 AM

They had a couple of options for the majorettes. 1) Treat is as similar to Morris dancing - thus it is exempt. That's what they have done for the Notting Hill Carnival. 2) License the streets themselves - no cost - as Sheffield have done. That is what the government advises councils to do.

Unless I am missing something - I can't see that carnivals present any real licensing problems to any council who have a real will to enable them. The floats are exempt - any marching band can be exempt as live music that is incidental to the floats and the Morris exemption can cover any dancing that is not on the floats.

This way - there is no licensing section involement at all. Which must be good thing.

I am less happy with Council controlled Premises Licence entertainment permission for the streets themselves as any solution to anything much. I fear that it is just a start of more restrictions.

For I am quite sure that Shieffield's licensing section will have similar small-print 'guidance' to that for carnivals produced by West Wilts - for when and what can take place on the places they hold entertainment permission for.

Perhaps Dave you can establish if this is the case? What for example would be the situation for anyone now just turning up and playing or dancing on areas where these permissions apply?

It would be nice to think that anyone at any time could turn up and entertain where this permission now applies - but I suspect that it will not now be quite that easy in Sheffield. I hope I am wrong.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 03 Aug 06 - 02:34 PM

"What for example would be the situation for anyone now just turning up and playing or dancing on areas where these permissions apply?"

I haven't established this and with good reason. What I can say is that you need permisssion to turn up and play. Nothing has changed - you always did. You can't turn up and play on the streets of Sheffield without permission any more than you can in a pub. Not before the Licensing Act and not after.As far as I am aware this applies to anywhere.

However, some people do just turn up and play. The Chilean/Peruvian bands with amplification do so, buskers do so, and so do all sorts of street performers including morris dancers. Sheffield has been tolerant of this sort of thing for many years. To be honest I don't see this changing.

There is no doubt in my own mind that the licensing people went down this route of licensing the whole of the city centre because they were fed up of being lobbied about events that were taking place in that area without licences and then having to explain to people who contacted them, why their own Outdoor Events Team had failed to apply for one. The effect of this is for it to apply to anyone. They might prosecute the Chilean Folk Groups for playing - but not using the Licensing Act they can't.

The effect has been for example that the Lord Mayor's Parade could go ahead without any further permissions, for the streets themselves are licensed not just pavements and pedestrian areas. That is why I suggested it as a solution to West Wiltshire's problems.

What can be worrying is that I believe other local authorities are charging for using areas which have been given permissions.

I have no chance to establish the full facts of this and as we are in the middle of the Folk Festival season my time is limited and so is those of my correspondents. Before publishing anything along those lines I need to check the facts. Once these are known and checked I shall publish the results in my "blog" here .
x


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 03 Aug 06 - 02:42 PM

Sorry that "x" on the last post was not me blowing kisses but a typo.

For I am quite sure that Sheffield's licensing section will have similar small-print 'guidance' to that for carnivals produced by West Wilts - for when and what can take place on the places they hold entertainment permission for.

Well I am not sure they have. This is a major conurbation - one of the largest in the UK. Believe me they have many more problems concerning the Licensing Act than having to worry about "regulated entertainment".

So far they have shown a liberated attitude towards most things, refusing to prosecute when they could easily have done so. They have been very tolerant about garden fetes for example - one I certainly know about was told to go ahead when it would have been just as easy to tell them they would need a licence.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Aug 06 - 07:00 AM

The effect has been for example that the Lord Mayor's Parade could go ahead without any further permissions, for the streets themselves are licensed not just pavements and pedestrian areas.

There have always been bye-laws and atempts at local licensing and restrictions on busking etc - I am more interested in any that have been introduced as a result of any Council's taking the route suggested in the Act's Statutory Guidance. That of them obtaining Premises Licensing Permission for public places.

Could you and I just go ahead and orgainise our own carnival parade on these (licensed) streets?

And what would be the situation if we were to do this on (what I assume to be the the majority of) Sheffield's streets that are not licensed by Sheffield Council?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 04 Aug 06 - 08:54 AM

Could you and I just go ahead and organise our own carnival parade on these (licensed) streets?

No Roger we couldn't. We never could and the Licensing Act 2003 has made no difference to this. We never could and we can't now because we need permission - in the same way as we always have. Once we have permission we can.

If there is a parade in Sheffield - let's say a protest parade against the Licencing Act - and we hire a brass band - then so long as we have permission to parade no-one could be prosecuted under the Licensing Act. The streets are licensed. In a very wide area where sensible people would want to have the parade - to maximise the parade's impact. It covers all the pedestrian precincts in town and when they did this they also licensed numerous parks for the same reason, to make it dead easy for people to have "regulated entertainment".

And what would be the situation if we were to do this on (what I assume to be the the majority of) Sheffield's streets that are not licensed by Sheffield Council?

Well, for many parts of the City of Sheffield especially outside he ring road, you wouldn't want to have a parade without permission. You would be run over by traffic. (I speak as one who once took part in a Parade down O'Connell St. Dublin with no traffic cancelled. Not an experience I would like to repeat).

But I have taken part in the Lord Mayor's parade for the last fifteen years or so in Sheffield. I have also been on lots of protest marches over a period of forty years - I have never known one that took place outside this area.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Snuffy
Date: 04 Aug 06 - 09:14 AM

Could you and I just go ahead and organise our own carnival parade on these (licensed) streets?

Could you and I just go ahead and orgainise our own event in the (licensed) Royal Albert Hall? Or in my (licensed) village pub?

The answer in all cases is the same - not without the permission of the owner. The fact that the "premises" are licensed does not give the right to all and sundry to put on entertainment there without the knowledge or consent of the rightful occupier.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Aug 06 - 02:01 PM

The fact that the "premises" are licensed does not give the right to all and sundry to put on entertainment there without the knowledge or consent of the rightful occupier.

I am sure they have asked the consent of the poor sods who do occupy these streets in their cardboard boxes.

But thank you for making my point. The public licensing of streets and open areas - as if they were premises that did have occupiers and licencees - has only increased restrictions on entertainment that can take place there.

But without this afterthought being introduced (in the Guidance) - the words of the Act would have actually prevented most of it (like travelling circus and Punch and Judy shows) altogether.   

As far as I am aware and I am sure that I will be corrected if I am wrong - the moving vehicle exemption was an old one (like the one for garden fetes) that also applied to PELs and would have enabled carnival floats to be exempt.

If this is the case - as long as our procession was comprised only of floats - they would not have needed licensing permission. Now that (some of) Sheffield's streets have Premises Licence entertainmemt permission - we would have to abide by any restriction that the council wish to place............


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 04 Aug 06 - 04:11 PM

But thank you for making my point. The public licensing of streets and open areas - as if they were premises that did have occupiers and licencees - has only increased restrictions on entertainment that can take place there

Nothing posted by either myself or by snuffy has made your point at all. Far from it. The licensing of some of the streets of Sheffield has made no difference whatsoever to how much music is made on those streets. The fact that you fail to understand and/or disagree with the point we make does not make it invalid.

As for it being an afterthought how do you know? And anyway if it had not been in the Guidance which as you know has no statutory function, what was to stop a council licensing streets or other open spaces?

As far as I am aware and I am sure that I will be corrected if I am wrong - the moving vehicle exemption was an old one (like the one for garden fetes) that also applied to PELs and would have enabled carnival floats to be exempt

You are - as far as I know - wrong. The moving vehicle exemption was included specifically to allow the Notting Hill Carnival to go ahead.
That came from a civil servant involved with the drafting of the legislation.

There is no mention of moving vehicles in previous PEL legislation that I can find.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Willa
Date: 04 Aug 06 - 04:15 PM

See this article http://www.thisishull.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=136730&command=displayContent&sourceNode=136541&contentPK=15062751&folderPk=79656


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Willa
Date: 04 Aug 06 - 04:18 PM

Link: hope it works this time!http://www.thisishull.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=136730&command=displayContent&sourceNode=136541&contentPK=15062751&folderPk=7
Last few paragraphs are relevant.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Aug 06 - 06:41 PM

The fact that you fail to understand and/or disagree with the point we make does not make it invalid.

Under the Act, everywhere can now be considered as licensable premises. This is a general increase on where licensing was applicable before.

The simple point being made is that when a council obtains Premises Licence entertainment permission for its open places - it is a practical fact (resulting from the above) - that the general licensing restrictions are increased and not reduced.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 05 Aug 06 - 06:20 AM

Your question originally was - could you and I hold a parade on (the newly licensed) Sheffield's streets?

That was answered twice once by me, and once by snuffy - no we can't without permission. That hasn't changed and is not different to before the Licensing Act 2003. If we have permission we can, if we don't have permission we can't.

It is identical all over the country including those parts of the country to which the Licensing Act does no apply - like Scotland and Norhern Ireland.

Now, is there a new question?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Aug 06 - 06:28 AM

The simple point is that now - Sheffield council are now effectively the licensees for some of their streets.

As such (as pointed out by Snuffy) ) as the licensee they can make any rule, restriction and demand that they choose for what entertainment does or does not take place on their now licensed premises.

As the licensee imposing rules for their own licensed premises - they can NOW come up with the sort of local guidelines and quotas, like the one for carnivals, dreamed- up by West Wilts.

Also I can now see nothing preventing Shefield council, at some point from imposing a further charge on anyone wishing to hold entertainment on what are now their licenced premises - can you?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 06 Aug 06 - 06:49 AM

Maybe I'm missing something but, shambles, as far as I can see, the only difference the licensing act has made is that Sheffield have licenced the streets to enable events that previously required no licence. As such, the councils I would be more concerned about would be ones that have not licenesed thier streets as presumably an entertainment licence would be needed for certain events IN ADDITION to the permision from the council they would need anyway.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 06 Aug 06 - 08:45 AM

Thank you Guest Jon, I was beginning to think it was me!!

The simple point is not
as the licensee they can make any rule, restriction and demand that they choose for what entertainment does or does not take place on their now licensed premises


The simple point is as the owner (and as any other individual and organisation), they always could, and I cannot see what more I can say to try and convince you that as far as that is concerned NOTHING HAS CHANGED. It is called "giving permission".

Also I can now see nothing preventing Sheffield council, at some point from imposing a further charge on anyone wishing to hold entertainment on what are now their licenced premises - can you?

They always could charge. As far as I am aware they didn't charge to have a parade, but they could. For a number of years they have charged temporary stall holders at craft, famers, and continental markets. They charge permanent stall holders on the area known as the Moor, and the kiosks in the area known as Castle Square. I for one am glad they do make these charges - it helps to keep down the council tax charge. I wouldn't agree with them charging to have a parade but I certainly can't stop them and the Licensing Act has not changed that.

Now if after me and other people have tried to explain the concept of "permission" to you - failing to do so as I freely admit - would you be kind enough to explain to myself and the others why you believe you do not need permisssion to arrange a parade of any sort, on the streets of Sheffield, Weymouth - or of any other town?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 06 Aug 06 - 09:05 AM

as the licensee they can make any rule, restriction and demand that they choose for what entertainment does or does not take place on their now licensed premises

I suppose it is a bit like a pub really!! Or do you know licensees that have abrogated that right?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 06 Aug 06 - 02:15 PM

I wrote to the Wiltshire Times about their decision to ban majorettes and they were kind enough to publish it. Anyone who wishes to, can read it here


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Aug 06 - 05:41 PM

I suppose it is a bit like a pub really!! Or do you know licensees that have abrogated that right?

Exactly.

For we can always rely on the fact that a pub has vested interest in providing some form of entertainment - having applied for permission to do just that. And attracting people to be entertained that is their main and only object. The whole Act relies on such a structure.

We cannot rely on this when the licensee of the premises is the local council. What we can rely on is lots of conflicting interest and lots of different committees and more local restrictions. Even more red tape - the very opposite of what the Act was supposed to do.

If a pub licensee did not want to stage one form of entertainment - hopefully we could find another who would. If a local council decides not to do this for some of their streets and open areas - as the Premise Licence holder is perfectly entitled to do - that is it - there is nowhere else to go - is there?

Whereas if the council had prevented cutural activities - as the local Licensing Authority - the Statutory Guidance to the Act requires them to re-visit the Local Licensing Policy that had deterred it.

The Act's Statutory Guidance states -

Cultural strategies
3.47

Where there is any indication that such events are being deterred by licensing requirements, statements of licensing policy should be re-visited with a view to investigating how the situation might be reversed. Broader cultural activities and entertainment may also be affected.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 06 Aug 06 - 06:33 PM

You are beginning to argue with yourself in the same post. This can go no further.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Aug 06 - 08:21 PM

You appear to be arguing that the situation now - where some councils are obtaining Premises Licences entertainment permission and becoming in effect the licensee for some of their open areas - is better or at least no worse than it was before.

We must beg to differ - as I consider this 'patch-up' will prove to be far worse and for the reasons I have stated.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 06 Aug 06 - 08:55 PM

You appear to be arguing that the situation now - where some councils are obtaining Premises Licences entertainment permission and becoming in effect the licensee for some of their open areas - is better or at least no worse than it was before.


Shambles, whether the streets are licensed for entertainment or not makes no difference to the council's "ownership". They could say yes or no before and they can say yes or no now.

The fact that they are licensed does nothing other than making the staging of an event covered by the act easier. It makes more sense than the same hoops being jumped through for each and every event doesn't it?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 02:14 AM

The fact that they are licensed does nothing other than making the staging of an event covered by the act easier. It makes more sense than the same hoops being jumped through for each and every event doesn't it?

Not really - and I have explained why.

This is a half-baked idea to try and get around the effects of the Act's - intitial at least - catch-all approach. By making any place in effect a premise where entertainment permission was required. It is that approach that has resulted in some councils taking this course.

I am sure that many find this attractive and are taking this course for all the wrong reasons. As the licensee, they will now have total control over what entertainment does or does not take place. As any restrictions do not have to follow any safeguards contained in the Licensing Act or its Statutory Guidance - if they, as the licensee decide they do not want a form of entertainment - it will not happen. If they, as the licensee decide to charge for others for using - what for licensing purposes are now their premises - I can see very little to stop them.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 04:42 AM

The problem - Guest Jon is that Roger cannot understand what you are saying because he has his own agenda and insists on sticking to it often flying in the face of common sense, and facts.

Roger - for the very last time.

What you can do or not do on the streets of Sheffield is not affected by those streets being licensed. It is affected by permission.

As for your prediction that they may charge for such a permisssion or place restrictions on what we can do there - well they always have charged for use of the streets and they always have restricted what you can do there so they may do so for this. We hand this control as part of democracy. If we do not like what they do we can elect a new council.

Are the streets of your town licensed for regulated entertainment?

Following your logic you would not want them to be licensed, thus restricting opportunities for music making on the streets of Weymouth.

At least your agenda is now in the open, stop music making on the streets.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 11:09 AM

Dave your determination to turn every small difference of opinion on this issue into a personal dispute is tiresome. It is also needlessly confusing when what is needed is to inform.

As you are of course fully aware - we do remain on the side of live music.

Sadly many of have found out that our council's machinery is not.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 12:43 PM

We?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 07:43 AM

Readers of this thread bored by the squabbling between Roger and myself may fine a little light-hearted relief on my "blog".

Latest items include Oldham Council who haven't issued one single licence yet (!!!) and Hull Council who haven't yet published even a draft "Statement of Licensing Policy".

Both are in breach of the Licensing Act of course.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Billy Suggers
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 08:20 AM

.. this of course means that Hull Councillors and Officials are prohibited from the following activities until they can demonstrate Compliance with the Act:

1. Drinking

2. Being in receipt of any entertainment whatsoever in whatever form, forum or media (Except as organised by Mr R Murdoch)

.. does this account for the noticeably Glum Official Demeanor I wonder?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 08:30 AM

The same obviously applies to Oldham since there is nowhere licensed for them TO drink!!


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 07:05 PM

It may be that despite my request saying "Licensing Act 2003, that Hull have got it mixed up with the Gambling Act. I will reserve judgement.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 09 Aug 06 - 02:29 PM

It turns out that Hull did not know the difference between the Gambling Act 2005 (for which they don't need one yet) and the Licensing Act 2003 - for which they do.

