Canterbury: “Stop Criminalising Your Buskers, Start Supporting Them” (and Camden, you are beginning to look ridiculous!)
Licensing , Live Events / February 2015
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   As I grew up in Canterbury and indeed my father (and numerous friends) used to busk in the town centre I have decided to reproduce this entire article from the Keep Streets Live Campaign, a not-for-profit organisation which advocates for public spaces that are open to informal offerings of art and music. It aims to promote positive relationships between local authorities and street performers and to develop policies that support and sustain street culture. My father raised funds for Oxfam by playing the fiddle, dressed as a medieval musician and indeed played the crumhorn and other instruments with the Canterbury Waites! The Council introduced guidelines to regulate busking in the City and these include rules such as buskers only staying in one place for up to an hour, and stopping by 9pm and were introduced after the Government passed the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act, which gives local authorities the power to issue a community protection notice to anyone it can reasonably judge to be “having a detrimental effect, of a persistent or continuing nature, on the quality of life of those in the locality”. Douglas Rattray, the head of Safer Neighbourhoods for the…

Texas Music chief calls again for tax incentives for live music
Licensing , Live Events , Taxation / February 2015
USA

LICENSING / TAXATION Live events sector   The outgoing head of the Texas Music Office, Casey Monahan, has said that his successor should continue pushing for a bill similar to the move proposed in 2013 by then-Rep Mark Strama to lower taxes on bars and clubs that heavily feature live music. Strama’s bill was intended as a way to offer incentives for bar owners to feature live music. But it died because of concerns over its potential cost and how the new law would be administered. “The passage of that (bill) would be a huge boost to the live music economy in the state,” said Monahan, who confirmed earlier this week that he will replaced after 25 years of service. “Recorded music hasn’t really recovered since 2000 and we’ve got to do something to provide an incentive for people to hire live musicians, because that’s the only real way to earn an income now.” Monahan said as Austin grows that his successor and other stakeholders in the music industry have to stay vocal about their place in the local economy and cultural scene. “It’s so important for people in the industry to assert themselves in the public arena,” he said…

Licence backlash prompts council notices ‘re-think’
Licensing , Live Events / February 2015
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   Adur District Council and it’s licensing unit are facing criticism over the way it handled the application for a SJM promoted music festival. The Shoreham Herald reports that residents in Shoreham were furious to find out about plans for a large-scale music festival at Shoreham Airport ‘by word of mouth’. They felt Adur District Council should have made public notices more visible on site and said they found out ‘by chance’ only days before the deadline for comments. One local resident, Liz Coward, wrote to the paper saying that “the licensing unit provided, at best, poor advice throughout the SJM Ltd application for a music festival.” With Ms Coward detailing that she was given the wrong closing date for representations, December 4th not 5th, was told that objectors could only read out their letters at the hearing “when, in fact, they were entitled to put their case and question the applicant” and that she was also told that the application could not be refused, ‘because there was a big legal team behind the applicant who knew what they were doing’. Ms Coward aso says that the council website contained a statement that the councillors could…

Business rate demands for festival sites set to be challenged
Licensing , Live Events , Taxation / January 2015
UK

LICENSING / TAXATION Live events sector   Festival magazine reports that festival organisers and landowners who host festivals have reacted angrily to recent demands from local authorities for business rates on lane formerly classified as agricultural – with some demands being back dated to 2010. In Valuation Office Agency has said that it was “reviewing unassessed festival sites to ensure that all are correctly rated. This treats all businesses equally and ensures they pay their fair share of the overall rates bill. Local authorities have a discretion to reduce the rate by up to 100% on events that benefit the local economy. The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) and the Association of Festival Organisers (AFO) are set to challenge the new approach with festival organisers pointing out that land use is sometimes for just a few days a year, and services and amenities that a town centre music venue might receive as part of is business rates – such as refuse collection, street lighting and recyling services – are not available to festival sites,   Festival Magazine December 2014 (Audience) www.liveuk.com

Small venues look for greater government support
Licensing , Live Events / January 2015
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   Some interesting ideas came out of the recent one day Music Venues Trust ‘Venues Day’ conference in London – neatly summarised by Jonathan Robinson in one of Music Tank’s excellent newsletters who pointed out “little appears to have changed in the ten years MusicTank has looked at issues afflicting live, from noise abatement, and Licensing Act reform to form 696 and secondary ticketing”  – points raised by representatives from small venues from across the UK included: lobbying Government for an extension of the tax status recently afforded theatre and orchestras (VAT is crippling small venue businesses); pooling of knowledge via a website (to help each other); booking agents ‘gifting’ back a successful band, to, say a venue that helped them on their way in the early years (supporting and acknowledging the importance of this sector); local authorities having to include cultural policy as part of planning policy; take a lead from Unesco and introduce its protective status to areas of music heritage and high cultural value; further highlight the economic value live music brings to cities, towns and neighbourhoods; make a case for state funding for UK bands to be able to do UK tours…

NCP politician asks for Goan festival tax
Licensing , Taxation / January 2015
India

LICENSING / TAXATION Live events sector   An Indian politician has questioned the “arbitrary fee” of 1 crore levied by the BJP-led government on the organizers of an electronic dance music (EDM) festivals in the state, of Goa. NCP leader Trajano D’Mello asked the government to propose a new law taxation for music festivals saying “If you are levying a fee, it should be permitted by law. There should be proper classification of taxation. ” Pointing out that if the government was not providing any correlated service, even though it was charging a fee, D’Mello said the license fee amounts to a tax. “If a tax is being levied, then there has to be authorization by law. Admittedly in this case there is no authorization by law, there is no legislation authorizing the government to permit hosting of music festivals in the state of Goa,” added Rohit Bras de Sa, an advocate, who was also at a December press conference staged as two EDM events got underway at Candolim and Vagator. De Sa and D’Mello also suggested that the government conduct random blood tests at the music festivals to see whether drugs are being consumed. They also suggested that the…

Bahrain clamps down on unlicensed music and dancers
Licensing , Live Events / December 2014

