Feargal asks for Licensing Act action
Licensing , Live Events / February 2011
UK

LICENSING Live events industry UK Music has expressed its frustration over the UK Coalition government’s inaction to exempt pubs from Licensing Act red tape. Many had hoped that when the new government came into power the endless (and ultimately pointless) round of consultations under Labour would end – and action would start. UK Music CEO Feargal Sharkey there was “immense frustration” that the new coalition government had yet to deliver on its promise to cut red tape around live music in pubs adding “Live music is part of this country’s DNA. It stitches communities together and in this economic environment remains a vital part of the livelihood of musicians, pubs, clubs, bars and a host of other businesses” … “The Licensing Act is failing small venues and that is having a huge impact on the future of the live industry. We have one of the most successful creative and commercial music industries in the world, but the first step for many live acts is to be able to play in front of a few of their mates in a local pub.” The Music Industries Association, which represents the musical instrument sector, also called for government action, again saying that current rules…

Scottish clampdown on binge drinking in disarray after sheriff’s ruling
Licensing , Live Events / January 2011
UK

LICENSING Live events industry A Dundee bar has won a legal challenge against ban imposed by licensing board on its student discount cards after a Judge ruled that the cars for drinks were legal in a test case on ‘irresponsible’ drinks promotions. Dundee’s Sheriff Court ruled in favour of Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) “Yellow Card” student discount card used at its Scream pub the Nether Inn in Dundee. M&B, which has since sold the pub, appealed against a warning issued by the licensing authority that the discount card breached new licensing laws on irresponsible promotions. It is believed to be the first appeal of the new rules on drinks promotions that came into force with the Licensing Act’s introduction in September 2009. Dundee City Council’s Licensing Committee argued that the cards contravened the irresponsible promotions ban under the 2005 Licensing Act because different prices are offered to a distinct group of people — in this case students. Deals available include 35p off all pints and spirits. However, Sheriff Robert Dunlop QC said the act ruled that drinks discounts had to be in place for 72 hours but did not outlaw different prices for different groups of people. Dundee City Council…

Ruthin nighclub wins back licence and substantial costs
Licensing , Live Events / January 2011
UK

LICENSING Live events industry A NIGHCLUB IN North Wales has won back its licence and left the Local Authority  with a £25,000 bill for costs. The V2 Nightclub in Ruthin successful in overturning a decision to revoke its premises license by Denbighshire County Council who had to meet the club’s £25,000 costs – making history under the 2003 Licensing Act. The V2 had its licence revoked in July after ‘failing to adhere to strict licensing laws’ following complaints by residents, and an incident in June but Gareth Turner, managing director of Birch House Business Centre who own V2, said: “We felt we were very unfairly treated by the council, we had spent a vast amount of money improving the premises since taking over last October and to suffer three reviews in a matter of eight months was unmerited.” Local businesses such as licensed premises, taxi services and food retail outlets wrote in support of the club as trade in Ruthin town centre was severely affected by the closure. The Authority also refused to agree tp a compromise agreement put to them at the beginning of the scheduled three-day hearing resulting in considerable expenses being incurred by both parties. http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/2010/12/15/ruthin-nightclub-decision-overturned-on-appeal-55578-27827477/

Home Office open consultation on Licensing Act
Licensing , Live Events / September 2010
UK

LICENSING Live events industry I have to say that parts of the Licensing Act 2003 were not particularly well thought out and the Act has almost certainly damaged grass roots music – but I didn’t think the Act was that bad. The new Home Secretary, Teresa May, has other ideas and in a move to cut down on binge drinking and late night city centre violence, The Home Office announced their review of the licensing act, they have opened consultation and given it 6 weeks. Saying that she believed that the system needs to be ‘rebalanced in favour of local communities’ and promising ‘tougher action to crack down on the small number of licensed premises which cause problems’ May has outlined a number of areas of concern a) Give licensing authorities the power to refuse licence applications or call for a licence review without requiring relevant representations from a responsible authority. b) Remove the need for licensing authorities to demonstrate their decisions on licences ‘are necessary’ for (rather than of benefit to) the promotion of the licensing objectives. c) Reduce the evidential burden of proof required by licensing authorities in making decisions on licence applications and licence reviews. d) Increase the…

Claudio acquitted on curfew breach
Licensing , Live Events / September 2010
Italy