Bet you a drink they don't - bet you a drink they do.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 09 Aug 06 - 02:40 PM

Need a Licensing Statement that is......

Read my blogspot - folk music and licensing..

http://licensing-folkiedave.blogspot.com/


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Aug 06 - 02:12 AM

Few would argue that licensees have been able to ban members of the public they do not want from their licensed premises. And as long as the reasons for this are not on racial grounds etc - the reasons for this are up to them.

I can see no reason preventing councils who have obtained licensing permission for some of their streets - and now acting as the new licensees of these streets - from placing bans on individuals and activities in those streets.

This has implications far removed from concerns only about entertainment. But now a busker (or anyone) can effectivly be banned from just being on these streets by the licensee (the council).


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Aug 06 - 04:45 AM

I thought we had finished this Roger.

I take it you will not be supporting any moves on the part of your home town to license the streets and any open spaces on the grounds that they will then control them.

Yes you will support or no you will not support. It really is that easy.

can see no reason preventing councils who have obtained licensing permission for some of their streets - and now acting as the new licensees of these streets - from placing bans on individuals and activities in those streets.

Neither can I see any reason why they cannot do this. So on that point we are agreed.

But they always could. Do not agree that is true? Please would you be kind enough to explain the reason(s)why you believe that?

Aside from this other readers may care to look at my blog at http://licensing-folkiedave.blogspot.com/

All news of the idiocies of local councils or the DCMS gratefully received and published.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 10 Aug 06 - 05:59 AM

This has implications far removed from concerns only about entertainment. But now a busker (or anyone) can effectivly be banned from just being on these streets by the licensee (the council).

Buskers have never had an outright right to play on the street. Under this new act, a busker would have far more problems if the streets were unlicenced.

Don't get me wrong, I do not like the new act and I do fear for live music. I'm not however going to knock attempts to make areas useable for live entertainment by licensing the streets.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Aug 06 - 11:23 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

The note advising that changes had been made to a minister's quote in the controversial DCMS MORI live music survey press release has now been restored:
http://www.culture.gov.uk/Reference_library/Press_notices/archive_2004/dcms110_04.htm

The rider still fails to mention that the Market Research Society decision, which found the original quote misleading, included a recalculation of the live gig estimate for 'bars, clubs and restaurants' as 1.3 million.

As far as I am aware DCMS still claims that the 1.7m live gig estimate (which covers the survey's seven venue categories) indicates a 'flourishing' live music scene, even though MORI found that the majority of venues surveyed had no live music, and only 19% overall had two or more live gigs a month.

DCMS has refused two Freedom of Information Act requests to disclose their correspondence with MORI over the wording of this press release. They claim the exemption that applies where disclosure would inhibit 'free and frank discussions' between ministers and their advisers (s.36(2)(b)(i) and (ii)). But, in arguing this exemption, DCMS has to show that the public interest in keeping the information secret outweighs the public interest in disclosure. Based on their correspondence, I do not believe they have succeeded in this and I am therefore making a complaint to the Information Commissioner.

The controversial 'flourishing' claim has attracted the attention of many independent professional statisticians, one of whom has provided me with a statement in support of my submission to the Information Commissioner. In relation to the flourishing claim and the 1.7m live gig statistic it states: 'This is difficult to interpret as there is no objective definition of what constitutes a "flourishing music scene". While at first sight the figure of 1.7m gigs in the previous year sounds impressive, this is just 33,000 per week, compared with the estimated total population of over 53 million living in England and Wales in mid 2004'.

In short, more evidence that the claim was political.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Aug 06 - 11:34 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

Do you find the new live music law aggravating? Could you suggest ways to simplify the law 'without damaging the core aim of the regulation'?

If the answer is yes, then the Department for Culture, Media and Sport want to hear from you. Email: simplicity@culture.gsi.gov.uk

DCMS will feed responses into their 'Simplicity Plan' - a set of proposals that the Department intends to publish in November which it believes 'will reduce the burden of legislation whilst maintaining its regulatory purpose'.

Those carefully chosen words tend to imply that whatever the law's regulatory purpose might be, it must be necessary. But where the new Licensing Act is concerned, this is not always the case.

Even now, in terms of the licensing objectives, the only reason DCMS gives for abolishing the 'two in a bar rule' is that it 'failed to protect local residents from noise nuisance'. But DCMS has never explained why separate noise legislation doesn't do the job properly.

In October, local authorities get extra powers to control noise in licensed premises between 11pm and 7am (Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act). That is in addition to their powers under the Environmental Protection Act to confiscate noisy equipment immediately (including musical instruments), and issue pre-emptive or reactive noise abatement notices, breach of which is a criminal offence. Noise abatement notices have been used by local authorities to stop noise from West End shows (Camden, 'Umoja', 2002) to lone buskers (Westminster City Council vs Bruno McDonald, also 2002).

Dave Eyre's excellent blog 'Folk music and licensing' has a very interesting entry on the noise issue today:
http://licensing-folkiedave.blogspot.com/

For more on the DCMS 'Simplicity Plan' see:
http://www.culture.gov.uk/working_with_us/better_regulations/ (scroll down to 'Calling for simplification measures')


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Sep 06 - 11:15 AM

The following is a link to a guide to licensees, on how to stage live music in pubs from The Publican.

http://www.thepublican.com/story.asp?sectioncode=6&storycode=52678


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Sep 06 - 12:29 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

Readers of the latest Musicians Union newsletter for 12,000 London members ('London News', Autumn 2006) could be forgiven for concluding that MU research suggests that London venues have benefited from the new Licensing Act.

Strangely, however, there is no mention of several well-documented London jazz gigs lost, postponed or needlessly restricted as a result of the new law. These have been widely reported by MU members, including top UK-trumpeter Henry Lowther who lost a summer season of gigs at the Garden Cafe in Regents Park (royal parks are no longer exempt as they were under the old licensing regime). There was also the five-month postponement of the Monday night jazz at the Sir Richard Steele in Haverstock Hill (since reinstated, but with a new 'two in a bar' restriction), and weekly jazz sessions cancelled at La Brocca in Hampstead and the Old China Hand in Clerkenwell.

Under the heading 'Live', Jo Laverty, the MU Gigs and Venues official for London, reports on 'further research' into members' responses to the union's December 2005 licensing survey. 'It appeared that whilst perception of the Act was unfavourable, this was not substantiated in the feedback', she writes. 'Further research showed that of the venues mentioned only five had either faced problems or stopped promoting live music altogether as a direct result of the changes in licensing, whilst eight venues were mentioned as having started to promote live music since the new regime has taken effect.'

Ms Laverty acknowledges that only 64 London members actually returned survey forms to the union - just 0.5% of the London membership. But she does not mention that she was unable to contact at least 26 of the 64 survey respondents, and that the follow-up research is therefore based on an even smaller sample: about 0.3% of the London membership.

Nor does she provide any evidence to support members' claims that venues said to have started or stopped live music had actually done so as a result of the new law. My own enquiries suggest that, at best, up to three of the venues alleged to have started live music genuinely resulted from the change in licensing legislation. In any case, the sample size of London members is too small to draw statistically robust conclusions.

Having omitted well-documented examples of gigs lost due to the new law, it is ironic that Ms Laverty goes on to say: 'Whilst being keen to report the good news we do not wish to skim over those pubs and venues who are still experiencing frustrations and setbacks in applying for their [live music] variations'. However, she does confirm that a new 'State of the Nation' follow-up questionnaire is imminent, and invites feedback from venue owners and MU members 'so we can compile full and accurate information to feed back to the government': jl1@musiciansunion.org.uk

Almost two thirds of the remaining page-long article is dedicated to reports of two venues where the provision of live music has apparently increased: the Old Blue Last pub in the East End, and the Phoenix Cinema in Finchley. Neither are new live music venues, but they are presented as examples of where the new entertainment licensing legislation has 'opened up new opportunities'.

As the article acknowledges, the Old Blue Last had already been hosting two-in-a-bar gigs. It was bought in 2004 by Vice Magazine, and now has live music '6 to 7 nights a week' (pop and rock). The cinema had held a 'live music licence for some time' but can now stay open till midnight Sunday to Thursday and 1am Friday and Saturday. This is hardly the 'explosion in live music' promised by ministers. But then the focus on 'positive stories' was recommended by Ms Laverty under the heading 'Follow up' in her original report (first produced in April).

Matt Elek, associate publisher at Vice Magazine, told me yesterday that it was a 'happy coincidence' that their development of the Old Blue Last as a live music venue occurred at the same time as the implementation of the new Licensing Act. He also said that the live music helped fill the pub on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Bars without a live music permission will find, however, that getting an authorisation for live music now is likely to be more costly and bureaucratic than it was to get a public entertainment licence under the old licensing regime.

ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Sep 06 - 01:19 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

As I reported yesterday, the latest Musicians Union newsletter for 12,000 London members ('London News', Autumn 2006), focused on two venues that had, they claimed, increased live music as a result of the new Licensing Act: the Old Blue Last pub in the East End, and the Phoenix Cinema in Finchley. Venues where jazz gigs had been lost as a result of the Act were not mentioned.

A quick check with the Phoenix Cinema confirmed the MU claim: as a result of being able to open later, the cinema has increased live music. So far so good.

However, it seems the MU got it badly wrong with the Old Blue Last.

In the newsletter, MU official Jo Laverty claimed: 'Since the [licensing] changes it is no longer just a pub but is now firmly on the map as one of London's more exciting live music venues. Many of you have fond memories (certainly some of us in the office do) of having played the Old Blue Last in previous years. Although formerly without a Public Entertainment Licence (PEL) the pub regularly utilised the previous 'two in a bar' exemption...'

Ms Laverty and other MU officers must have short memories. Hackney's licensing department confirmed this morning that the pub held a PEL continuously from at least 1995 to 2005, when it lapsed. So, if the pub was utilising the 'two in a bar' exemption at all, it would have only been for a few months between the lapse of the last PEL and 24 November 2005 when the new laws came into force.

Indeed, shortly after I sent out yesterday's update, two musicians told me that the Old Blue Last had been a thriving gig venue for bands (not just duos) for many years. In their own words, and with their permission:

'... The Old Blue Last has been a music venue for years: - as long as I've lived in London. It used to be one of the regular East End pubs that I played in in the 80s, and certainly had live bands (not just duos) until relatively recently.'
Gavin Scott

'Interestingly enough The Old Blue Last had a full music licence since it started doing music in the early 70s. I played there till about 3 years ago as an occasional weekend dep and the band size was usually a 6 or 7 piece, including singers, and everyone was on guaranteed pub rates (ie in the old days £40 per gig).'
Geoff Castle

The current owners of the pub made it clear to me yesterday that plans for the development of the venue began before they knew about the new licensing laws. It is also now clear that it has been a regular band venue for years. Whether or not the venue is now 'more exciting' may be debateable, but is nothing to do with the new Licensing Act.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 07:54 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

This week's Stage newspaper (Wed 20 September 2006) reports that the Musicians Union has rejected a motion, signed by 112 members, to oppose the Licensing Act '...as far as it affects casual gigs and the associated employment of musicians in small venues'.

See: http://www.thestage.co.uk/news/newsstory.php/14184/mu-criticised-for-refusing-to-challenge

Apparently the union fears that if it opposes the legislation ministers and civil servants will give it the cold shoulder.

But, in any case, the union now believes that there is a 'widely acknowledged boom in live music in the UK'.

This is very strange. Only two months ago MU General Secretary John Smith, reporting on the union's research into the impact of licensing changes, said: 'But we do believe that there is a marked drop in live music in smaller venues, especially the ones that previously benefitted from the "two or fewer performers" exemption under the old PEL system, and we are attempting to clarify the position in London'. ['Musician', Summer 2006 - the in-house journal for MU members].

The Autumn 2006 issue of the MU's 'London News' subsequently named only two London venues that they said benefitted from licensing changes - and one of these turned out to have been a long-standing band venue (the Old Blue Last pub). Several jazz venues where gigs had been lost or cancelled due to the new legislation went unreported.

The union seems to have forgotten that during the 1990s it lobbied both the Conservative and Labour governments for entertainment licensing reform, especially with regard to the 'two in a bar rule' as it applied to pubs and bars. Clearly, this was not done because live gigs in that sector were thriving. It was done because, since the early 1980s when local authorities took over entertainment licensing from magistrates, there were persistent reports from members and MU officers of band gigs lost due to rising licence costs and red tape. I am not aware of any evidence that new venues offset these losses. It would seem that this long decline must now be swept under the carpet.
ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Oct 06 - 12:23 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has postponed publication of MORI's second round of live music research.

MORI was due to make a presentation to the Live Music Forum (LMF) about three weeks ago, but DCMS also cancelled this at short notice. A DCMS spokesperson explained:

'...our decision to postpone the presentation by MORI on the live music survey was based on our desire to ensure that the data were subject to suitable quality assurance procedures, compared with and contrasted to evidence from complementary data sources, and accompanied by adequate interpretation and commentary. This would not have been possible had we stuck to our original plan. Our decision was in accordance with the principles set out in the Protocol on Release Practices and, in particular, the condition that accompanying commentary and analysis should be judged to be fit for purpose.'

Could this be mandarin-speak for 'the data doesn't look good'? We should know in December, when DCMS now 'expect' to publish the latest MORI findings.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
On 24 November the Licensing Act will have been in force for one year. Ministers said it would be 'much better' for live music, but evidence to support their optimism, particularly for live music as a secondary activity in pubs, bars and restaurants, has so far failed to materialise.

Without a live music permission on their new premises licence, pubs, bars and restaurants are restricted to 12 gigs a year under the Temporary Event Notice scheme, and 'incidental music'. Under the old regime such venues could host one or two musicians if and when desired without an entertainment licence. One key indicator of the merit, or otherwise, of ministers' claims will be the proportion that have a live music permission. My own view is that the national figure may be around 50%. DCMS could have obtained accurate data from local authorities months ago - but, if they have, they are keeping quiet about it.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Despite extensive enquiries of its 31,000 members, as far as I am aware the Musicians Union (MU) has yet to publish the name of any venue that has started live music for the first time as a result of the new Act. About a month ago it did publish the names of two venues in London that had increased their provision of live music, but omitted to mention several well-documented examples of gigs lost.

A second round of MU research, currently underway, may yet provide more evidence one way or the other. The MU has also so far failed to publish any evidence in support of its claim that live music is currently 'booming' in the UK, a claim made in their letter of 12 September rejecting a motion signed by 112 members. The motion called on the union to oppose the Licensing Act as it applied to casual gigs and members' employment in small venues (see my circular of 21 September 2006).
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Meanwhile...

Feargal Sharkey is putting the final touches to the LMF report on the Licensing Act, including recommendations for improvement. This is due for presentation to ministers by the end of the year. On 24 April, Feargal said of this report '... if [the] government accept all of our recommendations I will be slightly disappointed coz it might be an indication that we weren't thinking radically enough.' [BBC Radio 1 Live Music Debate]
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Better Regulation Commission (BRC) is currently seeking clarification from DCMS on what the Department proposes to do in response to the BRC's criticisms of the Act and its implementation, including specifically the 'incidental music' exemption. On 10 April, the BRC published a report that was strongly critical of the Licensing Act's implementation:
http://www.brc.gov.uk/publications/licensingact2003.asp

----------------------------------------------------------------------
DCMS has almost completed its 'simplification plan', which may include proposals for cutting licensing red-tape - but don't hold your breath. See:
http://www.culture.gov.uk/working_with_us/better_regulations/

The plan should be published in November. All government departments must produce a simplification plan as part of the government's promise to cut red tape and unnecessary regulation.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) has published a 'Music Manifesto'. Among other things it seeks to 'put singing back at the heart of all primary school musical activity through the creation of nationwide singing campaign leading up to the 2012 Olympics': See:
http://www.musicmanifesto.co.uk/news/details/Government-Welcomes-Manifesto-Recommendations/18788

The Manifesto doesn't mention the Licensing Act once, as far as I can tell using Adobe Acrobat search. This must be an oversight. Performance is a key part of music education, and where performance is public, the entertainment licensing implications must be considered.