LICENSING Live events sector   A total of 28 four-star hotels in Bahrain have had a music ban imposed on them after the Culture Ministry found them to be violating the law that regulates tourism activities. The ban, which also includes hiring dancers and music bands, will be for one month, according to Gulf Daily News. Culture Ministry assistant undersecretary for tourism, Sheikh Khalid said the ban comes after numerous breaches of the law, despite repeated warnings and meetings with representatives of the hotels, according to the report. “The decision was taken after surveying 154 violations at 28 four-star hotels despite repeated warnings since 2013,” Sheikh Khalid said. In a statement to Bahrain News Agency, he said the hotels that breached the law had transformed restaurants and cafes into discos and dancing floors, hired so-called singers without licences and exceeded the legal work timing which represented an affront to the Bahrain’s social traditions.   http://www.arabianbusiness.com/bahraini-four-star-hotels-hit-with-one-month-music-ban-571884.html

“Anti lout’ law used to ban gathering
Licensing , Live Events / December 2014
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   A new ‘anti-lout’ law to stop large mobs of people gathering will be used for the first time to ban 500 boy racers from meeting at a retail park. The Public Spaces Protection Order, which became law on 20 October, gives town halls sweeping new powers to outlaw any activity which may have a ‘detrimental effect’ on the quality of local life.  The Daily Mail reports that “Initially intended to clamp down on antisocial behaviour such as begging and spitting, council officers can put up signs banning an activity in a specified area, either round the clock or during specific hours.” Anybody flouting the order will be liable for an on-the-spot fine, normally ranging from £70 to £100, issued by a police officer, PCSO, council worker or private security guard employed by the local Town Hall. Colchester Council, in Essex, plans to become the first to use the law to make the car park at Turner Rise Retail Park in Colchester the subject of the Public Spaces Protection Order. It will be the first time the new order has been imposed, and it will outlaw non-customers from the car park between 6pm and 6am. It…

Police to investigate ‘fake objections’ in cancelled Garth Brooks saga
Licensing , Live Events / December 2014
Ireland

LICENSING Live events sector   A file has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions in Ireland following the cancellation of the series of Garth Brooks concerts at Dublin’s Croke Park. Whilst Dublin City Council were prepared to licence three of the concerts planned for the July 25-29 block, they were not prepared to licence them all and Brooks took a ‘all or none’ stance resulting in the cancellation. The Council had based their decision on the ‘unacceptable level of disruption’ the run of shows would have on local residents and businesses – but it now seems that some of the 384 objections received from local residents may have been fake – with promoter Peter Aiken, who lost over E1 million in the debacle, saying some 40% of the objections were suspect. The Council confirmed that police investigations of a sample of 200 objections showed that 64% were ‘not suspect’.   Audience magazine Issue 178 November 2014

Newstead Town Ordinance shuts rock venue
Licensing , Live Events / November 2014
USA

LICENSING Live events   “All is quiet in the rural community of Newstead, but this past summer, the rural, Western New York community served as a battleground in what has become a war on noise.” A fascinating battle has evolved in a war between local residents, and a local bar and grillw hcih opened a new music venue, Braun’s Concert Cove. The outdoor stage, in a structure said to resemble an aircraft hanger, has put on shows from several hard rock acts with audience numbering in the thousands for Ted Nugent, Yngwie Malmsteen, Pop Evil, Sebastian Bach and  Jackyl. But.on September 6th this year,  Winger played Braun’s last concert. It was under a contract already negotiated before “Braun’s Law” was finally passed by a rather split Town Board – and Newstead brought in a noise ordinance outlawing noises louder than 80 decibels after 9 p.m., and 65 decibels after 11 p.m.   More from Michael Hallisey on UpstateLIVE here http://upstatelive.com/2014/10/06/laws-against-sound/

Japan to lift notorious “No Dancing” law
Licensing , Live Events / November 2014
Japan

LICENSING Live events sector Japan’s law, which prohibits dancing in clubs and bars (or any public venue, really) has unless they have a (still limited) dancing license were allowed to carry on, and even then, doors had to close by midnight or 1AM. The law, called fueiho in Japanese, will now be revoked. Their decision comes on the heels of a committee recommendation earlier this year, and will need to be ratified by Japan’s parliament – but in plenty of time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics!   http://thump.vice.com/words/after-a-long-legal-battle-japan-finally-lifts-its-notorious-no-dancing-law And see MLU July 2014 http://www.musiclawupdates.com/?p=5836

Miley Cyrus fights ‘lewdness’ ban
Censorship , Licensing , Live Events / October 2014

LICENSING / CENSORSHIP Live events sector   Miley Cyrus has reportedly filed a legal challenge against her concert ban in the Dominican Republic. The star was set to perform a show in Santo Domingo on September 13th as part of her Bangerz Tour, but the Caribbean country’s national entertainment and radio commission (CNEPR) didn’t authorise the concert, citing lewdness as the reason why the show was cancelled. According to E! News, Miley has answered the cancellation by filing papers in a Dominican court claiming the council’s ban on artistic expression goes against the nation’s constitution. “Miley wants to defend artistic expression for all artists,” an insider explained to the outlet of the singer’s alleged decision to put forth a formal legal challenge. Local Dominican outlet Hoy previously reported a poll taken showed that 64% of voters agreed with the CNEPR’s decision to ban Miley’s show, but the rest opposed, arguing the ban violates freedom of expression. In a statement released last month, the CNEPR stated Miley ‘undertakes acts that go against morals and customs, which are punishable by Dominican law’ in her concerts. According to Hollywood.com, the official letter went on to state the Wrecking Ball songstress wears inappropriate costumes…

ARTICLE LINK: 10 tips on the Live Music Act
Licensing , Live Events / October 2014
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   Never has the UK’s law relating to live and recorded music been so complex. Here is a brief guide to the main issues licensees often ask. http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/General-News/Poppelston-Allen-Understanding-recorded-and-live-music-law