LICENSING Live events industry Our friend, Italian promoter Claudio Trotter, has been acquitted on charges of breach of the peace arising out of a Bruce Springsteen concert that overran by 22 minutes. The case was brought by a residents association following the concert at Milan’s San Siro Stadium in 2008. Claudio faced a jail sentence if convicted. He told Audience magazine that the fact that the City authorities entertained the charges means that he will not use the Stadium again, pointing out the economic loss this would cause to the stadium and the city. Audience Magazine.  Issue 126  July 2010

Promoters and festivals to fight proposed PRS rate increases
Licensing , Live Events / September 2010
UK

LICENSING Live events industry Having launched their ‘consultation’ in the midst of the busy summer concert and Festival season, music publisher and songwriter collection society PRS for Music have now agreed to extend the deadline for responses to the 31st October following a request from the Association of Independent Festivals who pointed out that many of their members were engaged in promoting their events in the proposed time frame. The Concert promoters Association have said that their members will fight any proposed rate increases, which for popular music events currently stands at 3% of Box Office. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10510574

Live Music Bill reintroduced in the UK
Licensing , Live Events / August 2010
UK

LICENSING Live events industry Liberal peer Lord (Tim) Clement-Jones, whose party is now the junior partner in the UK’s coalition government, has reintroduced his Live Music Bill to the House of Lords, The Bill, in enacted, would make various changes to the 2003 Licensing Act, most of them recommended in 2009 by the Parliamentary Culture Media & Sport Select Committee (chaired by Conservative John Whittingdale) but ignored by the last Labour government – including re-introducing the ‘two in a bar’ rule for pubs (where two or one musicians can perform without the need for a licence), removing small venues from licensing requirements and allowing hospitals, schools and colleges to perform live music without the need for a licence. The Bill attempts to implement some of the 2009 Report which said that licensing conditions were stifling live music and that “We are concerned at the linkage of live music and public order issues by the Licensing Act and its accompanying guidance, and we emphasise that music should not automatically be treated as a disruptive activity which will inevitably lead to nuisance and disorder,” and the Report also said “To encourage the performance of live music we recommend that the Government should…

Barbican nightclub loses late night licence
Licensing , Live Events / August 2010
UK

LICENSING Live events industry A nightclub which kept Barbican residents in London awake into the early hours of the morning at weekends has had its licensed hours cut back and must now close at midnight at weekends. The decision to cut opening times at Parker McMillan club was taken at a packed Islington Licensing Committee meeting and comes after a campaign by local residents who complained of suffering sleepless nights had “called in” the club’s licence for review. They were able to do this under powers in the 2003 Licensing Act. The council’s noise team received 43 complaints about the club over three years. It visited the premises and complainants on 22 occasions. “The frequency of complaints has increased each year,” said a report.  “The current premises are not protecting the neighbouring residents from noise disturbance.”  The committee meeting was shown dramatic film, taken by Islington’s noise patrol and the residents.  It showed what was claimed to have been customers from the club milling about outside at 3.30am and 4.15am and creating a “cacophony” of noise – laughter, shrieks, car horns and animated conversation. It was claimed much of the din could be heard in flats nearby. One leading opponent,…

Brighton’s Freebutt faces closure
Licensing , Live Events / July 2010
UK

LICENCING Live events industry CMU Daily reports that Brighton venue The Freebutt is facing closure after being served with a noise abatement notice by the Environmental Health Department of Brighton & Hove Council, ordering the venue to “cease causing a public audio nuisance” earlier this year. The Freebutt was served with the notice in February this year after the council received just one complaint, from a neighbouring resident, and was given until the 10th May to remedy the problem. Steps were made to do so, but the complainant refused venue staff and audio consultants access to their property, meaning a full diagnosis could not be carried out. Nevertheless, the complaints apparently ceased after this work was carried out, but council officials decided to visit the original property suffering from sound leakage from the venue on 29th April, at which point it was decided that unwanted noise could still be heard. The Freebutt was then told that if further sound proofing work was not carried out by 10 May, it would have to cease putting on live music at its current volume, meaning a drop in the maximum level allowed by the venue’s volume limiter. The venue’s owners argue that this…

A worrying trend of police intervention in Licensing?
Licensing , Live Events / June 2010
UK