Such an omission is all the more strange because Marc Jaffrey, Music Manifesto Champion, has been an observer at the LMF since its inception. He should be well aware that schools, and any other place that is not specifially exempt, must be licensed for public performances, and for private performances if these are raising money for charity, or otherwise seeking to make a profit.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) launched its new fire safety legislation on 01 October: http://www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1162101

The relevance to entertainment licensing that it disapplies fire safety conditions imposed on premises licences. See Article 43 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005:
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2005/20051541.htm#43
----------------------------------------------------------------------
New powers should have come into force this month to control noisy licensed premises between 11pm and 7am. In June the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced that the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act would give local authorities the power to issue on-the-spot fines of up to £500 to those responsible:
http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2006/060628d.htm
Defra was unable to confirm today whether these powers had actually come into effect.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Oct 06 - 12:26 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

Yesterday I reported that the Musicians Union (MU) was doing follow-up research into the impact of the Licensing Act. Having now seen their latest survey questionnaire, I do not see how this alone could yield any robust conclusions about the effect of the Act on members' employment. There are several key problems:

1. Like its predecessor, the survey asks members about venues that have stopped or started promoting live music this year. As with the first survey, the union had subsequently to check members' claims. This involved contacting those members that had identified venues, and then contacting the venues themselves. It turned out that much of the information that members had originally provided was unreliable. The union will have to do that follow-up work again with this second survey.

2. The proportion of members who returned the first survey questionnaire was extremely low: about 3% nationally, and only a fraction of 1 per cent in the case of the London region. This is too low to allow statistically robust conclusions. The return rate of this second survey would have to improve significantly to change this.

3. In this second survey, respondents have to say 'yes' to further contact from the union. Many will not tick that box, further limiting the final sample size of those whose claims about venues that have started or stopped promoting live music as a result of the Act can be validated.

4. The second survey includes questions that may reveal members' perception of the Act's impact on live music, but that is not hard evidence of gigs lost or gained directly as a result of the Act.

It would have been better to combine research into members' perceptions of the Act with checks on the public licensing registers of a sample of local authorities. Public licensing registers should show all premises with a live music permission, and how many Temporary Event Notices for live music have been applied for and granted. This could have been compared with public entertainment licence data in the same area from previous years, which the councils will hold. There is still time for the union to do this before DCMS publishes the latest MORI live music findings.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Oct 06 - 09:48 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

In my circular of Wed 25 October I mentioned the government's Music Manifesto, which recommends a 'nationwide singing campaign', but is strangely silent about entertainment licensing implications.

Robin Bynoe, Senior Counsel at Charles Russell LLP, 8-10 New Fetter Lane, London EC4, got back to me with the following comments (reproduced with his permission):
'Interesting about the Music Manifesto. Marc Jaffrey, the 'Music Manifesto Champion', knows all about the effects of the Act on live music because I was at a meeting with him when it was discussed.

'Governments always introduce proposals for more singing when they want to divert money earmarked for instrumental teaching - in this case presumably in the direction of the Olympics, which are already hoovering up half the sponsorship money that previously went into arts and education. No expensive instruments needed. Mrs Thatcher first came up with that idea.'

Link to the Department for Education and Skills Music Manifesto press release of 18 October:
http://www.musicmanifesto.co.uk/news/details/Government-Welcomes-Manifesto-Recommendations/18


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Nov 06 - 12:01 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall

Malcolm Moss, Conservative MP for North East Cambridgeshire, yesterday tabled some questions for written answer concerning the DCMS delay in publishing the latest MORI live music research. See copies below.

Government departments should respond within 20 working days, but sometimes take longer. Mr Moss led on licensing for the Conservatives in the Commons when the Licensing Act was a Bill, 2002-3, and spoke strongly against the government's none-in-a-bar proposals. He remains a shadow minister on licensing, tourism and gambling.

Mr Moss's questions were prompted in part by a recent DCMS announcement that, along with certain DCMS staff, two members of the Live Music Forum (LMF), Feargal Sharkey and Musicians' Union General Secretary John Smith, will have privileged early sight of the draft DCMS/MORI research report before its likely publication in December.

Apparently, in the case of Sharkey and Smith, this is for the purpose of 'quality assuring... the supporting context and interpretation... and for identifying further analysis which draft report may raise.' See DCMS statement:
http://www.culture.gov.uk/Reference_library/Research/research_by_dcms/live_music_exec_summary.htm

It is unclear why the rest of the LMF should be excluded from this process, or in what way Feargal Sharkey and John Smith are qualified to 'quality assure' the 'supporting context and interpretation' of the research data.

~ ~ ~

Commons - Questions for Written Answer Tuesday 31 October 2006:
37. Mr Malcolm Moss (North East Cambridgeshire): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, when the MORI research into live music commissioned by her Department will be published; and why the MORI presentation to the Live Music Forum on its research was cancelled. (98718)

See http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmordbk1/61031w01.htm

Commons - Questions for Written Answer Wednesday 01 November 2006:
97. Mr Malcolm Moss (North East Cambridgeshire) To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, when her Department will be making Ipsos-MORI's research on the impact of the new licensing legislation on live music available to the (a) Live Music Forum, (b) Musicians Union and (c) general public. (98941)

98. Mr Malcolm Moss (North East Cambridgeshire): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, for what reason certain members of the Live Music Forum previewed the Ipsos-MORI research recently commissioned by her Department; and what criteria were used in inviting such participation. (98942)

See: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmordbk2/61101o01.htm and scroll down.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Nov 06 - 09:53 AM

The Following from Hamish Birchall.

In terms, the current MU position on the Licensing Act is that to justify lobbying for reform they need hard evidence of a significant negative impact on members - and so far they haven't found it. Moreover, union officers have recently claimed that the UK is currently experiencing a 'widely acknowledged boom in live music'.

This position is untenable for the following reasons:

In 2000, the union published research into members' freelance work opportunities. The 60-page report, entitled 'Nice Work - If You Can Get it!', was based on 3,000 questionnaires completed by MU members in December 1998. It included a foreword by Mick Hucknall. The data analysis was done by academics then based at the University of Westminster: Norton York and Dave Laing. Former culture minister Janet Anderson was the star attraction at the MU's press launch held in the Wigmore Hall on 05 July 2000.

According to the report's Introduction, the research was commissioned in response to a motion passed at the MU's 1997 Conference which asked the Executive Committee: 'to initiate and fund research into the massive decline in freelance work opportunities of all kinds, both in the media and in all other areas of casual engagements, and asks the Executive Committee to formulate policies that will help musicians collectively to improve their employment prospects.'

Nice Work's Executive Summary included these key findings:

'The vast majority of musicians are freelance/self-employed'
'Only 18% earned more than £20,000 - the [then] national average wage' and
'Musicians' employment has been severely affected by legislation on Public Entertainment licences (which places financial penalties on premises employing more than two musicians).'

In the section quoting members' comments, p19, it noted: 'There is a clear desire among musicians that government reconsiders this whole issue to enable more venues to afford a PEL and to expand work opportunities for freelance musicians.' [My emphasis]

In this context, the current MU position on licensing seems perverse.
ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Nov 06 - 11:43 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

The 'none in a bar rule' is one year old today.

In a lengthy DCMS press release yesterday, licensing minister Shaun Woodward said there were 'encouraging signs that the new licensing laws are having a positive impact' - but he was talking about alcohol. There was not one reference to live music.
See: http://www.culture.gov.uk/Reference_library/Press_notices/archive_2006/DCMS148_06.htm

In 2005, former licensing minister James Purnell said he thought the Act would be much better for live music (Jeremy Vine interview, BBC Radio 2, Tue 19 July 2005). However, so far there is no evidence to back this claim, which may account for the absence of live music in yesterday's DCMS announcement. Last month DCMS postponed publication of MORI's latest live music research, which focuses on small venues, fuelling speculation that the picture is not rosy.

The first round of DCMS/MORI live music research in 2004 found that most bars and restaurants had no live music at all. Across all venue categories, including church and community halls and members clubs, the research found only 19% of venues had live music twice or more per month. It also found that the more licensees knew about the new Licensing Act the less likely they were to host live music in future.

It was local authorities who lobbied, successfully, for the 'none in a bar rule'. Now London councils are lobbying the government to introduce an extra annual licence fee of up to £125 just for having live music.

The rationale, set out in a London Councils report to the DCMS licence fee review panel in June this year, is that live music is 'a plausible source of objections'. Live music is the only entertainment identified. Other factors identified as justifying extra annual fees include the size of the venue, whether it is mainly for alcohol consumption, and how late it opens.

Complaints about live music, councils claim, can lead to extra costs for local authorities. ['Alternative Approaches to Licensing Fees', A paper by Local Government Futures Ltd, for the Association of London Government, June 2006, para 87. See London Councils 'fairer fees' press release, 19 September 2006:
http://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/doc.asp?doc=18262&cat=2423 Scroll down for the link to the alternative fees report.]

Curiously, there is no mention of complaints about recorded music, or disorder quite often associated with big screen sport in bars. And what about the phrase 'plausible source of complaint'? Does this mean they think live music may lead to extra enforcement costs, or is there hard evidence that it does?

Yesterday I asked several London councils whether they kept noise complaint data that discriminates between complaints about noisy people outside licensed premises, complaints about live music, and complaints about recorded music. Only Westminster and Camden responded promptly.

A spokesperson for Westminster said: 'Complaints about noise from music being played in licensed premises are not recorded separately but come under the classification "commercial noise" . Also, the genre of music is not recorded separately. However, comments about a particular premises can be recorded and this allows us to deal with establishments we believe may cause problems.'

Camden said their data did discriminate between complaints about live and recorded music - but could not produce statistics at short notice.

I then checked with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the department responsible for noise legislation. It told me: 'The only data that Defra keeps is on fixed penalty notices issued for night noise offence under the Noise Act 1996 - night noise from domestic premises between 11pm and 7am. This will shortly be extended to cover night noise from licensed premises.'

DEFRA recommended that I check the noise complaint data held by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH). But the CIEH data doesn't have a category for complaints about music, live or recorded. See: http://www.cieh.org/library/Knowledge/Environmental_protection/CIEH_annual_noise_complaint_statistics.pdf.

So, it would seem there are still no national statistics about noise complaints from live music or recorded music. Local data is likely to be patchy. In any case, the position is unlikely to have changed since 2003 when residents associations identified noisy people outside licensed premises as their major cause of concern. The final report of the DCMS licence review panel is imminent. Only when it is published will we know whether London Councils have succeeded in their bid to charge extra for having live music.

DCMS Licensing Fee Review Panel info:

http://www.culture.gov.uk/Reference_library/Press_notices/archive_2005/dcms088_05.htm


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 06:00 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

Some councils are advising carol singers that if they sing secular Christmas songs in public, like Jingle Bells, they will need a temporary licence under the Licensing Act (£21 a time), but if they sing only 'religious' carols, the performance is exempt (under the exemption for entertainment incidental to a 'religious meeting' - Sch.1, para 9(a)).

When the Licensing Act came into force a year ago, most local authorities were too busy processing licence conversions and applications to bother with carol singing. Now the tide of paperwork has receded, carol singers in some parts of the country are facing more red tape and extra costs. Under the old legislation, entertainment on public land and performances to raise money for charity were exempt.

Note that collecting money in the street requires a permit from the council under different legislation.

Links to some recent press reports:
'Council enforce licence fee for band playing non-religious Jingle Bells'
Daily Mail, 27 October 2006
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=413100&in_page_id=1770

'Festive Cheer'
The Oswestry & Border Counties Advertiser (11 November):

http://216.239.59.104/search?q=cache:syqi4kXEdPAJ:www.nwnnow.co.uk/titlesites2/detail.asp%3Fcatid%3D1%26officeid%3D4%26type%3D0+oswestry+carols+licence&hl=en&gl=uk&ct=clnk&cd=1


Kirklees, by contrast, seems to have a more liberal approach (Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 10 November):
'Bands are free to hit the streets'
http://ichuddersfield.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0100localnews/tm_headline=bands-are-free-to-hit-the-streets&method=full&objectid=18076263&siteid=50060-name_page.html

AND

In my circular earlier this morning (Wed 29 November) about problems for carol singers, I should have made it clear that performances raising money for charity were exempt under the old entertainment licensing regime only if they were private.

My apologies for not making this clear.

The rule of thumb is that where performances of live music are public, a licence is probably required, irrespective of any fundraising or profit motive - unless one or more of the Act's exemptions apply. The exemptions include entertainment provided in places of public religious worship.

For the exemptions in detail see Licensing Act 2003, s.173 'Activities in certain locations not licensable':
http://wwwopsi.gov.uk/ACTS/acts2003/30017--j.htm#173

And Schedule 1, Part 2, 'Exemptions', paras 5 - 12
< href=http://www.opsi.gov.uk/ACTS/acts2003/30017--l.htm#sch1pt2>http://www.opsi.gov.uk/ACTS/acts2003/30017--l.htm#sch1pt2

Anyone planning a public carol singing event somewhere other than in a church should first check with the licensing department of their local authority about possible entertainment licence implications.

AND

It seems the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is very concerned about local authority interpretation of the Licensing Act and carol singing.

A source within a local authority has just drawn my attention to DCMS advice, published on 24 November 2006 on the LACORS website. LACORS (Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services) is part of the Local Government Association: http://www.lacors.gov.uk/lacors/ContentDetails.aspx?id=15022

The DCMS advice includes the following:

'If a carol service is organised, advertised and provided for an audience there would seem to be little doubt that this would be licensable. However, a group of carol singers (players) outside a shop could be construed as incidental to the activity of people going about shopping and therefore exempt from the requirement for a licence. It would make no difference whether or not they were seeking voluntary contributions to charity from passers by.   This is different from a scenario where a shopping centre or individual business has organised a carol performance for an audience in a shopping mall which would require a licence or temporary event notice.   Under the 2003 Act, there is no distinction between the singing of religious or secular carols unless the carols were performed as part of a religious service or in a place of public religious worship, which would not then require a licence.' [My emphasis]

The ambiguity in the phrase 'could be construed as incidental' is surely significant. Local authorities are entitled to take a different view. As DCMS also states: 'It should be remembered, of course, that it is for licensing authorities to interpret the Act and to determine whether or not specific events need a licence.'

Whenever I have contacted local authorities and asked if I could busk in the street I have been told this requires a temporary event notice. But there is no material difference between busking and carol singing in this context.

The DCMS statement also reveals that a 12-week public consultation on proposed changes to the licensing guidance is imminent.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 06:04 PM

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=413100&in_page_id=1770


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 08:30 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

'The Licensing Act has had a damaging influence on live music in pubs and public places, according to Feargal Sharkey, former pop musician and now chairman of the Government's Music Forum.

'Speaking at the Institute of Licensing's conference in Brighton last week [20-22 November 2006], Sharkey said that legal uncertainties over whether music was "incidental" and therefore required no licence meant events were being scrapped unnecessarily.

'He added that local authorities had been too quick to insist pubs install noise limiters. Nor have local authorities been helpful in explaining their decisions, he said. "We had to use the Freedom of Information Act to get information out of some of them."

'He also queried why local authority websites are designed with "Making An Objection" buttons but not ones saying "In Favour".

'The Music Forum's report is due in January.'

From the Morning Advertiser 30 November 2006 under the headline 'Sharkey slates Act's impact'.
Go to: http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/ and type 'Sharkey' into the search field.

Or try:
http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/news_detail.aspx?articleid=24707&linkedfrom=search&from=&to=&keywords=®ions=¤tpage=0

As far as I know this has gone unreported in the mainstream media to date.
My thanks to live music campaigner Dave Eyre for drawing this to my attention. HB

AND

It has just been brought to my attention that a week before the Morning Advertiser report ('Feargal slates Act's impact'), The Publican, a rival licensed trade paper, published this radically different take on Feargal's speech:

'Councils praised over handling of music' - 23 November 2006
'Live Music Forum chief says local authorities have been "even-handed and professional"

'Former Undertones frontman Feargal Sharkey, who now heads a forum evaluating the impact of licensing reform on musicians, has sung the praises of local authorities.

'Speaking at the Institute of Licensing conference in Brighton, he said that the "widespread belief that the 2003 Licensing Act would damage the industry" had proved unfounded.

'"We can't find any evidence for the plague of locusts that was forecast," he said. "More than 95 per cent of local authorities have been even-handed and professional – and in some cases in difficult circumstances."