Agent of change principle gathers momentum
Licensing , Live Events / October 2014
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   The now much debated ‘agent of change’ principle, designed to protect live music venues, bars and clubs in the face of the increasing numbers of residential properties being built close to venues has prompted the Musicians’ Union to call for new law to protect venues from noise complaints New regulations should be introduced to protect live music venues from possible closure following noise complaints, the Musicians’ Union has said. A similar law was recently introduced in the state of Victoria in Australia.  At the Trades Union Congress conference the MU proposed a motion, which was passed, demanding the introduction of new regulations that would help put a stop to the “worrying trend of long-established music venues being forced to close after only one or two complaints from neighbours”. John Smith, MU general secretary, said: “Venues must, of course, stick to the terms of their licence and residents must be able to complain if they do not comply or are causing a genuine nuisance. But equally, flats which are built above, adjacent or nearby to an existing music venue should not take precedent over an established institution. “The onus should be on the agent of change,…

E-petition calls for a review of noise abatement laws in the UK
Licensing , Live Events / September 2014
UK

LICENSING Live events   After a spate of venues have been closed or threatened by closure by often just one complainant or by those who have moved into residence beside existing venues – often in new developments,  a new e-petition has been sent up to challenge noise laws in the UK – “Urgent Review of Noise Abatement legislation” calling upon the Secretary of State to: “conduct an urgent review of all applicable Noise Legislation so that the collective right of local communities to be able to enjoy well-run and managed music venues is properly balanced within the law against the individual rights of owners and occupiers of adjoining properties to limit environmental noise.” We request that this review specifically addresses the possibility of new owner/occupiers or developers misusing existing legislation to demand a lowering of environmental noise in a zone in which it has traditionally existed, resulting in the potential closure of highly valued community spaces including music venues, church halls and arts centres.” As this e-petition received more than 10 000 signatures, the relevant Government department (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – DEFRA) then provided the following response: “Legislation relating to noise is very wide ranging. It…

Complaint made to Police after busker moved on under Vagrancy Act
Licensing , Live Events / September 2014
UK

LICENSING Live events   In the UK a classical musician is suing Greater Manchester Police for loss of earnings after a PCSO (Police Community Support Officer) used laws that tackle ‘aggressive begging’ to stop him busking in Sale town centre. Professional flautist and singer Barry Jackson, 48, was singing Luciano Pavarotti arias and playing music in a shopping precinct when the female PCSO ordered him to move on saying he was a ‘beggar and a vagrant’ and was causing an obstruction. The intervention under the Vagrancy Act 1824. forced Mr Jackson to abandon his planned five-hour stint after just 45 minutes. He later consulted a solicitor and has now filed complaints to Greater Manchester Police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission. The incident occurred last month after a complaint was made to the police. Mr Jackson told Mancunian Matters “Busking is a great British tradition but it seems someone in authority wants to restrict street culture and that is bad for all for all performers who perform in the street like me” adding ”I always try to be a responsible performer, never obstructing and definitely never asking for money. I simply play so people hear my work and it’s a…

Night & Day faces noise abatement drive closure
Licensing , Live Events / August 2014
UK

LICENSING Live events   Popular Manchester music venue Night & Day has been called to what the Manchester Evening News calls a “crunch licensing hearing” as it continues to tackle complaints from neighbours over noise levels. According to the MEN, the venue stands accused of repeatedly breaching a noise abatement notice issue by Manchester City Council. The venue said “The council have made an unprecedented move to review our licence before we have had the opportunity to appeal the Noise Abatement Notice in front of an independent judge in court”. Recently, and after a spate of threatened closures including the Fleece in Bristol, and the Boilerroom in Guildford , Mark Davyd, the founder of the Music Venue Trust, has warned of a ‘tsunami’ of noise abatement orders against venues and called for ‘common sense’ approach to resolve issues – often caused by new developments alongside pre-existing and often much loved music venues – wit Davyd adding ‘if you hate music – why move next to a music venue?’. The MVT has called for the reform of existing legislation, which it says is unfair to music venues and is liaising with Save Live Music Australia which has fought a successful campaign against opportunistic…

Tokyo’s late night dancing ban is in focus as the 2020 Olympics loom large
Licensing , Live Events / July 2014
Japan

LICENSING Live events sector   Tengri News reports that Tokyo’s status as one of the world’s clubbing capitals looks set to survive a potentially ruinous police crackdown on — of all things – dancing – with clubbers at risk of being arrested for failing to obey “No Dancing” signs at venues – which are in place because of an “an antiquated law prohibiting dancing after midnight” which is “zealously enforced by police in recent years; After decades of turning a blind eye to the clubs, a police crackdown began following the 2010 death of a 22-year-old student after a fight in an Osaka club. Hit by a wave of raids, most of the city’s venues were shut down for licensing violations, pulling the plug on Osaka’s thriving dance scene. Other cities followed. Big-name DJ Takkyu Ishino had a set broken up in Fukuoka when police crashed in and shut down the party in 2012. But with the 2020 Olympics on the horizon, Japanese lawmakers have decided the time has come to change the rules. A government committee last month agreed the Law on Control and Improvement of Amusement Business, introduced in 1948 to curb prostitution at dance halls, needed overhauling….

All age events back on track in Melbourne
Licensing , Live Events / May 2014
Australia

LICENSING Live events industry   “All-ages” gigs are set to return to some of Melbourne’s music venue under changes made by the state government. The new laws, which came into effect in April, remove the requirement for liquor licensees to get approval to host alcohol-free under-age and all-ages live music events in licensed venues under the previously bureaucratic procedure that requited  venues to apply for an all-ages, alcohol-free event giving at least 45 days notice – often an impossibility given touring schedules, and a costly administrative burden. State Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation Edward O’Donohue said the changes removed onerous paperwork saying ”Venues across the state, like the famous Corner Hotel, are able to host under-age shows without the paperwork and costs that had previously made them too expensive and time consuming to contemplate,.’ It is estimated that live music contributed $301 million towards Victoria’s economy in 2009-10, supporting 15,000 jobs. Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/allages-gigs-to-return-to-rock-venues-after-changes-to-law-20140415-36pvk.html

Christ’s passion stumped by Council’s decision
Licensing , Live Events / May 2014
UK