LICENSING Live events Industry What do Moonfest 2008, The Big Green Gathering 2009, the Strawberry Fayre in 2010 Cambridge and now this year’s Glade Festival all have in common? Well, they have all been cancelled after intervention by the police in the licensing process – sometimes (but not always) against the wishes of local residents and even the licensing authority. The organisers of the Glade Festival said this “With great sadness we have been forced to cancel the Glade Festival 2010. When we started back in 2004 we did so out of a love of electronic music, free spiritedness and alternative culture and in response to the vibrant free party scene in the UK. We wanted to have our own version of the kind of colourful, creative and non-corporate events that happen in many places across the planet… Looking back it is amazing that it happened. As many Glade fans will know over the years we have fought hard to maintain the integrity of the event against steadily increasing restrictions imposed by local authority and police. The resulting compromises have led to increased costs, increased ticket prices and a throttling of the very essence of what we wanted to do….

Celtic Blue Rock festival loses licence over safety fears
Licensing , Live Events / June 2010
UK

LICENSING Live events industry The 10,000 capacity Celtic Blue Rock Festival in PembrokEshire, Wales, which has previously been included in a top 20 list of alternative UK festivals to visit  has had its licence revoked, amid concerns about public safety. It follows a meeting of Pembrokeshire Council’s sub-licensing committee which was told there was inadequate management and poor organisation. Dyfed-Powys Police urged the council to revoke the premises licence, citing drug and alcohol abuse as dangers to the public. Organisers of the event now intend to appeal against the decision, which they say was taken without allowing proper representations from their committee. The annual event in Llanfyrnach was criticised by health and safety officers who had attended last summer’s three-day event. They said that when visiting the site, they spotted potential hazards and were not provided with electrical certificates before revellers arrived on site. Other issues included emergency access, traffic management and use of police resources and lighting. A report from the licensing committee said: “There is evidence of repeated non-compliance with a number of conditions which have been imposed over the years, a number of which have been agreed to through mediation but which have not been adhered to.”…

Lib Dems push licensing reform for UK election
Licensing , Live Events / May 2010
UK

LICENSING Live events industry Music Week reports that the Liberal Democrats, whose peer Lord Clement-Jones recently attempted to push his Live Music Bill through Parliament, is the only major political party that makes a specific promise to allow a licence exemption for small gigs. Music week say that the Lib Dem manifesto mirrors the key points in the proposed Clement-Jones Bill by suggesting it will “cut red tape for putting on live music”, provide an exemption from the Licensing Act for gigs of 200 people or less and reintroduce the two-in-a-bar rule. The manifesto adds, “We will reintroduce the rule allowing two performers of unamplified music in any licensed premises without the need for an entertainment licence, allow licensed venues for up to 200 people to host live music without the need for an entertainment licence, and remove the requirement for schools and hospitals to apply for a licence.’ The Clement-Jones Bill fell by the wayside because it was not afforded enough debating time to give it a Second Reading in the House of Commons. Instead the Government preferred to continue with its own small venue consultation, which has received over 800 responses that will form the basis of a…

The everlasting threat of noise
Licensing , Live Events / March 2010
UK

LICENSING Live events industry ARTICLE LINK:  By Peter Coulson in the Morning Advertiser An [noise] abatement notice is a potent weapon in a local authority’s armoury because the threat it poses is more or less everlasting. It just stays in the background, waiting for something to happen … with news that a number of venues in the UK are facing closure over noise complaints, sometimes from just a handful of people, Peter Coulson’s article is a practical read. http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/news.ma/article/85895

New government proposals aim to liberalise live music laws in small venues
Licensing , Live Events / February 2010
UK

LICENSING Live events industry New proposals are being put forward by the Government to relax its laws on licensing for live music in small venues. Live music performances for 100 people or less will no longer need to be licensed under plans announced on December 31 by licensing Minister Gerry Sutcliffe. Under the proposals, an exemption from the Licensing Act 2003 for small live music events would make it easier for a wide range of venues to put on live music, and help musicians who want to play to a live audience. Mr Sutcliffe said that “Going to see a band, musician or singer is a very important part of many people’s lives and we’re keen to do what we can to support audiences and musicians” adding “an exemption for venues with 100 people or less would benefit many small venues, particularly unlicensed premises such as village halls and cafes, which may currently be put off by licensing requirements. Under current laws, anyone wanting to put on live music must have a premises licence, a club premises certificate or a temporary event notice (TEN), although there are some exceptions for incidental and background music recently highlighted in a Musicians Union campaign. The new exemption…

MU encourages restaurants and bars to stage music without a licence
Licensing , Live Events / January 2010
UK