'There were exceptions, however. Some councils had systematically imposed unreasonable conditions on pubs wanting to stage live music, and others had refused applications following a single objection.

'"There are things happening that need to be flagged up and discussed," he said.

'The Live Music Forum will produce its full report early next year.'

See: http://www.thepublican.com/story.asp?sectioncode=7&storycode=53503

I am making further enquiries in an effort to explain how these two reports were so different.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 01:24 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

DCMS claims that the latest MORI live music survey found 61% of smaller venues now have a live music authorisation: http://www.culture.gov.uk/Reference_library/Press_notices/archive_2006/DCMS155_06.htm

Licensing minister Shaun Woodward said the results were 'encouraging'.

Feargal Sharkey shared his optimism: 'This picture is encouraging and confirms much of the evidence that the forum has uncovered. We know that the majority of venues – large and small – can now put on live music and that's fantastic news.'

But this is, of course, mostly spin.

The fact is that under the old rules 100% of venues with an alcohol licence could have one or two musicians whenever they were open. Now it would seem that around 40% have lost that automatic live music entitlement. And, of the 60% or so of venues that can now have more than two musicians, about half say they are unlikely to do so (with the notable exception of student unions).

There are good reasons to question the validity of the DCMS claims. Here a just a few:

1. Bars in densely populated areas tend to have the most difficulty getting an entertainment licence for live music. Reasons include residents' objections and local authority licence conditions. The overall 61% live music permission estimate probably conceals a lower proportion for licensed premises in densely populated areas (with a higher proportion in less densely populated areas). This could have implications for social inclusion policies. London was the only city specifically identified in the survey, as distinct from other areas that were regionally defined.

2. The new survey did not ask licensees whether they had actually implemented licence conditions for live music such as the installation of noise limiters, or providing door supervisers. Unless all licence conditions are implemented, the provision of live music remains illegal.

3. DCMS has made it clear that this latest MORI research is not the follow-up study to the first MORI live music survey of 2004. Despite this, DCMS has made comparisons with the first study's data. I believe these comparisons are invalid. Firstly, the new survey's venue categories differ from those in the 2004 study. 'Public Houses' was a distinct venue category in the first survey, but in the new survey this has changed to 'Public houses, wine bars and nightclubs'. Nightclubs, of course, almost by definition had public entertainment licences for music and dancing; the majority of pubs, by contrast, did not hold PELs. Once again it is likely to prove impossible to tease out the statistics for pubs alone. Secondly, even where the venue categories are the same, their proportions differ from those in the first survey, in some cases by quite a wide margin.

4. DCMS claim, for example, that 'of the small proportion (7 per cent) of venues that used to operate under the 'two in a bar rule', around 70 per cent now have live music licences'. But the first MORI survey included a large proportion of 'Members Clubs and Associations', 21% in fact, that were exempt from any required to hold a public entertainment licence. Asking them whether they operated under the 'two in a bar rule' was always irrelevant. This suggests not only that the original 7% was a significant underestimate, but the 70% is also inaccurate.

DCMS has, this time, published the full Ipsos-MORI survey report alongside today's press release. You can download the PDF files using the link below - but beware: there are about 150 pages to read:
http://www.culture.gov.uk/Reference_library/Publications/archive_2004/live_music_in_england_wales.htm


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 08:59 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

Firstly, a correction and apology: In yesterday's press release, I was wrong to suggest that DCMS used the 2004 MORI live music data when contrasting the position under the old and new licensing regimes. In fact the comparisons made yesterday in the press release were derived from questions in the latest survey.

Secondly, this doesn't alter the generally misleading nature of the DCMS headline claims.

For example: 'a quarter (25 per cent) of premises now have a licence to put on music for the first time'. As I pointed out, under the old regime, all premises with an alcohol licence ('justices on licence') could have one or two live musicians whenever they were open. The justices on licence was, in effect, a licence for one or two musicians - without it you could not even have one performer.

If DCMS meant premises that did not previously hold an alcohol licence or a public entertainment licence, they might be on safer ground - but no such distinction is made in the press release. If DCMS included members clubs, the claim would be disingenous because under the old regime such venues were generally exempt from the requirement to hold public entertainment licences.

The full DCMS/MORI report includes other disingenuous claims, such as: 'Some of those applying for a licence voluntarily added conditions including restrictions on the numbers of musicians they would have performing at one time.' [Footnote 7, p15, 'Licensing Act 2003 - The Experience of Smaller Establishments in applying for live music authorisation', December 2006]

The full context of these 'voluntary' arrangements is not discussed. In many cases, this option represented the least risk of local objections, local authority conditions, or both. It is also likely that licensing officers of the local authority 'negotiated' the two (or three) in a bar limit with the licensee, or their legal representative. This appeared to be the case at The Hub in Regent's Park - which has a 'three in a bar' limit, and must fit a noise limiter, among other things. The venue is about half a kilometre from the nearest house.

Venues that had PELs
The proportion of venues that DCMS now claim used to hold a public entertainment licence (PEL) is suspiciously high. The MORI survey of 2004 suggested that about 33% of venues had PELs (p13, 'A survey of live music staged in England and Wales in 2003/4', September 2004). That figure was surprising in itself - only two years before, the Home Office estimated that only 5% of licensed premises also held a PEL.

DCMS claim their new research shows 45% had PELs before the new regime came into force, a rise of about 12%. Both estimates cannot both be right - unless, perhaps, licensees were reporting both occasional and annual PELs. If that is the explanation, it could mean that a thorough re-interpretation of the data is required. There is a fundamental difference between an ongoing live music permission (annual PEL), and one-off PELs for the occasional gig.

Estimates of venue populations
This latest survey apparently used the Valuation Office Agency (www.voa.gov.uk) to source estimates of the total number of venues in each venue category. By contrast, the 2004 survey used a variety of different sources, including the British Beer & Pub Association (pubs), the British Hospitality Association (hotels), and the British Entertainment and Dance Association (small clubs).

The different sources give rise to as yet unexplained discrepancies between the two surveys. For example, the 2004 research estimated a total of 20,000 hotels and inns in England and Wales, accounting for 14.6% of the total estimated venue population across all categories (151,176).   

In the latest survey, the estimated total number of hotels and inns has dwindled to 7,844, less than half the previous estimate. This category now accounts for only 6% of the estimated total of all venues surveyed (135,704) - and yet the sample proportion (226) is 11%, little different from the 2004 survey.

No doubt more anomalies will emerge.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Dec 06 - 07:26 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

House of Commons, Thursday 07 December 2006:

David Heath (Lib Dem, Somerton and Frome): ... Lastly, may we have a debate on, and perhaps a review of, the Licensing Act 2003 - in respect not of alcohol licences, the area that has so often engendered debate, but of public performances?

Here I ought to declare an interest, as honorary president of the National Association of Brass Band Conductors, west of England area. The Leader of the House may be aware that a council in Cornwall determined that a brass band in its area could perfectly properly play Christmas carols, provided that it restricted itself to carols such as "Away in a Manger" and "Silent Night" - but that if it strayed to playing anything that did not have a directly religious content, such as "Jingle Bells", "Frosty the Snowman" or "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer", it would have to pay a licence fee.

Happily, that particular situation has been satisfactorily resolved, but there are huge discrepancies between council licensing committees throughout the country as to what comprises a public performance. Can we not have some degree of consistency, and one that errs in favour of the Christmas spirit?
Jack Straw (Leader of the House of Commons) [after addressing previous points raised by Mr Heath including a request for a debate on Iraq]: ... and on his final point, on which I think it is fair to say that he was blowing his own trumpet -

[laughter]

Mrs. May: And you complain about my script writer!

Mr. Straw: At least my last comment was unscripted - although I accept that it was just as bad as many of the right hon. Lady's. The hon. Gentleman has a strong case for an immediate review, based on what he says about the kinds of difficulties that local authorities are getting into over Christmas carols. I promise to draw what he says to the attention of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

See:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmhansrd/cm061207/debtext/61207-0004.htm#06120759001162


Link to Daily Mail article of 27 October 2006:

'Council enforce licence fee for band playing non-religious Jingle Bells'

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=413100&in_page_id=1770


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 06:16 AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 11th December 2006

600 YEAR OLD WILTSHIRE TRADITION ENDANGERED BY NEW LICENSING LAWS



The Potterne Mummers Play has been performed annually for hundreds of years but it is now under threat from the 2003 Licensing Act. Recognising the importance of our heritage, the Act allows some traditional events, such as Morris Dancing, to take place without a license, but not these traditional English Folk Plays. Potterne's Mumming play, much like up to 300 others played throughout the country each year, has 7 members of cast and takes just 15 minutes to perform.

The present day Potterne Mummers are carrying on a tradition that goes back to 1406 making this the 600th year that the play has been performed in and around Potterne. Mummer Bob Berry said, "This is part of our cultural heritage and it should not be lost." A more recent, but every bit as important, tradition for the Potterne Mummers is their annual collection for the Wiltshire Air Ambulance. Last year the Potterne Mummers raised nearly £1000 during collections at the numerous Wiltshire pubs they visited in the days running up to Christmas.

But now they can only perform in pubs that have ticked the box for performing plays on their entertainment license. Unfortunately, most local publicans, breweries and other establishments left this crucial box un-ticked. Many pubs thought that Mumming Plays would, understandably, come under the same exemption as Morris Dancing. Sadly they were wrong.
To make a variation in any license the establishment currently has in place would now cost in the region of £190 plus costs.

Potterne Mummers are now faced with the prospect of not performing their centuries old play or encouraging the individual pubs to apply for a temporary event notice (TEN). These come at a cost of £21 for each venue.

Potterne Mummers were hoping to perform their fifteen minute comic play at 23 pubs between the 19th and 24th December 2006 and once again raise much needed revenue towards the Wiltshire Air Ambulance, but they will have to pull out of at least half of those venues. Many of these pubs are Wadworth owned which are the Mummers particular favourites. They will only be able to perform in the venues that have the relevant licenses in place.

Disappointed and frustrated with the problems that have arisen, Bob Berry added, "We want to bring this unsatisfactory law into question because it is yet another threat to our heritage and traditions. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) state in their web site's Q&A section that the Act would not kill live traditional music in small venues. We would like to bring it to their attention that it is doing just that, and any exemptions should include other elements of seasonal traditions and customs such as Mumming plays."

Bob Berry
Wiltshire Folk Arts on behalf of Potterne Mummers
The Potterne Mummers

Contact Information:
Bob Berry
Wiltshire Folk Arts   
c/o 19 Whistley Rd,
Potterne
Devizes
Wiltshire
SN10 5QY
07714 550990
info@wiltshirefolkarts.org.uk
www.wiltshirefolkarts.org.uk


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 10:42 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

'Why should we need a licence to sing?'
by Philip Johnston, Home Affairs editor,
Daily Telegraph, Monday 11 December 2006


'As a boy and a treble in a church choir, this was the best time of the year. The vicar used to take us carol singing and we would be invited in for mince pies and sausage rolls. So far as I am aware, we did not need a licence for this most innocent and traditional of pastimes. Why on earth do you need permission to sing carols?
'But you do now that the Licensing Act 2003 has come into force. Then again, you might not. The fact is that millions are going out carolling probably unaware of what they should be doing to make the practice lawful....

Read the full article at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/12/11/do1102.xml&sSheet=/opinion/2006/12/11/ixopinion.html

STOP PRESS: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will today publish its 'Simplification Plan', part of the government's proposals to cut red tape. Reliable sources inform me that the DCMS simplification plan will include the Licensing Act, and some of the measures relate to the music provisions.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: IanC
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 12:06 PM

I'm interested in the idea that the Potterne Mummers Play goes back to 1406.

Ashwell mummers never start so early. Our present performances begin from 1930, though I suppose you could say that the inspiration comes from just after 1120 (when the pubs used to close before the new licensing act.

:-)
Ian


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 09:51 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

Yesterday, Mon 11 December 2006, DCMS published its 'simplification plan', part of a government drive to cut red tape and associated costs:
http://www.culture.gov.uk/Reference_library/Publications/archive_2006/simplificationplan_2006.htm

Licensing is the focus of the DCMS response to the Better Regulation Commission (BRC). Among the measures proposed is 'Clarification of "incidental" music provisions':

'To make clear in legislation that the policy intention is to exclude e.g. carol singers, buskers, puppet shows for children and poetry readings from requiring a licence. This measure would most likely be delivered via regulation / and or Guidance.'
['Lifting the burden - Improving and realising community capacity', DCMS December 2006, 'Areas to be explored to achieve further reductions in administrative burdens', p23, para H - see URL above]


The deadline for implementation of any agreed changes is March 2007. Note that the Act includes a provision that allows the Secretary of State by order to add, vary or remove descriptions of entertainment (Schedule 1, Part 1, para 4).

This DCMS simplification measure is encouraging - as far as it goes. But it does not go very far. It does not suggest, for example, that there will be clarification for a small bar advertising a low-key, weekly gig.

In published advice, both DCMS and local authorities have strongly implied that advertising disapplies the 'incidental' exemption - despite the fact that advertising is not mentioned in the Act or Licensing Guidance.

As DCMS revealed last week, about 40% of small venues have no live music authorisation. Clarification of the incidental exemption for such venues is therefore vital. A liberal interpretation, unless there were complaints, is the common-sense approach. Even for a small venue this could represent substantial cost savings.

Since the government's new fire safety regulations came into force on 01 October, the rationale for entertainment licensing live music as a secondary business in a bar is now solely about pre-empting noise complaints.

The government has yet to produce any evidence that live music is a greater source of complaints than recorded music, or noisy punters outside. In the transition to the new licensing regime all pubs and bars were allowed to keep their recorded sound systems automatically.

They are also, of course, free to provide broadcast entertainment with unlimited amplification. The government clearly accepts that existing noise legislation available to local authorities is adequate - indeed it now includes provisions that apply specifically to noisy licensed premises, 11pm-7am.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the BRC's response to the DCMS plan is lukewarm:

'We will be looking for the department to explore a broader range of simplification options across its entire policy framework with a view to producing a richer plan next year. Currently we see only patchy evidence of high level leadership or pervasive cultural change. There needs to be more determined leadership in support of a shift in the Better Regulation culture within the department.'

See: ahttp://www.brc.gov.uk/scrutiny/simplification_plans.asp and scroll down to Department for Culture, Media and Sport.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 01:17 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

According to DCMS, their latest research shows that 'the main reasons given for not having applied to put on live music were that the venue was not suitable or that they simply wouldn't stage live music.'

It is worth remembering that, where such a view was expressed, it was the personal view of the licensee being interviewed by MORI last August.

Pubs accounted for about 45% of the survey. These days pub landlords commonly move on after only a year or two.

Their successor might well take a different view of live music - but if the pub is one of the 40% or so without a live music permission, they would face a bill of several hundred pounds, at least, to get it.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Jan 07 - 04:36 AM

The following was posted (by Peter) on uk.music.folk.

AI 176

Rant

Sebastian Scotney, who runs the Jazz Development Trust, reports hotfoot
from the battle over the 2003 Licensing Act (and sent me this email)

For regular readers of this column in search of their quick fix of
industrial strength rant, just read Richard Morrison's loud and clear take
on unnecessary legislation.

"What we have seen over the past nine years has been an unprecedented
increase in the number of political diktats that attempt to regiment every
facet of our existence - from health, diet and education to the law and
liberty. At the root of this trend are power mania and arrogance. We are
now ruled by people who [.] want to control the smallest aspects of our
lives [.]. The endless, pointless meddling of recent years has simply
stopped good people doing their jobs well" he wrote in The Times on
September 26.

You're feeling better already. But if you read on, you're in for a
heart-stirring underdog battle being fought on one such diktat affecting
the arts. Line up here for the UK culture sector's version of the McLibel
Two, a farmers' co-operative from Mali taking on Monsanto, or indeed David
v Goliath.

The issue at stake is whether wide screens and stereos with powerful
amplification have legal rights to entertain the public which are not
accorded to the ordinary citizens of England and Wales - whether indeed
live performers need to be subject to a degree of control which is deemed
unnecessary in virtually the whole of the rest of Europe.