LICENSING Live events industry   A planned Easter performance of Christ’s Passion was refused a licence by Oxford city Council after the Licensing Authority mistook the play for a sex show. The performance, which tells the story of the crucifixion of Christ, had been planned for Good Friday by St Stephen’s House Theological College and Saints Mary and John Church in Oxford. However Licensing team Leader Julian Alison admitted that he did not realise that the performance was a religious event and a local councillor said that that the Authority was worried that staging the show without a licence would be an offence. The Passion was cancelled at short notice. A Passion play is a dramatic performance of the Passion of Christ, depicting the trial, crucifixion and death of Jesus. The name comes from the Latin verb ‘pati’ – meaning ‘to suffer’. The Oxford performance was previously held in 2012, without a licence, when an audience of some 200 watched Mischa Richards, playing Jesus, haul a wooden cross from Cowley Road Methodist church to Saints Mary and John. This year, the organisers decided to stage a repeat, but were told they must apply for a council licence – and were…

Buskers lose battle to lift Camden restrictions
Licensing , Live Events / April 2014
UK

LICENSING Live events   The High Court has upheld new busking restrictions in Camden, meaning street performers in the borough will have to buy licences and adhere to certain restrictions. Camden Council insists that the new licensing process is “light touch regulation” – designed mainly to deal with complaints about amplified and louder percussion-based busking. A basic twelve month licence will cost £19, though certain kinds of performance will require a £47 advanced licence which may have other limitations attached. Once licensed, buskers will usually be able to play anywhere that it’s safe to play in the borough between 10am until 9pm. The court case against the restrictions was launched by the Keep Streets Live Campaign, which gained support from celebrities including Billy Bragg, who himself busked around Camden at the start of his career, as well as comedians Mark Thomas and Bill Bailey. The Musicians’ Union has also spoken out against the changes. Following the court ruling on the matter, Bragg told CMU: “Camden claim that this new bylaw is designed to curb the use of amplifiers by buskers ‘late into the evening’. If so, why not target amplified busking after 6pm rather than coming up with this blanket…

US city venues face ear defender requirements
Licensing , Live Events / April 2014
USA

LICENSING Live events   The Business Journal reports that some venues in Minneapolis would be required to carry ear plugs under an ordinance amendment proposed by City Council Member Jacob Fre. The measure would cover only Class A and Class B on-sale liquor, wine and beer license holders, which would rule out smaller neighbourhood restaurants. The bars would be required to offer ear plugs with a “noise reduction rating” of at least 30 decibels. They would HAVE TO be provided at no charge to patrons. However Mr Frey said the non-profit group Locally Grown Globally Connected has agreed to provide the ear plugs free of charge to the musical venues saying “We have access to free supplies that will at least give people the option of saving their hearing decades down the road,” said Frey, who represents Downtown and Northeast, home to a number of venues.  “I see no reason not to do this.” The measure will have a public hearing on April 1. The Huffington Post reports that a loud music ordinance introduced in December has been so controversial in New Orleans, where live music is part of the city’s culture, it is now being revised after critics complained…

Charges against Live Nation trio in Finland dismissed
Licensing , Live Events / January 2014
Finland

LICENSING Live events   The charges of violations of the Environmental Protection Act brought by the Helsinki District Attorney against three employees of Live Nation have been dismissed by the District Court of Helsinki. The charges against promoter Scott Lavender and production managers Chad Taylor and Tom Ahlberg stemmed from live performances by Madonna and Bruce Springsteen at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium last year, both of which exceeded the 11pm curfew granted by the Helsinki Environment Centre by roughly an hour. Two previous shows, Metallica at the Sonisphere festival and Rihanna’s Party on The Beach had also broken curfews but were not included in the charges.   In court, the legal representative of Live Nation argued that the delays were caused by the artists: Springsteen played for four hours (a Finnish record!) , whereas Madonna entered the stage notably later than planned. The court ruled on 21 November that the defendants would not have been able to pull the plug on the performers for defying the curfew (and it was the band’s own generators) and consequently had not acted deliberately or negligently. In an interview with Helsingin Sanomat a few weeks before the ruling, Nina Castrén, the managing director of Live Nation…

Ministry asks Mayor Boris for protection
Licensing / December 2013
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   Ministry Of Sound boss Lohan Presencer has asked Boris Johnson for a binding agreement confirming that a planned major residential development next to the venue in South London will not have future repercussions on his operation’s licence. Ministry had previously succeeded in blocking the plans by property developer Oakmayne to build a big residential complex next to the superclub, after the property firm’s proposals were unanimously rejected by Southwark’s planning committee, with Ministry successfully arguing that it was an important employer in the area, that it played an important role in the capital’s clubbing culture and local community, and that the planned residential development would cause problems because future residents would be certain to make demands on licensing officials regarding noise at the venue. Now London Mayor Boris Johnson’s office has agreed to reconsider the decision, placing the club under threat once again. Presencer called for the agreement by the Mayor in a letter to the London Standard and also said he wanted a legal agreement that Oakmayne will install sound-proofing into its new apartments (as was promised as part of its planning application) saying he wants a “legal agreement that guarantees that everything that…

Live Music Act consultation underway
Licensing / December 2013
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   Further deregulation of entertainment licensing for live music venues is to be considered by the UK government, which could bring rules into line with those for live performances of dance and theatre.  Last year the new Live Music Act allowed venues in England and Wales which sell alcohol the freedom to host live music performances for audiences of up to 200 people between 8am and 11pm.  A consultation launched last week will look at increasing the upper audience limit to 500 people. A statement from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said the reason behind the consultation on further deregulation was to grow the creative economy and remove burdens from small and medium-sized businesses saying “In particular, the measures in relation to live and recorded music are intended to help pubs, hotels and other hospitality businesses diversify their offer and access new markets,” said a spokesman. The Musicians’ Union said it welcomed the consultation and saw it as “positive step” towards removing live music from the Licensing Act altogether.   In full here https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/252144/LRO.version_final.docx.pdf and a summary here http://www.john-gaunt.co.uk/news/695/dcms-consultation-further-deregulation-of-entertainment-licensing