LICENSING Live events industry The Musicians Union is calling on pubs and restaurants across the UK to stage live music without a licence, in a bid to promote the exemption for incidental music in the Licensing Act 2003. Tthe MU, along with the British Beer and Pub Association, PRS for Music, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services and the Local Government Association have released a leaflet publicising the fact that premises can put on small scale live music without needing to apply for a licence – according to the guidance for the Licensing Act 2003, no licence is needed for “incidental music” – where the music is not the main reason for people attending the venue. The Group is also distributing information about how venues can use the recently introduced minor variations process to apply to add live music to their licence quickly and at low cost and the news follows recent campaigns by the MU and Equity, as well as opposition MPs, demanding an exemption from the Licensing Act for venues of less than 200 capacity. From The Stage: Published Monday 30 November 2009 at 14:30, written by Alistair Smithhttp://www.thestage.co.uk/news/newsstory.php/26373/mu-encourages-restaurants-and-bars-to-stage and see http://www.thepublican.com/story.asp?sectioncode=7&storycode=65884&c=1

The UK Government finally acts on Licensing Act bureaucracy after a barrage of complaints
Licensing , Live Events / November 2009
UK

LICENSING Live events The ongoing threat to the U.K.’s live music business from bureaucracy introduced by the 2003 Licensing Act was once again the focus of attention at a Music Tank meeting in October held at the PRS for Music building titled ‘Live Music – Licensed to Thrill?’ which is detailed below but the barrage of complaints from across the entertainments industry does seem to finally sparked some Government action. In July 2009 The Culture Media & Sport Select Committee recommended that venues under 200 capacity be excluded from the need for a licence to put on the performance of live music, that the old ‘two in a bar’ rule be introduced and that the controversial Metropolitan Police form 696 be reviewed. At the time Committee chair John Whitingdale said “Broadly speaking the Licensing Act has in our view been a success. The Act has simplified the licensing system, bringing together a number of different regimes into one licence. There is also a greater diversity of premises on the high street and the Act’s emphasis on partnership working is welcome. However in some areas it is clearly not working. However the licensing requirements are still too bureaucratic and costly – particularly…

Lap dancing clubs will need new ‘sex encounter’ licence
Licensing , Live Events / October 2009
UK

LICENSING Live event industry The UK’s somewhat flawed Licensing Act will be revised by new government proposals that would man mean ll lap-dancing clubs will have to apply for a new licence. Lap dancers petitioned the Prime Minister against such a move last year. The Policing and Crime Bill establishes a new Sex Establishment Licence and all venues – including existing lap-dancing – will have to apply for a new licence. Local authorities will have the power to set a limit on the number of licences it grants. There will be a transitional period of 12 months for clubs to apply for a licence. Existing and new clubs can apply in the first six months  at the end of which local authorities will decide how many licences to grant. Local residents would be able to make representations against the granting of a sex establishment licence on the grounds that it is an inappropriate location or that the number in the area is already too great, extending the existing range of objections which are currently limited to the four objectives of the 2003 Licensing Act to sell alcohol – the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, prevention of public nuisance and protection…

Big Green Gathering cancelled
Licensing , Live Events / August 2009
UK

LICENSING Live Event Industry The Big Green Gathering has been cancelled. Britain’s largest green festival was due to happen from Wednesday 29th July until Sunday 2nd August 2009 in Somerset in England. Ticket holders and those planning on attending the Big Green Gathering were urged to stay away from the event site. The announcement followed threatened injunction proceedings from Mendip District Council who were supported by the Avon & Somerset Police.  The Big Green Gathering was granted a licence by Mendip District Council on 30th June, 2009 and a multi-agency meeting was held on 23rd July but following serious concerns from Mendip District Council and emergency services about public safety and possible crime and disorder MDC applied to the High Court in London for an injunction to stop the event going ahead. For more on this story see http://www.efestivals.co.uk/news/09/090727a.shtml For the Big Green Gathering website see http://www.big-green-gathering.com/

UK Government rejects key licensing recommendations
Licensing , Live Events / August 2009
UK