In the David corner, a tenacious man with an unrivalled knowledge of all
things licensing called Hamish Birchall; and in the Goliath corner the
DCMS's Live Music Forum, summoned and marshalled by civil servants,
usually fronted by the Ulster hellfire preaching tones of Feargal Sharkey.
"They warned that a plague of locusts would descend."

The DCMS gave the forum two main roles: first it was to spin the virtues
of the Act, and second to promote a politically convenient message about a
thriving live music scene. Or, translated into Sir Humphrey-speak, it was
to "take forward the ministerial commitment to maximise the take-up of
reforms in the Licensing Act 2003 relating to the performances of live
music" and "to promote the performance of live music generally".

With its third task, to monitor the effects of the Act, there has always
been the danger that it would either be in contradiction with, or be
subsumed into, the other two. Faced with this inconvenience, DCMS civil
servants must have been sorely tempted to adopt the Groucho Marx solution:
"Look, why should we quarrel about a thing like this? We'll take it right
out, eh?"

But if they ever thought they might, they weren't reckoning on Birchall's
tenacity, drive and detailed knowledge. He has been a consistent thorn in
the side of the DCMS as they attempt to put a positive spin on the effects
of the Act for live music. A complaint about misleading conclusions said
to be based on MORI research was upheld by the Market Research Society.
The DCMS then tried to cover their tracks by amending the press release.

Birchall has also brought to wide public attention some of the laughable
inconsistencies and absurdities if the Act. Here are three examples of his
work:

In March 2006 Westminster Council confirmed to the Radio 4 Today programme
that culture secretary Tessa Jowell herself had committed an offence
against her own department's Act by singing at an advertised public event
in Victoria Park Gardens.

In May BBC director general Mark Thompson found himself in the absurd
position of having to beg BBC employees to attend a recording of Top of
the Pops following legal advice that an audience constituted of members of
the public would put the event in breach of the Act.

And only last month the DCMS was forced to put out a "clarification" on
carol singing which is beyond satire: if a performance is "spontaneous,
incidental to other activities or part of a religious service", it is not
licensable; however, if a carol concert has an audience it will be
regulated entertainment and will need a licence. So does that include a
group of carol singers performing on a station concourse or in a shopping
centre? "If a carol service is organised, advertised and provided for an
audience there would seem to be little doubt that this would be
licensable" says the department, according to the Daily Telegraph on
December 11.

These three examples show that this law is a few fetlocks short of an ass.

Birchall's valuable work continues.

If you want to be better informed sign up for his regular emails at
hamishbirchall@yahoo.co.,uk

There is also a No 10 petition at ?http://petitions.pm.gov/licensing/


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 16 Jan 07 - 08:22 AM

It is now time to have your say here


Get writing...........


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Jan 07 - 08:38 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

DCMS yesterday (Tue 16.01.07) published draft revised Licensing Guidance for public consultation:
http://www.culture.gov.uk/Reference_library/Press_notices/archive_2007/dcms004_07.htm

The closing date for representations is 11 April 2007. This can be done by post (see link above) or by email to:

licensingconsultation@culture.gov.uk

The key draft revision for musicians concerns the meaning of 'incidental music' (para 3.21, p30). The new wording does seem to fulfill the DCMS pledge, announced on 11.12.06 in their Simplification Plan, that the policy intention is to exclude carol singers and buskers. To that extent the draft revision should be welcomed.

However, in other respects the changes are a nonsense. Quibbling about whether a gig is advertised, whether it is the main reason for attendance, and whether volume 'predominates over other activities', is petty when set against the exemption for big screen broadcast entertainment and the light touch for jukeboxes.

In the transition to the new licensing regime, all bars with recorded sound systems were automatically given an authorisation for the playing of recorded music. Local authorities could not, and cannot impose conditions on the use of those sound systems - unless there are complaints that trigger a review of the licence.

Recorded music is often played at a level that predominates over other activities. If DCMS want to treat live and recorded music equally, as they have suggested in the past, they should make clear that the volume of live music is only relevant if there are complaints. Local authorities have adequate powers under separate legislation to deal with it, and both local authorities and the police can close noisy licensed premises immediately for up to 24 hours.

The rights of residents to a quiet night's sleep and the right of musicians to perform have equal legal status (Articles 8 & 10 respectively of the European Convention: right to respect for private and family life; right to freedom of expression).

Elsewhere, the Guidance concedes that 'artistic freedom of expression is a fundamental right' (para 13.64, p103). The important implications for the interpretation of 'incidental' are plainly ignored in the revised 'incidental music' section.

There is no change to the convoluted and misleading section about private gigs (para 3.17, p29). DCMS misleadingly implies that licensing may be triggered only if guests are themselves charged with a view to profit. In fact, the Licensing Act specifically states that a charge may be paid 'by or on behalf' of such guests. A professional band's fee is a charge, and it is made with a view to profit. Payment on behalf of guests is a common scenario at private functions where the bandleader may also be 'concerned in the organisation or management' of the entertainment. See Licensing Act 2003, Schedule 1, para 1(4)(b): http://www.opsi.gov.uk/ACTS/acts2003/30017--k.htm#sch1

Note also the Guidance makes clear that the provision of entertainment facilities includes 'musical instruments made available for use by the public to entertain others at licensed premises.' (Para 3.10, p28)

In fact this provision can apply almost anywhere, and is not restricted to licensed premises. It is in any case absurd in the light of the big screen broadcast exemption, and the light-touch for jukeboxes. How often does the provision of a musical instrument represent a greater risk to those present or to society generally?

Lastly, although local authorities must 'have regard to' the Guidance, 'The Guidance does not in any way replace the statutory provisions of the 2003 Act or add to its scope and licensing authorities should note that interpretation of the Act is a matter for the courts.' (Para 1.8, p12). So what the Act itself says is what really counts. There is no sign yet that DCMS will amend it.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Jan 07 - 08:58 AM

Incidental music

3.19 The incidental performance of live music and incidental playing of recorded music may not be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment activities under the 2003 Act in certain circumstances.

This is where they are incidental to another activity which is not itself entertainment or the provision of entertainment facilities. This exemption does not extend to the provision of other forms of regulated entertainment.

3.20 Whether or not music of this kind is "incidental" to other activities is expected to be judged on a case by case basis and there is no definition in the 2003 Act. It will ultimately be for the courts to decide whether music is "incidental" in the individual circumstances of any case.

2 Entertainment facilities falling within paragraph 1(2)(b) of Schedule 1 of the Act (club premises) are not covered by this section of the Guidance.

3.21 In the first instance, the operator of the premises concerned must decide whether or not he considers that he needs a premises licence. In considering whether or not music is incidental, one factor may be whether or not, against a background of the other activities already taking place, the addition of music will create the potential to undermine the four licensing objectives of the Act. Other factors might include some or all of the following:

Is the music the main reason for people attending the premises?

Is the music advertised as the main attraction?

Does the volume of the music disrupt or predominate over other activities?
Conversely, factors which would not normally be relevant include:

Number of musicians, e.g. an orchestra may provide incidental music at a large exhibition.

Whether musicians are paid.

Whether the performance is pre-arranged.

Whether a charge is made for admission to a premises.

3.22 Stand-up comedy is not regulated entertainment and musical accompaniment incidental to the main performance would not make it a licensable activity. But there are likely to be some circumstances which occupy a greyer area. In cases of doubt, operators should seek the advice of the licensing authority, particularly with regard to their policy on enforcement.
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Deleted: One factor that is expected to be relevant is "volume". Common sense dictates that live or recorded music played at volumes which predominate over other activities at a venue could rarely be regarded as incidental to those activities. So, for example, a juke box played in a public house at moderate levels would normally be regarded as incidental to the other activities there, but one played at high volume would not..


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jan 07 - 12:55 PM

The folowing from Hamish Birchall.

A researcher working for the BBC Radio 4 'PM' programme wants 'particular examples of people who have been affected by the specifics of the current [licensing] guidance, and who might be willing to talk about why they think it should change'.

I have taken this to mean, among other things, where musicians have lost work because their local authority has interpreted the 'incidental music' exemption restrictively. I have already sent details of some affected musicians who are keen to talk about their experience.

However, if you have been similarly affected, or if licensing has adversely affected gigs in any other way that you know about please email christopher.landau@bbc.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Jan 07 - 10:48 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

Unmarked draft revisions in the Licensing Guidance further undermine the government's public safety rationale for licensing.

When DCMS published the latest draft Licensing Guidance for public consultation (16 January) it looked as though the proposed changes were marked with coloured fonts. However, it seems that other substantial proposed revisions are unmarked. These include a new 'Public safety' section, paras 2.17-2.29, pp20-21.

This deals with new fire safety legislation: the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 which came into force on 01 October 2006. See: http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2005/20051541.htm#6

The new draft public safety section in the DCMS Licensing Guidance confirms that as a result of the new fire safety law, fire certificates issued under the Fire Precautions Act 1971 cease to have effect. Moreover, it also states that:

'... under section 43 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 any conditions imposed by the licensing authority that relate to any requirements or prohibitions that are or could be imposed by the Order have no effect. This means that licensing authorities should not seek to impose fire safety conditions where the Order applies.'

The Guidance states that the Order will apply to 'most premises'. This certainly includes bars, pubs, hotels and restaurants.

Safe capacities
Para 2.26 of the draft revised Guidance includes this advice: '... if a capacity has been imposed through other legislation, it would be unnecessary to reproduce it in a premises licence.'

Fire officers are setting a 'safe capacity' for workplaces using the new fire safety legislation, where they believe this is necessary. However, I understand that Westminster Council continues to impose safe capacities on bars through licensing, on the grounds that this is necessary to prevent crime and disorder, and public nuisance.

Licensing Act amended
The Licensing Act has itself has already been amended to take the new fire safety regime into account, specifically s.177, 'Dancing and live music in certain small premises'. The reference to fire certificates in the context of 'permitted capacity' has been removed under s.177(8). The changes are not shown on the statute as published on the web: http://wwwopsi.gov.uk/ACTS/acts2003/30017--j.htm#177 but are set out under Schedule 3, para 50, of the Fire Safety Order (URL already cited above).

Other useful links:
'Guidance for business' on the new fire safety regime from the Department for Communities and Local Government:
http://www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1162101

DCMS link to the draft revised Licensing Guidance in PDF format (1.9mb):
http://www.culture.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/B63BEF81-2AA1-433A-84CB-237F257008A3/0/DraftrevisedGuidancetobeissuedundersection182oftheLicensingAct2003.pdf


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Feb 07 - 08:00 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

Ged O'Sullivan, proprietor of Ryans Bar in Stoke Newington (contact details
below), has issued a challenge to Feargal Sharkey, chair of the Live Music
Forum:

'Feargal Sharkey should come and talk to me about the problems I've had
getting permission to have live music,' he said. 'I estimate that it will
have cost me nearly £20,000 by the time the process is finished, and this
does not take into account loss of earnings. And that is just to have the
live music that we've always had. Even then I am not sure of the outcome. I
know many other licensees who are just not bothering because of the hassle.'

Mr O'Sullivan's entertainment licensing problems, due to the new Act's 'none
in a bar rule', are to be included in a BBC TV documentary due for broadcast
in the spring. His venue, previously well known for traditional music, used
to operate under the exemption for one or two live musicians that was
abolished by the new Licensing Act on 24 November 2005. Mr O'Sullivan's
challenge to Sharkey came in response to recent LMF comments about the
impact of the new law:

'To a great extent MORI's research had confirmed the [Impact of the Act]
sub-group's view that, broadly speaking, it was "business as usual" since
the new Act was implemented. Nevertheless it was important now to look at
where there could be improvement. He [John Smith, General Secretary,
Musicians Union] said the sub-group's message to Ministers should be that,
although the research shows that the 2003 Act had had no adverse impact on
live music provision, there is still room for improvement. Therefore,
efforts should go into ensuring that live music provision is increased over
what was previously available.'
[Minutes of LMF meeting 08 December 2006, Agenda item 3 - Draft
recommendations - i. Impact of Act]
http://www.culture.gov.uk/what_we_do/Creative_industries/music/live_music_forum.htm
(See 'Related information')

This despite the fact that MORI's research revealed about 40% of bars had
lost any automatic entitlement to live music. Under the old regime 100% of
venues licensed to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises were
automatically entitled to have one or two live musicians. MORI's research
also failed to check whether live music licence conditions, such as fitting
noise limiters, had been implemented. If such conditions are not
implemented, having live music remains illegal.

Ryans Bar, 181 Stoke Newington Church Street, London N16 0UL
Tel: 020 7275 7807


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: bubblyrat
Date: 02 Feb 07 - 12:05 PM

The thing to do is wait until the government passes whatever potty laws about live music in pubs that it sees fit(or in Labour"s case ,unfit )to do.The next day,ALL pub musicians EVERYWHERE go to a pub (providing landlord agrees !) and have a stonking good session. Then someone of the group dials 999 and INSISTS that the police come and arrest all these terrible criminals !! The resulting chaos should A) bring the matter to full public attention
B) completely overload the police force & the judiciary
C) bring about the downfall of the morons who dreamed up this crap.
.......Hopefully !!


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Feb 07 - 11:43 AM

Todays Times - Article on Music Licensing


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Mar 07 - 07:25 PM

House of Commons Monday 05 March 2007 - Oral Questions:

Licensing Act

8. Mr. Malcolm Moss (North-East Cambridgeshire) (Con): What assessment she [Tessa Jowell] has made of the effect of the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003 on the performance of live music. [124568]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Mr. Shaun Woodward): The live music forum will produce its analysis in the next few weeks. Current evidence is anecdotal, but it none the less suggests a broadly neutral impact.

Mr. Moss: According to the MORI research commissioned by the Minister's Department, only 60 per cent. of smaller venues that previously offered live music were given licences under the LicensingAct 2003, many of which have expensive conditions attached. Will the Minister tell the House what proportion of that group implemented the conditions? If he cannot do so, does that not render the statistics worthless, and what is the value of the Department's boast that the Act is good for live music?

Mr. Woodward: As the hon. Gentleman knows—he takes a keen interest in this area, which we welcome—the research published in December looked at 2,000 small establishments. It discovered that in only 3 per cent. of cases the new licensing requirements were a deterrent. From the anecdotal evidence, however, the impact appears to be broadly neutral, although it may be better than that. The hon. Gentleman will know that we are conducting a detailed analysis, which we will publish later. He should remember that the new process means that there is only one application, one fee and no renewals. The additional bonus is that local residents, who were seriously affected in the past by live music, now have a say, which is important.

Anne Milton (Guildford) (Con): I wonder whether the Minister is aware that over 38,000 people have signed the Downing street petition on live music. What comfort can he give that ever-growing body of people? Does he agree with the person who was recently reported in the press as saying that whoever dreamtup Downing street petitions was—and I quote with apologies, Mr. Speaker—"a prat"?

Mr. Woodward: We absolutely agree with the 30,000 people who rightly do not want music and dance to be restricted by burdensome licensing regulations. If the hon. Lady looks at the changes, she will see that there is one application process and one fee, with no renewals. Inconsistent fees, which were often excessive, and the standard book of conditions have been removed, and the fact that 63 per cent. of venues have either obtained a music licence or put on live music via other means shows that the Act is working. In a survey, 55 per cent. of people said that they found the process easy, although I admit that 25 per cent. found it hard. We will work to improve the system—we believe that it has already been improved—and we will take very seriously the evidence submitted in the next few weeks to see whether there are more improvements to be made.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Mar 07 - 08:10 AM

The following thread is (now) about the late cancellation of this festival due to licensing issues.

Miskin 2007

Perhaps someone would be kind enough to place the details in this thread?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Mar 07 - 08:18 AM

Subject: RE: Miskin at Easter 07
From: Miskin Man - PM
Date: 22 Mar 07 - 06:12 PM

It is with a very heavy heart that I have to make this announcement.

Miskin at Easter 07 is cancelled.

Following, in our view, over zealous application of powers embodied in the new licencing act, we have been forced to cancel Miskin at Easter for this year. We have been through lengthy complicated meetings and hearings, but we always believed we would succeed, sadly not this time. Please don't ask questions, or offer suggestions, we have fought very hard and been around most routes. Furthermore, any speculation or laying of blame could very easily upset the delicate negotiations we are involved in to secure the
future of Miskin at Easter. Please bear in mind that the situation is such that any impromptu gathering in the Miskin area during Easter could also jeopardise our future hopes.