Bradford Bulls concert accused of drunken chaos
Licensing , Live Events / September 2013
UK

LICENSING Live events Industry   Bosses at Super League rugby club Bradford Bulls have denied a 1980s revival concert descended into “chaos” because of unsupervised drinking, failed to manage queues and had a “total disregard” for the public safety of revellers. Police have requested a review of its alcohol licence over a string of alleged breaches. Police licensing officer Su Dawson had requested a review of the premises licence held by OK Bulls Ltd, saying the club had shown a “complete disregard and dismissive attitude” to the Licensing Act 2003. But Ryan Whitcut, general manager at the club, said the allegation of “chaos” was unfounded and the review was a “waste of public money” saying “No-one drunk was served, there was no chaos” and “People were queuing in an orderly fashion” and “The queues were long and more facilities were needed, but I know our staff on that night will have done everything they could to get the queues down”. Saying that he was confident that the Licensing Committee would side with the Club Mr Whitcut insisted ““We are not going to have our licence taken away whatsoever.” PC Dawson said the marquee bar was “in chaos” throughout the concert…

Buskers hope for law revisions in Atlanta
Licensing , Live Events / July 2013
USA

LICENSING Live events sector   Atlanta’s strict laws to prevent begging are under review after the politician who crafted the law said it’s clear that law must be changed after.two street musicians were arrested for busking in Atlanta. They landed in jail for panhandling.  Eryk McDaniel was arrested on May 31 while playing his trombone outside of Turner Field  – police took McDaniel’s  trombone and cuffed him. McDaniel said his attorney told him he’s allowed to play on the city’s streets because there’s an exception in the law for musicians, but he’s not allowed to ask for money. McDaniel denies asking for donations, but  the police view is that an open case  was sufficient to justify the arrest. Violinist Johnny Arco, whose real name is Juan Pablo Chavez, was arrested May 9th and charged whilst he was playing in a MARTA station. An official from MARTA said Arco was arrested for breaking state law, which states a person cannot sell anything or panhandle at a transit station. Arco spent an extraordinary five days in jail. Atlanta City Council’s public safety committee chairman, Michael Julian Bond, is now crafting an amendment to the current law to specifically allow street musicians to…

England and Wales move to de-regulate some licensing – and others look to clamp down on lap dancing
Licensing , Live Events / July 2013
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   The Licensing Act 2003 (Description of Entertainment)(Amendment) Order came into force of the 27rth June, effectively removing (a) theatre and dance events of up to 500 people and (b) indoors sports events for up to 1,000 people held between 08.00 and 23.00 from licensing law and reducing the list of regulated entertainment ion England and Wales. Further, mixed martial arts will become licensable as boxing or wrestling entertainment as opposed to being an indoor sport.  The Order does not reference proposed changes to live music or recorded music and a further consultation is still expected in respect of proposals to partially deregulate community film exhibitions http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2013/9780111538609 And the Morning Advertiser reports that a ground-breaking case that is believed to cost Westminster City Council £2m could limit the scope of fees which licensing authorities will be able to charge under the Licensing Act 2003. Since 2009 local authorities have been prevented from charging anything other than the real cost of licences. In the case, a group of sex shops owners brought the action – one had been charged £29,102 for its annual licence from Westminster. More at http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/General-News/Westminster-council-legal-judgment-could-limit-scope-of-licensing-fees In Malta, the Government is re-focussing on regulating…

Florida Court deems loud music law unconstitutional
Licensing , Live Events / January 2013
USA

LICENSING Live events sector   The Supreme Court of Florida struck down a state law that banned people from playing music too loud. This story all began with Florida lawyer, Richard Catalano, back in 2007. He was listening to a Justin Timberlake song when he was pulled over. The officer gave him a $73 ticket. “All of a sudden lights came on behind me and the officer pulled me over and I had no idea, I honestly had no idea why he was pulling me over,” Catalano said. He challenged the law and argued the case all the way up to the Supreme Court nine months ago. The Court have now sided with Catalano. “I was pretty confident all along that we would win once we got it to the Appellate levels,” he said. The rule was drivers could not blast their music at a volume that was “plainly audible” to someone 25 feet away. The Court unanimously ruled that the law infringed on Floridians freedom of expression. http://www.wctv.tv/news/headlines/Court-Strikes-Down-Radio-Rules-183408741.html

UK’s Live Music Act primed to go
Licensing , Live Events / October 2012
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   In October, Lord Clement Jones’ Live Music Act 2012 comes into force in England and Wales, which will hopefully deregulate smaller live music events and free them from the bureaucracy of the Licensing Act 2003. For the Act to apply: The premises must be open for the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises while the live music is being performed. If the music is amplified, the audience must be fewer than 200 (not including staff and performers) and the music cannot extend outside the hours of 8am to 11pm Monday to Sunday. If the music is unamplified, whether or not it is performed on licenced premises, then there is no limit to the audience numbers, and it no longer requires any sort of licencing permission, provided the music finishes at 11pm. The Act has been widely applauded by the live industry in the UK and is seen as a good tool for promoting grass root events, but to be clear the Act only applies to live music – it does NOT apply to DJ sets, discos or any other type of recorded music or other activities regulated by the Licensing Act. Where a show fits the…

Proud2 licence suspended
Licensing , Live Events / October 2012
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   The Proud empire’s Proud2 venue at the O2 Dome, has had its licence temporarily suspended following an incident earlier this month. According to reports, a fight at the House Of Joy night hosted at the venue on the 2nd September resulted in two men being stabbed and a bouncer being hit with a bucket. The venue was subjected to a 28 day suspension of its licence pending an investigation by Greenwich Council, which will result in a full licence review on the 4th October. http://www.eventmagazine.co.uk/Venues/article/1151391/proud2-ceo-says-venue-damaged-closure/

Leeds victory good news for festival organisers
Licensing , Live Events / September 2012
UK