LICENSING Live events industry The UK Government has rejected two key concerns from the live music industry regarding reforms of the 2003 Licensing Act – exempting smaller venues from the bureaucracy of the Act and scrapping the controversial Form 696 – both of which were highlighted in the recent report from parliament’s Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee which addressed a number of the concerns and proposed a small venue exemption and the abolition of the Form 696. Confirming that was the case, the Department Of Culture, Media & Sport told reporters it had “not been able to reach agreement on [small venue] exemptions that [they believe] will deliver an increase in live music”, while on Form 696 it noted concerns within the live industry but said that, as this was a Met Police form, it was up to the Met Police to decide whether or not to keep using it. Commenting on the DCMS’s decision, cross-sector music business trade body UK Music said they were “extremely disappointed by the government’s response. At a time when the British music industry is facing significant recessionary pressure and government’s own research indicates a 5% decrease in the number of venues available to…

The day live music died
Licensing , Live Events / August 2009
UK

LICENSING Live events industry Article Link –  In the wake of the UK Government’s clear reluctance to act on the bureaucracy of the Licensing At 2003, admit it’s mistakes and end the ongoing controversy over the Metropolitan Police’s form 696  Andy McSmith, writing in the The Independent Saturday, 18 July 2009, reports: “You are in a pub, having a good time, and someone walks in with a guitar, drink flows, and the crowd starts singing some old number like, say, “I Fought the Law (And the Law Won)”. Before the evening is out, the poor publican could be fighting the law, and the law will win again. Live music is fast disappearing from pubs, clubs, wine bars, restaurants and other small venues, musicians claim, because of a law passed in 2003, when the Government was trying to eliminate teenage violence that they associated with badly organised music events. Hopes were raised recently when the Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport ended a lengthy investigation into the 2003 Licensing Act by recommending that venues with a capacity of fewer than 200 people should be exempt.“ Read the article in full at http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/the-day-live-music-died-1751562.html

Lib Dem peer introduces a private members bill to rectify licensing mess
Licensing , Live Events / August 2009
UK

LICENSING Live events industry A new private members’ bill aiming to persuade the government to relax its laws on licensing for live music in small venues has been introduced by liberal democrat peer Tim Clement-Jones. The Live Music bill has already won support from music industry umbrella group UK Music, partly thanks to its proposal to allow small venues to put on live music without having to obtain a live entertainment license. “The essence of my bill is that if the public are unhappy about a venue putting on live music they can request a review of the license for that premises,” Clement-Jones told Music Week. His bill has already passed an initial reading in the House Of Lords, and a second reading is scheduled for “November or December,” according to Clement-Jones, who went on to criticise some members of Department For Culture Media And Sport (DCMS) for not supporting the live music sector. He said: “There are a number of DCMS people that show great antipathy toward live music, but they have to realise that historically the biggest British bands started out in their local pubs and if we take that away from young musicians, then the future of the UK…

Culture, Media and Sport Committee publish report on the Licensing Act
Licensing , Live Events / June 2009
UK

LICENSING Live event industry The Culture, Media and Sport Committee have published their Sixth Report in Session 2008-09, The Licensing Act 2003(HC 492 examining the extent to which the benefits promised by the Licensing Act 2003 have been achieved, and assessesing whether the Act works well in practice. It makes a number of recommendations to improve the legislation in areas such as the performance of live music (where it feels regulations should be relaxed, the licensing of sporting and not-for-profit clubs, the provision of Temporary Event Notices (TENs), licences for moveable entertainments such as circuses and the process of licensing lap dancing clubs. Live music and entertainment: The Report expresses concern at the linkage of live music and public order issues by the Act and its accompanying guidance. In the Committee’s view music should not automatically be treated as a disruptive activity, which will inevitably lead to nuisance and disorder. The Report recommends that the Government should exempt venues with a capacity of 200 persons or fewer from the need to obtain a licence for the performance of live music. It also recommends the reintroduction of the two-in-a-bar exemption, enabling venues of any size to put on a performance of non-amplified…

Exotic dancers fees are dramatic performances for tax purposes
Artists , Licensing , Taxation / April 2009
USA

LICENSING / TAXATION Artists ARTICLE LINK:  A US judge has held that pole dancing does constitute a dramatic or artistic performance and thus cover charges imposed by an Albany-area strip club are not subject to state sales taxes. Administrative Law Judge Catherine M. Bennett determined that Nite Moves in Latham, N.Y., qualifies for the “dramatic arts” sales tax exemption under state Tax law 1105(f)(1) after reviewing DVDs of exotic dancers, including material taken from the Internet site PoleJunkies.com, and hearing testimony from a University of Maryland dance scholar. The article in full can be found at http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202429430789&Fees_for_Strippers_Art_Found_Exempt_From_Sales_Tax