You will appreciate the size of the problem in informing so many people. Please pass this information on to anyone you know who might have been planning to come to Miskin "on spec".

You will appreciate how heartbroken we are by this decision.

Thank you for the amazing support you have given us over the years, we will be back.

We love you all,

Andy & Jillie


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 23 Mar 07 - 08:38 AM

I think the only details you need to know at the moment are contained in the above posting and I repeat the important words here:
"Furthermore, any speculation or laying of blame could very easily upset the delicate negotiations we are involved in to secure the
future of Miskin at Easter".

Please leave this one to me, I will know where to go if I need help for next year.
I know we are all pulling in the same direction but even plough horses weave around a bit and confuse the furrow.
Best wishes and thanks for caring,
Andy


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Mar 07 - 09:11 AM

With all due respect and sympathy for your position - all that is required to assist with the general postion and to possibly avoid other festivals being cancelled at such a late stage - is the details of exactly how this event was affected by the Licensing Act 2003.

For as you have publicly stated that this event has fallen foul of the local interpretation of this legisaltion - perhaps it is not too much to ask for the details of this interpretation to be provided?

For this may prove to be of benefit of anyone who may be unfortunate find themselves in a similar position to the one you now find yourself in?

And this information may actually prevent your local situation from getting worse - without uninformed speculation which does risk the wrong targets being blamed.

When the detail of the interpretation is known - I think most of us would accept that those with all the local information should be left to deal with the local situation and would be more than happy to leave you to what you feel you need to do to ensure that there will be a Miskin 2008.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Mar 07 - 09:27 AM

Sham, Andy doesn't have to say any more than he wants to.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Mar 07 - 02:23 PM

Sham, Andy doesn't have to say any more than he wants to.

That of course is his choice and he has explained his reasons.

And mine is to make this request and I have explained these reasons.

My view is that at this point there can certainly be no fear that further harm can be done to this year's aborted Miskin event by explaining what the interpretation was and how this event was affected by the Licensing Act 2003.

That is the whole point of this thread, which is of limited use without such detail.

And I suggest that far less harm will be done to any future local events if those who are affected are supplied with the correct details of this one's demise.

With the infomation already supplied publicly there will only be speculation. And with this, the possibilty that far more harm will   result locally and eleswhere from any attempt to withold the true facts? You never know - with these people armed with the truth - this
may actually help the local situation.

For the truth is out there. The interpretation used is fact.

If it does not have legal support - it can be challenged and other local authorities be persuaded not to follow it. If it does have legal support then it is important to know what it is so that it can be changed.

You would agree that anyone has the right to write a letter to the L.A concerned in order to ask them what their interpretation is. Hopefully no one will have to do this and the information requested will be freely and helpfully supplied here.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Snuffy
Date: 23 Mar 07 - 06:50 PM

You would agree that anyone has the right to write a letter to the L.A concerned in order to ask them what their interpretation is. Hopefully no one will have to do this and the information requested will be freely and helpfully supplied here.

That sounds a lot like blackmail to me, Roger. "Give me the details or I will go direct to the LA in spite of your assertion that this will probably do more harm than good"

We can't prevent you from acting like an arsehole but please, please, please - in this case do as Andy has requested, and don't bugger Miskin for all time.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Mar 07 - 10:03 PM

That sounds a lot like blackmail to me, Roger.

It is just pointing out the reality of the sad situation.

The intention is not of course to further harm this event locally but to adequatly inform, end the speculation generated and possibly help other people and events elsewhere from suffering the same fate and at the same late stage.

It used to be optimisticaly sang that 'The Truth Will Make Us Free'.

Half-truths and spin are the tactics of those who use petty rules and senseless interpretations for negative ends.

Let us not adopt the same methods and pretend (as they do) that anything positive can come out of these.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Richard Atkins
Date: 24 Mar 07 - 12:14 AM

The Shambles, after my grump on the other thread adding this one to my tracer. Brill Thread .


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 24 Mar 07 - 08:57 PM

Roger,

Pretty please, just for once, hold your tongue and listen to what someone else is saying.

It is obvious that Andy and Jillie are still in contact with their local authority, and involved in what must be very delicate negotiation to ensure that we only lose Miskin for this year.

This is obviously a time for all of us to stand back and give them space to work.

When I first heard about this, my reaction was exactly the same as yours. "Here's the chance to tell Tony the bastard that we told him this would happen, and beat him over the head with it until we get the promised review".

IT WON'T WORK THOUGH!

In the unlikely event that they take notice, the first thing they will do is quiz the local authority, and given that they can find myriad excuses to exclude us from using Miskin Scout Village, that's exactly what they will do, out of spite.

A Pyrrhic victory, don't you think, to win the battle over licensing conditions, only to find them quoting Health & Safety (or some such)when they say NO!

What is needed here is diplomacy, and neither you, nor for that matter I, can hold a candle to Andy in THAT department.

Let be, Wait and see, and if diplomacy WON'T suffice, we may be able to apply the bludgeon at a later date. Personally, I pray it won't be necessary.

Meanwhile let's just keep kicking our MPs up the arse without involving Miskin.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Mar 07 - 06:20 AM

What is needed here is diplomacy, and neither you, nor for that matter I, can hold a candle to Andy in THAT department.

Whatever diplomacy was used - you seem to be overlooking the fact that it has clearly failed, as this year's event will not be taking place.

I can see little evidence of any of this diplomacy being shown.

What I can see is that many people who may be equally upset about the loss of this event being accused of threatening it.

Publicly appointioning blame on the local athority without supplying any information and expecting people not only take this on trust but and then telling them that they have all the information they require - could hardly be described as an example of diplomacy at its best.

A cynic could be excused for thinking that if this is an example of the diplomacy used locally - then this alone may be a major cause of why this year's event has been cancelled at this late stage.

I am not a cynic and under the circumstances - I think that this initial attitude towards those equally concerned about the festival's loss can be excused for now.

But I hope that on reflection a more sensible approach will prevail and that some information can be supplied which will help others and prevent any uninformed public speculation from causing any further damage locally.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: JudeL
Date: 27 Mar 07 - 09:03 AM

Shambles: Andy is being sensible and practical in trying to protect the FUTURE of the festival. The decision on this year has been made - it is cancelled & however sad we may be about that no amount of discussion is going to change that. BUT if we interfere with his negotiations over future years we can upset them to the point there may not be a festival at Miskin in the future. Andy is far from stupid & if there is anything which could affect other festivals he is quite capable of identifying what that may be, and finding a way of ensuring that the apt information becomes known to other festival organisers who may need to know. I know you are upset, as are we all, and would like to think that there must be something that can be done, even if it's only to help prevent other festivals from suffering the same fate, or to use this to put more pressure on the MPs to change the law. But please, for now, accept that action on your part could do more harm than good.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Mar 07 - 09:46 AM

But please, for now, accept that action on your part could do more harm than good.

If you had read my words - you would know that I have no intention of taking any action other than making this request and that your carefully considered post is rather wasted.

That does not mean that I accept the concept that any action I or anyone else may decide to take could take would make this year's situation any worse locally or have any negative impact on future events.

In countries like England and Wales where such things are subject to the rule of law - the sort of fear that there may be some form of stubborn reaction against people expressing their frustration and concern about the reasons for this local cock-up - should not be a factor. And if it really is a factor - then this must be addressed.

Perhaps you would accept that this is a matter that should be left for individuals to decide for themselves?

All that is being requested - partly to prevent uninformed speculation - which I agree may not help anyone - is for the public to be supplied with some information as to why this year's long-planned event had to be cancelled at this late stage.

For you would perhaps agree that the only hard 'information' supplied to the public to date - is that the festival has had to be cancelled? And that quite natually the next question will be be why?

And that in the absence of this information - all that can result is uninformed speculation and the sort of misdirected frustration and division that is evidenced here by posts like yours?

Whatever and whoever may be at fault here for the loss of this year's event - it is not me - is it?

From the sort of flak received here simply for requesting that the public be given some information - you could be excused for assuming that the threat to the continuation of this festival was somehow my fault................

When the public is finally given the information they require - perhaps the resulting and currently misdirected frustration - with its obvious need to apportion some form of blame - can then hope that it will be directed at where it belongs and where it may actually have some positive effect.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Mar 07 - 09:49 AM

Miskin 2007 cancelled!


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Mar 07 - 07:53 AM

Andy is far from stupid & if there is anything which could affect other festivals he is quite capable of identifying what that may be, and finding a way of ensuring that the apt information becomes known to other festival organisers who may need to know.

I am sure that you are right in most of this.

However, my view is that it is probably best if festival atendees and festival organisers both keep each other informed. For at least they should be on the same side.

I am still wondering for example, with the legislation the same as it was last year - why that one was able to take place but this one is prevented at the last hour?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Leadfingers
Date: 29 Mar 07 - 08:00 AM

400 ! And andy DOES know what he is doing !


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Mar 07 - 08:11 AM

As a matter ONLY of academic interest, it is curious, as upon my reading of the guidelines (not from the Miskn Area) below, the only way to prevent a TEN being effective topermit the event is if the police object....


Guidance


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Mar 07 - 08:14 AM

Of course (as I should have said, there are the number and capacity limits (not more than 500 people, etc) too.

More guidance from a different council


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Mar 07 - 08:25 AM

Regulatory assessment of the Regulations setting out the form of TEN application - the regulatory assessment of the DCMS.

Note para 2.5 "The Local Authority may not of its own motion otherwise intervene"

Regulatory assessment


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Apr 07 - 04:50 AM

I am not sure about any red tape being busted here - but the attempt to make further restrictions of personal freedom and spin it as such - certainly makes me see red.

There is no mention in the following article, that the need for this red tape, that is supposedly being busted, was imposed in the first place by the DCMS in the recent Licensing reform - in the licensing Act 2003. No wonder these LA attempts to bail them out - are praised by the DCMS

What concerns me the most, is that by moving from the legislation's constraints place on them, of simply issuing licenses for these open spaces, to the position of being the licensee of these spaces - the council's officers can now prevent and restrict anything from taking place. For a licensee does not have to explain to anyone why they may not wish to stage a certain activity - as it is accepted that this is a matter for them.

Front page of the Dorset Echo April 3 2007 (no not April the 1st).

---------------------------------------------------------------------
RED TAPE BUSTERS

Borough praised for simplifying system of licenses
By Laura Kitching

laura.kitchen@dorsetecho.co.uk

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council is being hailed as a national example for open air entertainment after council bosses cut through red tape.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council was one of the first in the country to join the Register of Licensed Public Spaces in England and Wales to allow events to take place.

The council set the trend by licensing 19 public spaces and venues for entertainment.

Now the Government is hailing the borough as one of the best in the country for its trailblazing work and urged other councils to follow its lead.

The Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) has recognised the council for licensing a wide range of spaces - especially the beach and Esplanade area - to encourage events such as the world youth sailing championship, folk festival, youth beach sports festival and beach volleyball.

The success comes amid pleas for Weymouth to encourage café culture and take advantage of the Olympic sailing events to boost its image and local economy.

Licensing committee chairman, Coun David Manning, said: "It is good. We were one of the first in the country to do it and it is hoped that by effectively cutting the red tape events organisers and individuals looking for event ventures will be attracted to Weymouth and Portland.

"It means that the beaches and places like that can have the events on them without having the problem of getting individual licences. It's making the whole space much more usable for local people."

Coun Manning added: added; "We want to attract people now, not just for the Olympics in 2012."

The DCMS is pointing to Weymouth and Portland as a good example of a council which is enabling its community to partake or organise cultural, sport and other such licensable activities.

The council is now among more than 100 councils listed on the Register of Licensed Public Spaces in England and Wales. Its aim is to provide event organisers and entertainers with a list of places that can readily hold outdoor attractions.

In the borough, Wyke Regis Gardens and Easton Gardens are licensed from 10am-8pm and 17 other places are licensed from 10am.

They include Chiswell and West Weares, Custom House Quay, Greenhill Gardens, Hope Square, Lodmoor Country Park, Nothe Gardens, Princess of Wales Memorial Gardens, Southwell, Underhedge Gardens, Sutton Road, The town centre, Victoria Gardens, Weymouth pavilion forecourt, and most of the beach and promenade from the pavilion to the bandstand.


Borough council licensing officer Sue King said: "The licenses cover plays, live music, recorded music, wrestling and boxing - any sort of entertainment.


"To hold an event applicants will need to contact the council for permission and application forms.

"Things like busking would probably be nodded through, and for charities we probably wouldn't
ENDs (at this point).


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Apr 07 - 05:36 AM

I have just noticed the Echo's editorial comment on this subject (or spin)

Dorset Echo VIEWPOINT
Dorset Echo April 3 2007
Cutting through the red tape

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council is, somewhat unusually for a local authority being held up as a shining example of how to cut red tape.

The council has been recognised by the Department of Culture Media and Sports (DCMS) for its efforts in simplifying the licensing process.

For the public has licensed 19 public spaces for entertainment - such as Hope Square, Lodmoor Country Park and Easton Gardens - which means event organisers simply have to contact the council for permission, rather than apply for a public entertainment licence.

The beauty of this system is in its simplicity and no wonder the DCMS is recommending that other local authorities take note.

For not only is the procedure a lot less arduous for applicants, it is surely also less time-consuming and costly for the council - and that can only be a good thing for the everyone.

We hope this new register system encourages more organisations and individuals to consider staging events in the borough.

Resorts such as Weymouth and Portland need as much activity as possible to continue to attract visitors.

Perhaps we can now look forward to more events - from beach volleyball to busking - this summer?   
ENDS


This view is making even more assumptions than the article.

For where is there any comment from DCMS?

Why is assumed that obtaining free entertainment permission from the council for every event on these spaces, is a lot less arduous, time consuming and costly - than individuals paying the same council for such permission?

And as entertainment permission has already been granted for Regulated Entertainment on these spaces - why does anyone need to fill in applications forms for additional permission - as such permission can hardly be refused?

But as it looks as if all the activities on these sites only has permission up to 8pm - the sort of activities are already rather limited by this restriction.

It would be nice to see this as a move towards less control - but I suspect its attraction for LAs like mine - is in fact the very opposite.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 04 Apr 07 - 08:32 AM

What was the procedure to use these spaces before the Act?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Snuffy
Date: 04 Apr 07 - 09:02 AM

And as entertainment permission has already been granted for Regulated Entertainment on these spaces - why does anyone need to fill in applications forms for additional permission - as such permission can hardly be refused?

The council grants entertainment permission to the proprietor of premises: it is then up to the proprietor to decide what entertainment he allows on his premises.

As proprietor of a licensed premise the council can accept or refuse to accept any booking as it wishes, exactly as can a church hall or a pub with a function room. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the council's licensing function.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Apr 07 - 12:07 PM

What was the procedure to use these spaces before the Act?

It was only the Act's extension of licensing to apply practically everywhere that has made this attempt at damage limitation necessary - and that is the best that can be claimed for it.

No one needed prior permission to busk.

The Punch and Judy man - who under this legislation is required to obtain premises licence permission for their every beach perfomance - would be the best one to explain in detail.

I doubt if there would have been an automatic 8 pm curfew either.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 04 Apr 07 - 12:15 PM

And as entertainment permission has already been granted for Regulated Entertainment on these spaces - why does anyone need to fill in applications forms for additional permission - as such permission can hardly be refused?

Well for example they might (as owners) refuse permission for naked mud wrestling. As regulators they cannot refuse permission for it.

Sheffield City Council did this without the attendant publicity for the whole of the area as bounded by the Inner Ring Road. Amongst other things it has allowed all sorts of processions - not least the Lord Mayor´s Parade!!

They also licenced all the major venues they own such as parks. It has saved a load of hassle..............


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Apr 07 - 12:29 PM

As proprietor of a licensed premise the council can accept or refuse to accept any booking as it wishes, exactly as can a church hall or a pub with a function room. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the council's licensing function.

That this procedure turns the council from the deciding authority into the licensee - with the descretion to stage what they want - is of course my main concern.