LICENSING Live events industry   Leeds United Football Club have successfully challenged charges from West Yorkshire Police for policing any areas not “owned, leased or controlled’” by the club. The Police force had charged te club based on a ‘footprint’ on match days which included public highways, car parks and the bus station near to Elland Road stadium, but in the High Court a reluctant Mr Justice Eady, noting the cost to the public purse from his decision, said that nothing in the law allowed the police to charge for a conveniently designated footprint. He added “I appreciate that my interpretation of the law is unfortunate not only for West Yorkshire Police but also for the public purse” but ordered the police to repay Leeds an estimated £1 million it had paid over the last three years concluding that the services rendered fell within the normal constabulary duty to keep the peace saying “More generally, it seems wrong to discount the majority of well-behaved fans who come to Elland Road, whether club supporters or visitors, all of whom retain their status as members of the public. In that capacity, they too are entitled to expect police protection”. Other clubs are…

The great rock’n’roll swindlers are still cashing in
Licensing , Live Events / August 2012
UK

LICENSING Live events industry   “The time has come for the secondary market to be regulated, and a 10 per cent profit cap to go on the resale of tickets as called for by Sharon Hodgson MP ….”  Is it time to ban touts and regulate the secondary ticketing industry? This opinion from Festival Republic’s Melvin Benn makes for interesting reading. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/great-rocknroll-swindlers-are-still-cashing-in-7904367.html In other ticket news, a Scottish man, Paul Reidy, has appeared in court in Scotland accused of selling three music fans fake VIP tickets to T In The Park, and for then posing as a security guard at the festival so he could ‘escort’ the ticket holders onto the site. Reidy is accused of selling the ‘tickets’ for £300 each; he pleaded not guilty to the charges made against him, and will go on trial at Perth Sheriff Court in October. Meanwhile in London hundreds of fans were reportedly turned away from Live Nation’s Wireless Festival this weekend, also having been sold fake tickets, seemingly via websites like Gumtree and eBay.  Those affected by fakes at Wireless has been asked to contact the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau through its website www.nfib.police.uk.

As Leeds United test policing costs, WOMAD plans to go police free
Licensing , Live Events / August 2012
UK

LICENSING Live events industry   Championship football team Leeds United, one of England’s biggest clubs, but with a history of fierce rivalry with other teams such as Cardiff City, Arsenal and Milwall, are challenging the spiralling cost of policing at the club’s Elland Road ground in the High Court. United were charged about £250,000 for policing during the 2007-2008 season, but by the 2011-2012 season this had risen to more than £1m, said club barrister Michael Beloff QC. United claim they have been wrongly charged by West Yorkshire Police for matchday work by the force on streets and car parks around Elland Road. They argue that the police should not bill them for maintaining order or preventing obstructions on land which is neither club-owned nor controlled and Leeds are now seeking to persuade top judge Mr Justice Eady to order a refund of the alleged overpayments. Mr Beloff told the High Court: “West Yorkshire Police’s insistence on charging Leeds United for such policing is illegal, as it is an attempt to charge a private citizen for the normal costs of policing, when such a citizen is entitled to expect such services to be provided by the police pursuant to their…

Bloc weekender cut short after overcrowding fears
Licensing , Live Events / August 2012
UK

LICENSING Live events Industry   The first London edition of  dance music festival Bloc Weekend was closed early, with reports that the event’s site, the new London Pleasure Gardens complex by the River Thames in East London, was dangerously overcrowded with large queues both the enter the site and for tents on site. At 12.30am a decision was made by organisers seemingly, on the advice of the the Metropolitan Police, to shut down the festival, even though headliner Snoop Dogg was yet to go on stage, and the event was due to run to 6am. It was later announced that the second day of the event was also cancelled.  The site was set up to open just in time for the Olympics, with support from both Newham Council and London mayor Boris Johnson, and is organised by the team behind Glastonbury’s Shangri-La area and the site is set to host a wide range of cultural events both this summer and over the next three years, the next of which is the Africa Stage of the pre-Olympics River Of Music event, on 21 and 22 July.  Tickets were £99 or £125 for ‘express’ tickets with private bars and toilets and ‘queue jumping’ rights….

Hard Rock – Bruce cut short, Paul too quiet
Licensing , Live Events / August 2012
UK

LICENSING Live events industry   Fans have complained after Bruce Springsteen’s set at Hyde Park was cut short – well – cut anyway, after the boss overran the pre-agreed Curfew. The singer had just dueted with Sir Paul McCartney, and E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt took to the net with a rant after the power was cut, saying Springsteen wanted to sing one more song, saying  “One of the greatest gigs ever in my opinion. But seriously, when did England become a police state?”. Admitting “We break curfews in every country but only English cops needs to ‘punish us’ by not letting us leave until the entire crowd goes” he sort of explained “Is there just too much fun in the world? We would have been off by eleven if we’d done one more. On a Saturday night! Who were we disturbing?” The answers to that are probably (a) the Police didn’t cut your set and (b) you are disturbing some rather well organised and vocal neighbours and (c) why not go on earlier – if you know you have a long set? Nevertheless Van Zandt continued: “The cops got nothing more important to do? How about they go catch some…

Festival fun helps Highland cops balance books
Licensing , Live Events / July 2012
UK

LICENSING Live events industry   This is the headline in the Ross-shire journal reporting that Scottish music festivals in the Highlands have helped the Northern Constabulary save £2 million in the last year. Policing huge outdoor events like this weekend’s RockNess event near Inverness has helped keep the force in the black and save £2 million out a revenue budget of £51.5m for 2011/12 which was underspent. Scores of officers are needed to police the thousands of revellers who attend several large music festivals and one-off concerts which are annually held in the region including the three-day RockNess event, Tartan Heart at Belladrum near Beauly and Loopallu in Ullapool and they are, of course, charged for.  Andy Cowie, the force’s deputy chief constable, did not know how much cash had been raised from the policing of festivals but said “The public purse should not be subsiding private enterprise”. http://www.ross-shirejournal.co.uk/News/Festival-fun-helps-Highland-cops-balance-books.htm