Sharkey says councils and police misusing Licensing Act
Licensing , Live Events / December 2008
UK

LICENSING Live event industry UK Music boss Feargal Sharkey has hit out at the Metropolitan Police and London borough councils, saying they have overstepped the mark in their administration of 2003 Licensing Act. Sharkey, who previously headed up the Live Music Forum, the DCMS sponsored panel which was set up to monitor the impact of the 2003 Act on the live music community, was speaking about the state of gig licensing since the new legislation in front of Parliament’s Culture, Media And Sport Select Committee and explained that as licensing is handled by local councils who take advice from local police, the impact of the new laws varies around the country, but in some areas new licensing powers were being used to hinder legitimate live music events. Focusing on London, he said that a dozen councils in the capital had adopted a system proposed by the Police for the risk assessment of live music. This meant promoters were required to fill in the Metropolitan Police Form 696, which requires specific details about the type of music that will be performed plus the names, aliases, phone numbers and addresses of all performers up to 14 days before the event. This, Sharkey…

Gunners get three gigs a year
Licensing , Live Events / December 2008
UK

LICENSING Live events industry Islington Council has agreed to allow three concerts a year at soccer team Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium in London, under strict conditions. According to the new licensing agreement, noise levels must not exceed set limits, concerts must finish by 10:30pm, a dedicated noise complaint line must be open for residents to use during concerts and Arsenal must put together a noise management plan before each concert. Arsenal applied for the introduction of music events at the 60,000-plus capacity stadium after Bruce Springsteen successfully became the first artist to perform there over two nights in May. “Arsenal worked closely with the council to minimise any disturbance from this year’s Bruce Springsteen concerts and now have a chance to show they can responsibly hold concerts in the future,” said Stefan Kasprzyk, chair of the Licensing Committee, in a statement. “If conditions … such as noise limits are broken then the licence can be brought back to the Licensing Committee immediately for review by anyone who feels they have legitimate cause.” www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/industry/touring.jsp

MU joins criticism of Licensing Act
Licensing , Live Events / November 2008
UK

LICENSING Live music From an article by Lalayn Baluch in the Stage The Musicians’ Union has become the latest organisation to criticise the impact of the Licensing Act 2003 on live entertainment in the UK, accusing it of greatly increasing bureaucracy “for very little benefit”. In the MU’s submission to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee’s licensing regime inquiry, the musicians’ trade body argues that the legislation has failed to increase the number of live music events around the country and has deterred small venues from hosting gigs. The trade body is now calling on the government to implement “tangible benefits” for venues which do schedule events – such as tax breaks for those that host more than 50 gigs every year – to create a clearer definition of incidental music and simplify the licensing application process. Meanwhile, the union’s report also mounts pressure on the government to introduce an exemption from the legislation for small venues. The MU’s submission states that the inclusion of regulated entertainment in the licensing act is unnecessary and reveals that according to the majority of police chiefs around the country, live music has no effect on the levels of crime and disorder. It also criticises the…

Police Licensing Act objections force Moonfest cancellation
Health & Safety , Licensing , Live Events / September 2008
UK

LICENSING / HEALTH & SAFETY Live event industry For the first time in the UK the police have used Section 160 (orders to close premises in an area experiencing disorder) of the Licensing Act 2003 to get a live festival performance stopped. Wiltshire Constabulary applied to the Magistrates to ban a festival appearance by Pete Doherty and his band Babyshambles on the grounds that there could be public disorder and applied to have the whole of the Friday of the Moonfest festival be scrapped due to crowd control issues. A Closure Order may be made by a Magistrates’ Court on application by the Police where the Court is of the opinion that closure is necessary in the interests of public safety because of order or likely disorder on the premises, or in the vicinity and relate to, the premises and/or an order is necessary to ensure no public nuisance is or is likely to be caused by noise coming from the premises. North Wiltshire Magistrates agreed to the police application to cancel the show on the Friday. The Police made no application for Saturday and Sunday which featured The Australian Pink Floyd, Ozric Tentacles, Zenyth, Curiosity Killed the Cat, Shakatak, Heaven 17,…

Police investigate cheeky buttock act in Keswick
Licensing , Live Events / September 2008
UK