But the question posed is still a relevant one. The Local Authority has applied to itself for permission to stage all the forms of Regulated Entertainment on these spaces. Then given itself - as the licensee - permission to do so. This is done - it is claimed for the benefit and on behalf of the public.

So what possible grounds can a local authority have, that would justify any member of that public, filling in yet another form to ask for the same permission for the same Regulated Entertainment for their employees not to unconditionally grant it? What is good for the goose should also be good enough for the gander.

Cutting red tape this certainly is not. I can imagine if the Act had required the councils to devise and process these new applications from the public and to do so for free - the Local Government Association would have said it was not possible and demanded more staff and more funds.

The only attraction this has for our councils - is a further move towards them having total control.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Apr 07 - 12:39 PM

Well for example they might (as owners) refuse permission for naked mud wrestling. As regulators they cannot refuse permission for it.

If they can't refuse permission it - why then are my council's officers saying the following?

Borough council licensing officer Sue King said: "The licenses cover plays, live music, recorded music, wrestling and boxing - any sort of entertainment.

"To hold an event applicants will need to contact the council for permission and application forms.

"Things like busking would probably be nodded through, and for charities we probably wouldn't


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Apr 07 - 01:07 PM

It has saved a load of hassle..............

That is was thought to be required realy says it all. I suggest that it has only papered over the cracks in the ill-concieved, legislation.

Any 'hassle' it may appear to have saved is only that caused in the first place by this so-called reform and any red tape it may have busted, was only needless red tape created by the Act.

But the danger is that the legislation provides safeguards, if an event is prevented or restricted by a Local Authority's licensing policy.

Any event prevented (for any reason) on land where the local authority is the licence holder in this sinister fashion - will not have any recourse. Which is why of course the employees of my council are so keen on it - for it is they alone who will be able to decide these things. And that is just as they like it.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Apr 07 - 06:40 PM

What was the procedure to use these spaces before the Act?

With respect to busking, the Government has already made it clear that it was never the intention that busking should be caught by the Licensing Act in the first place!

As a result of this particular 'quick-fix' all the safeguards that were carefully drafted in the Act to protect events from the whims of local authority officers have gone - and as a result of 'busting this red tape' all the best busking spots locally now require forms to be filled in to apply for advance permission from licensing officers.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Apr 07 - 10:40 AM

If any entertainment does take place without this second round of 'form filling in' or if any permitted entertainment should continue on these spaces beyond the automatic 8pm curfew - would the Council (as the enforcing authority) have to prosecute the Council (as the Premises Licence holder) for this breach?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Mr Happy
Date: 05 Apr 07 - 10:47 AM

so does this mean one could busk in a pub with a load of others?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 05 Apr 07 - 11:00 AM

God help me, I find myself agreeing with Roger on this one, tho' not quite for the same reasons.

I foresee organisers of events applying to the licensees (the council) for permission, and being granted same upon payment of a hefty fee, failing which, no permission granted.

It offers local authorities the option to circumvent the terms of the act, a fact which will not, I am sure, have escaped the notice of their accountants.

So there is at least the potential to pay twice.

Good old Nanny state England. I wish I were young enough to emigrate, I really do.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Apr 07 - 11:23 AM

I foresee organisers of events applying to the licensees (the council) for permission, and being granted same upon payment of a hefty fee, failing which, no permission granted.

In the early stages of this local plan - the Licensing Manager did write and indicate in the local paper that the Council would be charging a fee for this second round of entertainment permission on the same public spaces.

This idea seems to have died a death but as the Echo article stops rather suddenly, when it moves away from the general spin and on to the details - it is difficult to tell if a fee is still part of the thinking. Although I am not sure exactly how a fee could be justified.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Mr Happy
Date: 05 Apr 07 - 11:43 AM

What we need is a revulsion!!


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 05 Apr 07 - 06:11 PM

Roger, Roger. When did a local authority worry about justification where there's money to be grabbed?

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 06 Apr 07 - 12:23 PM

The fact is that you always did need permission to perform on council property. In the same way that you always needed permission to perform in a pub. Few people who run folk clubs object (when they are asked) to pay for the rent of a room.

The fact that the council ignored that was up to them. They always could charge to grant permission.

The government has brought in a law which few people agree with and some councils have applied it more firmly than any other.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 03:20 AM

The government has brought in a law which few people agree with and some councils have applied it more firmly than any other.

But we would all I think agree that it the SAME law that applies everywhere in England and Wales.

I am rather tired of attitude the attitude that accepts that the treatment live music making receives is some kind of lottery, dependant on where you live.

If live music making can be protected well under this legislation in one part of the land - it up to those fortunate few to ensure that others do not suffer and that everyone else has the protection the words of this legislation provide.

I am sure that some employees of some of our local authorities are happy to return to version of the old feudal system and have caps doffed by those wishing to be granted personal favours by terrified and powerless peasants. But it is up to us to ensure that the words of this law are followed equally everywhere by those employed to operate it and that they are not allowed to make it up for their convienience.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 03:47 AM

The law is rarely applied equally, anywhere you care to look. Sometimes if you are stopped for a road traffic offence you are let off with a caution. Sometimes you aren´t.

The government will argue that they have put the legislation into place to enable local authorities to act in a way that suits particular local circumstances.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 04:37 AM

The law is rarely applied equally, anywhere you care to look. Sometimes if you are stopped for a road traffic offence you are let off with a caution. Sometimes you aren´t.

To a certain extent only that may well be the case in practice, but there are policies and guidelines which underpin these variations and allow them to be challeged if they are exceeded or abused. And they are people with enough balls to challenge them.

But what is happening here is that employees of Local Authorities are cherry-picking the legislation and are being encouraged to do this by short term self-interests. They are advising the bits they like as being a requirement of the Act and simply ignoring bits they do not.

As usual it is minority interests that suffer from this selective zeal - as the numbers are few and its supporters appearently so cowed and respectful that their interests can be safely ignored.

A good example is when the officers of Sheffield City Council suggested that the piano required for the carol events was moved out of the bar and into the hall.

The reason for this of course was that a playable piano (according to DCMS advice) would qualfy as an Entertainment Facility. Just its presence would require Premise Licence entertainment permission.

What these same officers are ignoring - is that equally just the presence of a pool table and dart board, would now also qualify as an Entertainment Facility.

So since the introduction of this Act - all the premises in their area (and everywhere else in England and Wales) - if they do not have specific entertainment permission for indoor sports - are illegal.   

I am not against these activities but this is a requirement of this poor legislation. So perhaps we should all ensure that our local authorities do follow this requirement of the Act and publicly question why they are not? Then when all the indoor sports players in England and Wales are also affected - there will be more voices than the current few, demanding that this legislation is urgently reviewed?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 08:28 AM

The following advice from my council's Licensing Manager, recently provided to my MP - re on indoor sports.

"The advice we offer applicants when they are intending to vary their licence for any reason is that they may as well, at that stage, tick the relevant box on the application form to make sure that they are covered for all eventualities including exhibition games without incurring further expenses at a later date. We have always made the distinction between standard games of skittles, darts, etc. and things such as celebrity darts players putting on an exhibition match."

Contrast this with the following advice from my Council's director, provided to me and a local councillor after two meetings last year.

it is important to emphasise that if musicians regularly congregate at a pub to play, this could constitute regulated entertainment and so the pub would be likely to apply for a licence to provide regulated entertainment as the Cove House Inn already has.

AND


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 09:13 AM

[The last post was cut off in its prime - for some reason - this is it in full]

The following (incomplete) advice from my council's Licensing Manager, recently provided to my MP - re the Act's requirements for indoor sports.

"The advice we offer applicants when they are intending to vary their licence for any reason is that they may as well, at that stage, tick the relevant box on the application form to make sure that they are covered for all eventualities including exhibition games without incurring further expenses at a later date. We have always made the distinction between standard games of skittles, darts, etc. and things such as celebrity darts players putting on an exhibition match."

You may think that this sensible approach would also apply to participatory pub gatherings that would repeatedly take place and be judged as successful by all concerned - in the complete absence of anything that could be described as an audience or spectators. But no.............

Contrast this with the following (ingenious) advice from my Council's director, provided to me and a local councillor after two meetings last year re the Act's requirements for live music.

it is important to emphasise that if musicians regularly congregate at a pub to play, this could constitute regulated entertainment and so the pub would be likely to apply for a licence to provide regulated entertainment as the Cove House Inn already has.

AND

As you know, the Act contains no definition of 'incidental' and my legal team advise me that in these cases it is normal to use dictionary definitions to aid interpretation.The dictionary definition of incidental includes the word 'casual' which, in our view, does impact on the regularity of incidental music. I can confirm that we would advise licensees asking us that we wold regard incidental music as that which:

could take place without an audience;

would not be advertised or held on regular basis;

and would not be amplified;


I do not know how you feel, but I tire of losing rights granted to every other member of the public (including the players of indoor sports) by being described as a musician (or under the old legislation- as a performer).

There is (as yet) no law that prevents members of the public from meeting and making music. And now even a 'performance' (i.e. to an audience) of incidental live music can be exempt from the licensing requirement - even when regular or amplified.

That such congregations could constitute regulated entertainment is not in doubt. But this depends on meeting the other requirments laid out in Schedule 1. Requirements that now equally apply to those congregating with pool cues and darts to play indoor sports, which also appear in the Schedule 1 list.

But with the added complication that a pub providing dart boards and pool tables now also require entertainment permission for these Entertainment Facilities.

So why - when there are exemptions for live music and none for indoor sports - is this quite different advice being provided as being a requirement of the Act for two activites both listed in Schedule 1 of the Act?

The advice re 'incidental' is nonsence. For before delving into the dictionary, the officers would first need to read the Act's Statutory Guidance. Where they would see that their fanciful interpretation would preclude the example of incidental live music that is provided there. That of stand-up comedy. Which could take place with an audience, be advertised and take place on a regular basis and still be exempt.

And without the need to delve into a dictionary - they appear to have no trouble in understanding what (the playing of) incidental recorded music that is and of exempting this.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 10:16 AM

Sheffield City Council regard the singing and (playing on the piano)of carols as part of a religious service when taking place at Xmas time.

Since you are asking people to give examples of precedents for light touch treatment of the relevant law, there is one.

Feel free to quote me.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 02:44 PM

Sheffield City Council regard the singing and (playing on the piano)of carols as part of a religious service when taking place at Xmas time.

Yes - I have attended many such religious services in pubs.

I and others could try that one with our councils. I very much doubt if they would consider it. My council might - if this religious service involved pool tables and dart boards.

I wonder - if it were challenged - if any court would agree with the officers of your council that the legisation was being correctly followed by this bit of tomfoolery?

The point being that some of our council's officer really think that the law does enable them to advise that such things are legal when they wish to enable the things they want to. Just as the officer's of mine really think the law does enable them to hold that certain things are illegal when they wish to prevent them.

And if there is no one with the time and money to challenge to such advice and action - they will always be right and the law will prove to be in practice, what those who enforce it, wish it to be.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Folkiedave
Date: 12 Apr 07 - 04:49 AM

Roger, I got the impression you were asking for examples of how councils treated live music and I gave you one. Maybe I was wrong but frankly I couldn´t be bothered searching through all your posts to find chapter and verse of your request.

Sheffield City Council also licenced the whole of the inner city area for regulated entertainment.

I have spent dozens of hours writing emails and letters, had a number of newspaper articles based on the absurdities of this act published in the local press. I have appeared on local radio pointing out the absurdities of the Act.

As far as I am concerned my campaigning was a bit controntational but now it seems to me that the local council is behaving sensibly.

I wish that other councils did the same but I am not going to criticise my local council for finding reasons for music and traditions to go ahead.

That would be absurd.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Apr 07 - 06:51 AM

Not as absurd as the interpretations used by your Council (such as the example discussed) which you support only because it suits your sort term interests - not because it would be supported in court.

The danger of this is that if or when they later use an equally absurd interpretation that may damage your interests - you rather have to support that also. For you can then hardly expect or rely on this same legislation to protect your interests.

The Licensing Act 2003 is the same everywhere in England and Wales and everyone's interests must be affected by it equally - where the interpretations used are defended as being a requirement of this legislation.

Or if I do ever manage to get my local authority to follow the words of the Act and this proves favorable to our joint interests - would you not expect your Council to have to follow suit?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Apr 07 - 07:01 AM

Letter (from me) published in the Dorset Echo April 12 2007.

Red tape coup- or purple prose?

Cutting licensing red tape? In response to the Echo front page article of April 3, I have to say that the story and the page 8 comment piece make many assumptions.

Where is there any evidence provided that the Department of Media and Sport (DCMS) hold Weymouth and Portland Council as a shining example of how to cut red tape?

Where is there any mention that this red tape - which made life difficult for our traditional Punch and Judy shows - was only recently introduced by the DCMS in their own reform, The Licensing Act 2003?

Why does the Page 8 comment assume that now having to obtain free entertainment permission from the council for every event must be less arduous and time-consuming and costly (for the council) than individuals paying the same council for permission for every event on these spaces?

And as regulated entertainment permission has already been granted for these spaces, why would anyone need to fill in application forms for additional permission, as such permission can hardly be refused by employees of the same authority that granted it?

Can it? And as it looks as if all the activities on these sites only have permission up to 8pm. The activities are already rather limited by this built-in red tape.

I and many others would welcome all real attempts to cut red tape, but perhaps we should more closely examine such claims before rushing to praise the spin.

I do not doubt Councillor Manning's good intentions, and it would be nice if this could be seen as a move towards less control.

But the reality is that for the DCMS this is purely damage limitation - to try and get them off the hook for only recently extending licensing requirements to practically everywhere.
ENDS


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Apr 07 - 08:04 AM

The Advertiser
Weymouth, Dorchester and Portland

Friday April 13

That sounds better already


Dorchester town centre looks set to become filled with the sound of music thanks to a new agreement. West Dorset District Council has joined forces with the county town's Chamber of Commerce to ensure street performers are properly licensed.

Musicians, jugglers and other artists can now entertain shoppers in South Street for just £10 a year.

The new reduced rate has been made available because the Chamber of Commerce has taken our a premises licence covering the whole of the shopping street.

Individual licences for entertainers normally cost £100 a year or £21 a day.

Local musician Mike Manning said he was delighted with the news.
"There is a great atmosphere in Dorchester and entertaining the crowds is a pleasure," he said.

"I am please that I'll be able to perform for just £10 a year and would encourage other artists to join the scheme".

Alistair Chisholm, president of the Chamber of Commerce, called the move a 'very exciting initiative'. He sad: It's great we're working hand in hand with the district council to encourage street performers, they enliven the town centre and make it a more vibrant place to be.

"Licensing street performers should hopefully encourage the quality to go up. We're eager to encourage really top-notch local performers to come and entertain the crowds. Encouraging street artists will increase the feel good factor in Dorchester, which is the way forward".

The district council is piloting the scheme in the county town, and hopes to extend it to other West Dorset towns if it proves successful. Cultural development officer Jude Allen added said the district council is keen to attract 'first-rate' street performers to Dorchester.

Entertainers wishing to join the scheme should contact Jude Allen on 01305 251 010.
ENDS

Mr Manning (who previous to this was once able to busk in South Steet for free) does not appear to see the references to encouraging the quality to go up or to fist rate performers to be a slight.........

But the concept of a third party (The local Chamber of Commerce) applying and being given Premises Licence Entertainment permission for land they do not own (for a year?) - is an intersting one. But as the person to contact is a council officer, the scheme still seems to be under the contol of the district council.

Perhaps - before all our local councils grant themselves permission and full control over these public spaces - other groups could form to apply for similar things?

It is not likely to happen to the public spaces in Weymouth and Portland however - for any applicant would be in competition with the current licence holder who is now also the Licensing Authority.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Apr 07 - 08:36 AM

The following is the small print.

Street Performing Permits
c/o Community Enabling Division
West Dorset District Council
Stratton House
58-60 High West Street
Dorchester
DT1 1UZ
13 April 2007


I am pleased to inform you that Dorchester Chamber of Commerce has now been granted a Premises Licence for South Street, Dorchester (please see enclosed map).

We are now formalising the licensing of Street Entertainers and Buskers who wish to perform in Dorchester, and an application form for the permit is enclosed for your attention.