New proposals to tackle drunkenness
Licensing , Live Events / June 2012
UK

LICENSING Live events industry The UK Government has a proposed a number of changes to the Licensing Act 2003 to reduce drunkeness and alcohol related violence. Local authorities will have new powers to refuse, revoke or impose conditions on a licence to combat irresponsible behaviour  by bar and club owners – reducing the evidential threshold from ‘necessary’ to ‘appropriate’ A new local levy to enable local authorities to require business selling alcohol late at night to contribute to policing costs and other costs their trade causes Local health authorities will be ‘responsible authorities’ so, for example, a hospital regularly treating victims of alcohol violence from a particular venue could instigate a review of that venue’s licence. Hospitals could also share non-personal information concerning assaults and violence The strategy also plans to encourage local authorities to use existing powers under the Licensing Act 2003 – such as the offence of knowingly serving someone alcohol who is drunk – there have just been just three convictions for this offence since 2010. Source: The Magistrate May 2012

Live Music Act to come into force on October 1st 2012
Licensing , Live Events / May 2012
UK

LICENSING Live events industry   The Live Music Act will officially come into effect on October 1 2012 and the UK music industry hosted a reception at the Houses of Parliament to celebrate the occasion with performances by Martina Topley-Bird, Daytona Lights and MP4 – a group of musical MPs – and guests including Huey from the Fun Lovin Criminals, Joan Armatrading, Robert Wyatt and Show of Hands.  The reception was hosted by UK Music and the Musicians Union. As a result of the Acts performances of live amplified music to audiences of less than 200 people between the hours of 8am-11pm will no longer require local authority permission in England and Wales There will be no audience limit for performances of unamplified live music. Introduced by Lib Dem Peer Tim Clement-Jones and promoted in the Commons by Bath MP Don Foster, the Live Music Act will encourage pubs and other small venues to host live music events. Lord Clement-Jones said: “I very much welcome UK Music’s commitment to assessing the impact of the new Act. I am confident that the deregulation of live performances in small venues will be a real boost for musicians and the music economy.” Jo…

Huge opposition to Scottish licensing reforms
Licensing , Live Events / March 2012
UK

LICENSING Live events industry   ALMOST 15,000 people have backed a petition against changes to Scottish licensing law, which it is claimed will threaten the work of Scotland’s artists, musicians and performers. Objectors have said that the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act, which comes into force on April 1 will give local councils a wide discretion and will leave performers, musicians artists facing a “patchwork quilt” of widely differing Public Entertainment Licence (PEL) rules and charges in each authority’s area (something the Scottish Government seems to agree with). Using the examples of Glasgow which has currently suspended implementing the law for six months to enable consultation, obcvetors point out that whilst both City of Edinburgh Council and Highland Council will introduce licence charges even for free artistic events or exhibitions, Dundee City Council is as yet undecided and Aberdeen City Council confirmed that art shows or exhibitions would not require a PEL. Cultural Olympiad commissioned artist Craig Coulthard described the forthcoming legislation as “potentially devastating to grass-roots art and culture in Edinburgh and the rest of the country.”   http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/huge-support-for-petition-against-licensing-changes.16871170

Live Music Bill close to becoming law
Licensing , Live Events / February 2012
UK

LICENSING Live events industry   The UK music industry is “celebrating” after the Live Music Bill passed its third reading and report stage in the House Of Commons. The Bill, introduced by Lib Dem Peer Tim Clement-Jones and promoted in the Commons by Bath MP Don Foster, should now proceed to Royal Assent. As a result, small venues wanting to host live music events will no longer need a local authority entertainment licence – cutting bureaucracy and expense, and making it easier for pubs and clubs to host live performances. Jo Dipple, acting chief executive of UK Music, the UK commercial music industry’s umbrella body, said: “This is a great day for music. The Live Music Bill will make a real and positive difference to lives of musicians. There is no doubt that the current Licensing Act has created needless layers of bureaucracy – making it complicated and expensive for pubs and other small venues to host live gigs. The entire industry would like to thank Lord Clement-Jones and Don Foster MP who have made this change possible.” John Smith, Musicians Union General Secretary, added: “We are delighted that the Live Music Bill has finally made it through Parliament. It…

Emergency licensing review for nightclub after death of university student
Licensing , Live Events / November 2011
UK

LICENSING Live events industry An emergency review will take place by Northampton Borough Council into the premises licence for Lava & Ignite where student Nabila Nanfuka died and eight others were injured, two critically,  in a stampede to the exits in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday 19th October. Northamptonshire Police have formally asked the Borough Council to hold a summary review, also known as an expedited or emergency review under Section 53 of the Licensing Act 2003, into the licence. As a result, a special sub-committee of the licensing panel will meet to consider evidence put forward by the police and decide what action to take. Expedited reviews allow the police and the licensing authority to respond quickly when a serious incident of any kind takes place in a licensed premises. Brian Binley, MP for Northampton South, said: “My thoughts are with the family and friends of the young lady who sadly lost her life and others who were injured and it is important that they get some answers so that they can have some closure. “There are many serious questions which need answering as to how this tragic incident occurred.” Adding  “Youngsters and their families have the right…

Murphy wins in battle to screen Greek TV, as EU competition law “trumps” copyright law
Competition , Copyright , Licensing / November 2011
EU

COPYRIGHT / COMPETITION Broadcasting, licensing Pub landlady Karen Murphy has succeeded in her European court battle against the Premier League over the use of a Greek TV decoder to screen Live Premiership football matches in the UK.  This update is taken from information contained in a press release from the Court of Justice of the European Union (No 102/11, Luxembourg, 4th October 2011). The Court of Justice held in a preliminary ruling that national legislation which prohibits the import, sale or use of foreign decoder cards is contrary to the freedom to provide services and cannot be justified either in light of the objective of protecting intellectual property rights or by the objective of encouraging the public to attend (live football matches) football stadiums. So far as concerns the possibility of justifying that restriction in light of the objective of protecting intellectual property rights, the Court observes that the Football Association Premier League (FAPL) cannot claim copyright in the Premier League matches themselves, as those sporting events cannot be considered to be an author’s own intellectual  creation and, therefore, to be  ‘works’ for the  purposes of copyright in the European Union. The Court also held that even if national law…