LICENSING Live event industry Two street entertainers could face prosecution after the mayor of Keswick accused them of going “beyond public decency” with their act in the Lake District town’s Market Square. Police acted following complaints from councillor Roger Purkiss. The two men, who are from Bristol and who say they are circus trained begin their act in trousers and T-shirts and perform an acrobatic act that ends up with them wearing just thongs and socks, putting lighted torches down their thongs and as a finale sticking lit sparklers between their buttocks and doing hand stands. Their 20-minute act attracted over 100 spectators earlier this week, some of them children, and stunts included blowing up a rubber glove on their heads then bursting it with a torch. Cllr Purkiss claims the act is disgraceful behaviour and very distasteful – it perhaps wouldn’t be out of place in an adult nightclub but not on the streets of the town in frnt of families wit children …. and not what a Lakeland tourist town is all about’. A police spokesman told the Lake District Herald that a decision on whether they were to be charged with a public order offence would be…

Loud reggae nights lead to criminal conviction
Licensing , Live Events / August 2008
UK

LICENSING  Live event industry  A Bradford businessman has been given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £2,291.60 over noise complaints. Nirmal Singh MBE, who owns Marlborough Hall, a former cinema in Carlisle Road, Manningham, was charged with failing to comply with a noise abatement order which Bradford Council served in June 2006 after reggae nights led to complaints from a number of residents that the loud drum beats were making it “impossible” for them to sleep and in one case, left the householder’s floor thumping. Magistrates heard that Singh, 56, had been repeatedly warned about the complaints and that the Council would take action if he did nothing to prevent the noise nuisance continuing. It was accepted that Singh did not promote the reggae nights but as the venue owner had failed to rake action to prevent the nuisance. Singh pleased guilty to three charges. The reggae nights have now been stopped. http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/3202086.Community_stalwart_admits_noise_breaches/

New Licensing Act simply extends trouble later into the night
Licensing , Live Events / August 2008
UK

LICENSING Live events The relaxation of the licensing laws has failed to reduce drunken violence while costing taxpayers £100m, a report from the Local Government Association (LGA) says. The survey found that around seven in 10 police authorities, primary care trusts and councils had seen either no change or an increase in alcohol-related disorder. At the same time the cost to council taxpayers have stretched resources, with 86% of health authorities and 94% of councils reporting increased pressure. The findings were based on responses from 51 local authorities, 49 primary care trusts and 20 police forces. Around a third of primary care trusts said they had experienced a rise in alcohol-related incidents. Meanwhile, half of police authorities reported that the 2003 Licensing Act had simply led to alcohol-related disorder occurring later at night than prior to the new rules. The LGA claimed that administering the Act, which involved more than 190,000 pubs, restaurants and clubs being issued with new licences, and monitoring it had cost local authorities more than £100m. Sir Simon Milton, chairman of the LGA, said the new drinks laws had made “no impact whatsoever on reducing the alcohol-related violence that blights town centres” adding that “The vast…

High Court refuses to review Magistrates’ decision to refuse a lapdance licence
Licensing , Live Events / August 2008
UK

LICENSING Live industry A bid to open Durham’s first lap-dancing bar has failed after the High Court refused to overturn the decision of a Magistrates Court which itself overturned a decisionn allowing a licence for the club by the Local Authority. South Tyneside firm Vimac Leisure went to the High Court to overturn the rejection of its controversial application to start a lap-dancing club in the centre of Durham. The company sought the Judicial Review after magistrates overruled the city council’s approval for the controversial planning application following objections from residents. The decision was welcomed by Durham City MP Roberta Blackman-Woods who has led a campaign to make it easier for local authorities to turn down attempts to open lap-dancing clubs. For licensing purposes, she wants them to be treated as “sexual encounter venues” not just pub and club entertainments – a move backed by Government Minister Gerry Sutcliffe. Dr Blackman-Woods said: “This shows what I have always said – that local councils do have the authority and the duty to turn down applications for these clubs where having one would be inappropriate. “Local people put an awful lot of hard work into showing that having a lap-dancing club on…

Select Committee announce Licensing Act inquiry
Licensing , Live Events / August 2008
UK

LICENSING Live events An inquiry into the impact of the Licensing Act 2003 is to be launched by the Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport. The Committee is seeking views from interested parties on whether the legislation, which allows for 24 hour opening, has had any effect on the levels of public nuisance, the number of night-time offences or perception of public safety. It also wants to establish the impact the act has had on live music, sporting and social clubs, if it has led to financial savings for relevant industries and whether it has reduced bureaucracy for those applying for and administering licences. Details of how to make a submission can be found athttp://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/culture__media_and_sport.cfm http://www.thestage.co.uk/news/newsstory.php/21317/licensing-act-inquiry-announced