The Terms and Conditions outline the compliance criteria to ensure the enjoyment and safety of residents and visitors to Dorchester.

On receipt of your application and £10 and administration fee, this will be appraised and subject to compliance with the terms and conditions a permit will be issued. The permit will need to be carried at all times and shown to compliance officers on request.

We look forward to welcoming you in the town to entertain our residents and visitors during 2007.

If you have any queries, please call us on 01305 252 250.

Yours sincerely

Jude Allen
Cultural Development Officer
West Dorset District Council
ENDS

The application form requires the following documents.

Parental/guardian consent if under 16
Signed agreement of terms and conditions
2 passport size photographs for licence document
Risk Assessment giving full details of how the performance will be delivered with consideration to all current health & safety requirements.
Cheque for £10 payable to Dorchester Chamber of Commerce

Busking & Street Performers Terms & Conditions

1.         Health & Safety
1.1       All performers must have Public Liability Insurance to a minimum value of £2
            million.   
1.2       All performers must provide a risk assessment for their activity.
1.3       It is the responsibility of the performer to advise the Chamber of Commerce of   
            any changes in the performance that would affect the Risk Assessment or Public
            Liability Insurance.
1.4       Performances should not contain anything that might place a person or property
            at risk of harm or damage. Performers must consider, and take responsibility
            for public safety at all times in the delivery of their performance.

2.         Noise
2.1       We actively discourage the use of a PA or other amplified systems associated with
            a performance. Where such systems are used they must comply with Health &
            Safety requirements to include PAT testing.
2.2       Noise from any street performance should not be greater than reasonable
               background noise when heard from more than 30 metres (horizontal or vertical)
            from where the performance is taking place.
2.3       The volume must be turned down immediately if requested by a council or police
            officer.

3.         Collection of money
3.1       The principal of street entertainment and busking is for the public to voluntarily
            donate money as part of the performance; therefore under no circumstances must
            an approach be made to the general public to encourage them to donate money.
3.2       If collecting money for a charity, a Street Collection licence must be obtained
            from the West Dorset District Council through the Licensing Department,
            (01305 252441). In no other circumstances should a street entertainer on behalf
            Of a charity, cause, organisation or group.

4.         General
4.1       The Licence must be retained by the performer at all times whilst on site, and
            presented to a council officer on request.
4.2       No busker or street entertainer has the sole right to any pitch and if a site is
            required by more than one busker or street entertainer, there must be rotation
            every 45 minutes.
4.3       A break in the music of 15 minutes must be provided every 45 minutes in any
            playing session.
4.4       Licence holders must ensure that the area is kept tidy at all times and that if
            litter is generated; it is removed at the end of the performance.
4.5       Performers must not cause any congestion outside shop frontages or public
            walkways. If congestion occurs, the performer must stop the show and
            politely ask the general public to move away from the congested area.
4..6      Under no circumstances will generators be allowed on site.
4.7       Performers may sell CD's as part of their Busking Act, however if it is
            felt that a performer is there solely to sell his goods, the licence will be
            revoked immediately. This condition is an interim measure and
            Dorchester Chamber of Commerce reserves the right to withdraw this
            option at any time entirely without notice if they so wish to do. If an
            applicant is under the age of 16, written consent must be provided by a
            parent/guardian.
4.8       No performances may be given by a performer whilst under the influence
            of any intoxicating substance.
4.9       Performers must ensure that the content of their performance does not
            cause offence to members of the public, and appeals to a wide range of
            People including children, families and the older generation.
4.10    The Dorchester Chamber of Commerce has the right to terminate the licence
            at any time without liability or penalty. Failure to comply with these conditions
            will result in the licence being revoked.
4.11    The licence will be valid until the 31st March 2008, when the licence must be
            renewed.
4.12    No vehicles will be permitted on the site at any time.
4.13    No fly posting is permitted in the West Dorset district Council area.

5.         Standards of performance.
            The Dorchester Chamber of Commerce is committed to offering the best variety
            and quality of busking and street entertainment. Therefore, the following basic
            requirements will be considered in issuing and revoking the street entertainer and
            busking licence:
5.1       Musical Performances.
5.1.1    There must be sufficient variety in the performances i.e. no repetition of material
            within a 45 minute set.
5.1.2    There must be an acceptable degree of musical competence i.e. the performance
            must be melodic and in tune.
5.1.3    Single tone rhythmic performances are not acceptable.

5.2      Street Entertainers
5.2.1   Performers are required to be skilled and experienced in using the props of their
          Performance. They must also have an understanding of, and a commitment to   
          safety for the public, themselves and the environment.
5.2.2   The use of fire in a performance is not permitted e.g. juggling, fire, eating/
          breathing.
ENDS

The presumption of entertainment permission for regulated entetainment contained in the Act, is that the applicant wishes to provide some.

It is clear from the conditions - that Dorchester Chamber of Commerce (as licence holders)would not mind too much if as a result of their application and this scheme - that no busking took place at all (as long as carol singing and the usual fund raising events were not affected).

Applications like this are applied for and granted - not in order to provide and encourage all forms of regulated entertainment but in order to enable some events, but to be able to place more restrictive conditions upon others.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Apr 07 - 04:25 PM

Licence holders must ensure that the area is kept tidy at all times and that if litter is generated; it is removed at the end of the performance.

Seems as if the Council plan to save money on street cleaning.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Apr 07 - 04:20 AM

All performers must have Public Liability Insurance to a minimum value of £2 million.

Does anyone know what this first requirement would cost?


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Snuffy
Date: 16 Apr 07 - 07:10 AM

Your subscription to organisations like Musicians' Union, Morris Ring etc usually includes at least £2m public liability cover.

As lots of venues now demand this (as well as risk assesment etc), anyone performing regularly will probably already have it.

It's only the informal groups and one-offs like carol singers etc who will really be affected by these requirements, but then they would not really want a full year's permit anyway, and would presumably apply for a TEN.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: DMcG
Date: 16 Apr 07 - 08:03 AM

Add membership of EFDSS to Snuffy's list: it includes £5m public liability insurance. So the direct answer to Shambles' question is £33 per annum at most.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Apr 07 - 12:04 PM

As lots of venues now demand this (as well as risk assesment etc), anyone performing regularly will probably already have it.

I'm not sure that the average busker would (as most of their venues would not have required it).

But as with many of this schemes other conditions - much is duplication of other existing Health & Safety stuff and the rest is basic common sense.

The controls that remain are more questionable in intent. The important aspect is that they are all additional restrictions and requirements to the conditions of the issued Premises Licence and limited in the legislation governing this.

The point being that the Act's whole concept falls down when those applying for Premises Licence entertainment are less interested in providing Regulated Entertainment than they are in finding ways to place futher restrictions on it.

Those restrictions already provided by the legislation are bad enough without councils (and other organisations) finding wonderful ways of imposing more by becoming in effect the licensee instead of just the licensing authority.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: Richard Atkins
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 08:43 PM

Your Thread stick to it and dont Troll Others.


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Subject: RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 03:15 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

'Roots', a song by the successful folk duo 'Show of Hands', last week reached no.1 in the HMV download folk chart. It is currently at no.2:

http://www.hmvdigital.com/HMV.Digital.WebStore.Portal/default.aspx

The song, celebrating English identity and musical heritage, was written in response to Kim Howells' notorious claim that Somerset folk singers were his idea of hell - a claim made while he was a culture minister and responsible for publishing the then Licensing Bill in November 2002. The lyrics allude to the loss of the exemption for one or two musicians as against the continued exemption for big screen entertainment:

'... pubs where no one ever sings at all / and everyone stares at a great big screen / overpaid soccer stars, prancing teens / Australian soap, American rap / Estuary English, baseball cap...'

The key licensing connection was missed in an otherwise informative article 'West Country folk storms iTunes' by Alex Hannaford in last Wednesday's Independent (18 April 2007). Hannaford does, however, partially explain the Howells' connection: http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/music/features/article2459288.ece

Link to Show of Hands website, which includes links to HMV, iTunes, emusic and Napster download sites:http://www.showofhands.co.uk/
http://www.showofhands.co.uk/
Posted 11 May 2007:
    The following from Hamish Birchall.

    The licensing article by me below, published in latest 'Classical Music' magazine, summarises my take on the impact of the Licensing Act on live music.

    Some of the material may be familiar, but it also includes quotes from the shadow secretaries of state for culture, a leading licensing lawyer, the Director of Communications at the Royal College of Music, the Chief Executive of the National Operatic and Dramatic Association, and a professional statistician on the Musicians Union research into the impact of the legislation.

    My apologies to all those who generously provided quotes that I did not use - this was due to constraints of space.

    Unfortunately Classical Music is not published online, but there is information about the publication here:
    http://www.rhinegold.co.uk/magazines/cm/index.cfm

    ~ ~ ~

    Eighteen months after the controversial new Licensing Act came into force, is it a story of success or a shambles? Hamish Birchall takes some soundings


    'Get your act together'
    Copyright Hamish Birchall 2007



    The Licensing Act has been in force for about 18 months - a reasonable time, one would think, in which to evaluate its initial impact on live music. What is the verdict?

    'Encouraging', according to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Last December it announced the findings of MORI research into the impact of the act on 'smaller venues' (Licensing Act 2003: The experience of smaller establishments in applying for live music authorisation can be read in full at www.culture.gov.uk by following the links through reference library, research, research by dcms, live music in england and wales).

    In the report, 60% of 2,101 venues surveyed claimed to have a live music authorisation. In fact most of these venues would have been lawfully entitled to put on some live music under the old regime, whether using the two-musician exemption, or because the venue didn't need an entertainment licence. The downside, not mentioned in the DCMS press release, was that 40% had lost any automatic entitlement to live music. If they wanted it in future, they would have to apply for a Temporary Event Notice (TEN), costing £21, up to a maximum of 12 per year per venue.

    In March this year, the Musicians' Union published the findings of its 2006 State of the Nation survey, which included a section about the impact of licensing. It reported that 643 respondents, about 30% of their sample of 2,085, felt that the Licensing Act had been bad for live music, and about half of these claimed it had had negative effect on their work.

    Although headlined 'Survey Success', the research methodology and interpretation have attracted strong criticism. Problems include the self-selecting sample; the low sample size, less than 7% of the 31,000 membership; the apparent lack of adjustment for the over-representation of classical performers (30% in the survey sample, but about 12% of the membership); and the very small sample sizes available for the follow-up work necessary to establish a link, if any, between a rise or fall in gig venues and the new licensing regime.

    Alison Macfarlane, a professional statistician based at City University, London, also a folk musician, commented: 'Given its low response, lack of investigation of response bias and poor question design, this survey is totally unreliable as a source of information on the state of music in general or on the impact of the Licensing Act in particular. If this has been funded out of members subscriptions, we should be asking for a refund.'

    Despite these serious concerns, licensing minister Shaun Woodward has already used the research to buttress the government's licensing policy. In response to a question about the impact of the legislation on live music in the House of Commons on 5 March, he said: 'Current evidence is anecdotal, but it none the less suggests a broadly neutral impact.'

    Only the MU survey provided 'anecdotal evidence'. The MORI survey of 2006 did not measure the health of live music, focusing instead on live music authorisations and applicants' experience of licensing.

    The minister also said of the new regime: 'The additional bonus is that local residents, who were seriously affected in the past by live music, now have a say, which is important.' But the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the source for most government noise complaint data, has since confirmed that it is not aware of any statistics or research that distinguish between complaints about recorded and live music.

    While some already established music venues save money as a result of the new centrally-set licence fees, during 2006 a small number of verifiable reports emerged of bars and restaurants cancelling or postponing live jazz that had been provided under the old two-performer exemption.

    In April 2006 the Better Regulation Commission published a report into the act's implementation. It strongly criticised the hidden costs and bureaucracy. This often included preparation of scale plans and advertisement in the local press – both usually necessary where a venue made an application for live music. It also criticised uncertainty over the 'incidental music' exemption, which had already led to wide disparities of interpretation by local authorities.

    The City of London Corporation, for example, early in 2006 allowed Barts Hospital to host publicly advertised performances on wards by well-known performers under the exemption. By contrast, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea treated similar performances at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital as licensable. Indeed, the hospital for the first time had to pay a £635 licence application fee, plus annual fees of £350, plus the costs of advertising the application in the local press.

    The new regime has also caused problems for amateur theatre and opera. Mark Pemberton, chief executive of the National Operatic and Dramatic Association,says: 'The Licensing Act has proved disastrous for those amateur theatre groups who perform in village, school or community halls and rely on Temporary Event Notices. Because TENs are restricted to 96 hours, these groups have had to reduce their performance run from five or six evenings to just four evenings, reducing both their box office income and employment opportunities for professional musicians.

    'Other groups have found that while the hall will have an entertainment licence, it will have chosen not to have an alcohol licence to save on costs. This has led to the absurd situation that the amateur theatre group can perform on five or six evenings, but only sell interval drinks on four of them.'

    Buskers have been caught up in licensing, despite previous DCMS assurances that busking would not be licensable. Manchester City Council, Test Valley Borough Council, and West Dorset District Council have all recently made clear their view that busking is licensable under the new act and that they will not change their position unless and until the government changes the law.

    Unsurprisingly, the legislation is widely seen as confusing and harmful. Sue Sturrock, director of communications at the Royal College of Music says: 'The confusion caused by this licensing act is further evidence of the government's inability to think and act coherently across the patch. For example, it recognises the benefits of participation in music for young children, while doing little to encourage it in a systematic, sustained way.

    'Naturally, those of us involved in training musicians are concerned about this licensing act, as we are about any proposal that reduces opportunities for live performance. This is about far more than protecting musicians' livelihoods. The benefits of live music, both for participants and listeners, are well documented: it's generally a catalyst for good. Live performance can changes lives. The government should acknowledge this, and bring forward legislation that celebrates and builds on that truth, rather than undermining it.'

    Leading licensing lawyers agree that the law needs to be changed. Simon Mehigan, a licensing QC and co-editor of Patersons Licensing Acts, says: 'Many event organisers probably still do not appreciate the full extent of entertainment licensing requirements under the new regime. Many performances which used to be exempt under the old regime are now caught, such as private concerts raising money for charity or good causes. The distinction between licensable public performances and exempt private performances is often unclear.

    'The "incidental music" exemption is open to wide interpretation by local authorities. For many small scale performances entertainment licensing, in a civilised society, should be completely unnecessary, particularly when set against the blanket exemption for big screen entertainment such as satellite broadcasts of football matches in pubs'.

    DCMS has proposed draft changes to the statutory licensing guidance that accompanies the act which, if approved, would become law sometime this summer. This does not satisfy Simon Mehigan, however: 'DCMS has responded with a proposed clarification of what constitutes "incidental music" within the statutory licensing guidance. As currently worded this might help buskers and carol singers to some extent. But as a licensing lawyer I would prefer to see clarification within the act itself to ensure proportionality and consistency in its enforcement by local authorities.'

    The government is clearly under pressure. Shadow culture minister Anne Milton MP summarised the Conservative position: 'The government's new regulations surrounding entertainment are a shambles. They need to admit they've made a mistake and sort the mess out. If we are elected to government one of our priorities will be to re-look at the legislation and try to make sure that live music doesn't suffer from ill-thought-out regulations'

    In 2004 the DCMS set up the Live Music Forum, chaired by Feargal Sharkey, 'to take forward the ministerial commitment to maximise the take-up of reforms in the Licensing Act 2003 relating to the performance of live music, to monitor the impact of the act on live music, and to promote live music performance. It comprises representatives from across the industry and non-commercial sectors, as well as local government and the hospitality industry'.

    The Live Music Forum report into the impact of the Licensing Act on live music is expected this June. Commenting ahead of publication, the Liberal Democrat shadow culture, media and sport secretary Don Foster MP said: 'The music industry's fears about the licensing laws appear to have been justified. Now the government must show they appreciate that music matters by taking the recommendations of the upcoming Live Music Forum report very seriously'.

    There is a petition on the Number 10 website calling on the prime minister to recognise that the new regulations have damaged music and dance and to take steps to remedy the situation http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/licensing/. At the time of writing, almost 72,000 have