UK live sector gets yet another licensing consultation
Licensing , Live Events / October 2011
UK

LICENSING Live events industry The UK music has welcomed plans to cut live music bureaucracy and in a bid to help new talent and promote economic growth, the UK Government has launched (another) consultation seeking to deregulate entertainment licensing in the UK. At present, under terms of the Licensing Act 2003, any venue or event looking to promote live music, no matter how small, must apply for permission from their local authority. Reports from the Government-commissioned Live Music Forum (2007) and the Culture, Media & Sport select committee (2009) both concluded that such an approach has proved detrimental to grass roots live music. When Government last consulted on the issue, in early 2010, 74% of respondents who expressed an opinion said that they favoured an exemption for small venues. This was followed by a Private Members Bill, instigated by Lord Tim Clement-Jones, and seeking to exempt venues under a 200 capacity, which is currently awaiting the report stage in the House of Lords. In March 2011, this Bill gained support across the political spectrum. Feargal Sharkey, chief executive of UK Music said: “Earlier this year, UK Music highlighted how large-scale live music attracts £1.4bn of tourism to the UK. However, the success…

UK government announces licensing reforms
Licensing , Live Events / June 2011
UK

LICENSING Live events industry The UK’s coalition government has announced plans to reform the country’s much criticised Licensing Act to do away with the ‘red tape’ that many says stifles the development of grass roots music. The Tourism Minister, John Penrose, said that in the future only events of over 5,000 people or those that sell alcohol  or where there is adult entertainment will need licences  with Penrose saying  “the current regime makes it harder for new talent to get a chance to perform  In front of audiences and imposes a deadweight cost on small businesses and voluntary  bodies who want to put on shows” adding “live entertainment is a good thing: it improves our cultural life and should be encouraged, not stifled by the clammy hand of bureaucracy” promising that proper controls on alcohol, health and safety and noise nuisance would remain. However the new provisions aim to address issues of alcohol-related violence in The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill currently in the House of Lords in the UK are causing concern – among the provisions are amendments to the Licensing Act 2003 to give the police and local authorities stronger powers to remove or refuse to grant licenses to…

Live sector joins up with UK Music
Licensing , Live Events , Regulation / June 2011
UK

REGULATION / LICENSING Live events industry The UK’s live music sector has finally joined UK Music, the umbrella organisation representing the collective interests of the UK’s commercial music industry – from artists, musicians, songwriters and composers, to major and independent record labels, music managers up, music producers, music publishers, music licensing companies and, now, the live music sector – now ensuring that, for the first time, the UK’s entire commercial music industry will be represented by one umbrella body. The move follows the establishment of the UK Live Music Group, a coming together of the live industry’s main trade associations and representative bodies whose members are The Agents Association, The AFO (the Association of Festival Organisers, representing many jazz and folk festivals), the Association of Independent Festivals (whose members include Bestival and Creamfields), The Concert Promoters Association, The International Live Music Conference, the NAA (National Arenas Association), the PSA (Production Services Association ) and we:Live, the independent venue and promoter association. The group will meet every six weeks and have nominated Paul Latham of Live Nation Entertainment to be their representative on the UK Music board. Feargal Sharkey, chief executive of UK Music said: “This is a fantastic development for UK Music. The…

And finally, our obligatory Royal Wedding story ….
Licensing , Live Events / May 2011
UK

LICENSING Live events Here’s an interesting article in Wales Online about the bizarre implications of the 2003 Licensing Act – Welsh harpists would need a licence to perform at a street party, but Morris Dancers don’t! In Morris Dancers offer live music loophole for Royal Wedding parties, Rhodri Clark explains that The Act exempts the 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”. Read more at  http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2011/04/17/morris-dancers-offer-live-music-loophole-for-royal-wedding-parties-91466-28533447/

Isle of Wight increase 20,000 too many?
Licensing , Live Events / April 2011
UK

LICENSING Live events Ventnorblog.com reports that organisers of the Isle of Wight Festival have indicated to the local council that they want to increase the capacity of the Festival to 89,999. The application (unusually in the UK) has top pass a two stage hurdle – The Isle of Wight Act, brought in after the huge number of people attending the 1970 festival, and the a License Act application. The event organisers have submitted the IW Act application to the council. The Blog spoke to Cllr Geoff Lumley who had brought up the matter at the Full Council meeting this week and whose Pan ward is close to the Festival’s site, “At the licensing committee three years ago, when they wanted to increase the numbers to 70,000, which was too many, John Giddings (Festival organiser), as I recall, said he would never need more than 70,000 – and here we are with an application for 90,000″ adding “My concerns are that this is 20,000 people too many.” It’s understood that council officers are currently preparing a consultation for the event. The Blog further reports Cllr Lumley saying “We’re not against the Festival at all. We just think that it’s too big now for where it is.” Sourced from: http://ventnorblog.com/2011/03/18/are-89999-people-at-isle-of-wight-festival-a-good-idea/#ixzz1HFGshFKc

UK government now to back live music reforms
Licensing , Live Events / April 2011
UK

LICENSING Live events industry The UK coalition government has now confirmed that it would support Lord Tim Clement-Jones’ Live Music Bill, which amends the 2003 Licensing Act, in particular tackling the extra bureaucracy it created for small venues who want to stage live music events. In the House of Lords, Patricia Rawlings, speaking for the government, said the Coalition would support the proposed legislation and help push it through, subject to a review of the technical aspects of the proposals. She added that the government would also likely insist that all unlicensed gigs should be finished by 11pm, rather than midnight as set out in Clement-Jones’s proposals. Clement Jones said that his Bill would benefit hundreds of small pubs, restaurants and church and community halls who want live music at their venue by generally removing the need to apply for a complicated licence and the Bill had the support of new Conservative peer and former ITV chairman Michael Grade who used his maiden speech in the House of Lords to back the Live Music Bill during its second reading, claiming the 2003 Licensing Act which it seeks to amend is a “bad law” that denies up and coming music talent the chance to develop their…