Facebook party forces potential alcohol ban at beach resort
Licensing , Live Events / August 2008
UK

LICENSING Live events It was planned to stop every shop and pub in a seaside resort from selling alcohol after it was targeted as the venue for a “night of mayhem” beach party for 10,000 people organised on the social networking site Facebook. Police officers in Torbay, Devon, say that thousands of revellers were expected to gather at one of five possible beaches for the mass party at the weekend. The event had been advertised on Facebook with organisers hailing it as “the biggest ever beach party” with alcohol, loud music and barbecues. Described as a “night of mayhem” between the 4 th and 6 th July the exact location and time would not be posted until hours beforehand and police, fearing a health and safety risk, were desperate to stop the party taking place. Officers claimed the mass beach party was planned to be held next to one of five beaches – in Torquay, Paignton, Preston, Goodrington or Broadsands and planned to use powers under the Licensing Act 2003 to introduce an emergency blanket ban on the sale of any alcohol in the five areas. Police said as soon as they know the location every retailer and pub in…

Licensing concerns expressed at public meeting
Licensing , Live Events / July 2008
UK

LICENSING Live events The impact of temporary alcohol licences (Temporary Event Notices) for one-off events on policing are to be debated at a public meeting in Lewes, Sussex. The Sussex Police Authority – the body that holds the police’s purse strings – is expected to agree to lobby the government to make improvements to the system by which small scale events for less than 500 people (including staff and performers) gain temporary licences. In a joint report Chief Constable Martin Richards and authority Chief Executive John Godfrey said the events that don’t need permission under the Licensing Act 2003 can cause policing problems and considerable use of resources. Only the police can object to the grant of the licence but they are only given 48 hours (not working hours) to comment on the plans which they say often falls over the weekend when licensing officers may be involved on operations and unable to assess the impact of each individual application. If the police do object then a hearing must be held at least 24 hours before the event unless agreement can be reached. The officers are recommending that the authority press the government to make improvements to the system to…

Change of use allowed despite noise concerns
Licensing , Live Events / July 2008
UK

LICENSING / PLANNING Live events and venues From www.planningresource.co.uk The change of use of a former cinema in Cheltenham into ground-floor restaurants with a 1400 ncapacity nightclub above has been allowed after an inspector found that it would not harm residents’ living conditions, public order or highway and pedestrian safety. The council’s main concerns focused on the impact arising from people, some likely to be under the influence of alcohol, arriving at or leaving the club well into the early hours. However, the inspector noted that there were very few residential properties in the street and its immediate vicinity other than flats above ground-floor commercial uses. In her view, this gave some separation from noise and disturbance in the street below. She also held that some late-night noise and disturbance was to be expected in this central location. While recognising that a nightclub of the size proposed would almost certainly have some negative impact as a result of noise, disturbance and antisocial behaviour, she remarked that national and local policy directs such uses to town centre locations. The inspector observed that the appellant’s projections for arrivals and departures at the club reflected the more gradual dispersal pattern that has emerged since…

Medianet repond to publisher’s lawsuit
USA

COPYRIGHT, LICENSING Music publishing, internet Digital music provider MediaNet – formerly MusicNet – has hit out at the US’s National Music Publisher Association who have begun legal action against them. The NMPA have accused MediaNet of reneging on past commitments to pay publishing royalties – both ‘performing’ and ‘mechanical’ kind – on their on-demand and limited play download services. There is an ongoing dispute over what publishing royalties such MediaNet services should pay – especially with mechanical royalties – but the publishers argue that MediaNet have changed their position regarding paying some royalties for past services once an agreement is finally reached. MediaNet has denied any wrongdoing, and criticised the legal action arguing it is one of the few organisations that actually has a long history of working with music companies to properly licence digital music services, in a domain dominated by illegal unlicensed music operations. MediaNet provides the back-end to digital music services operated by a number of other brands and retailers. From the CMU Daily www.cmumusicnetwork.co.uk

UK Government responds on Licensing Act problems
Licensing , Live Events / January 2008
UK

LICENSING Live music industry In a somewhat lacklustre announcement, the UK Government has nodded through a token £500,000 (E700,000) to support new initiatives in developing rehearsal spaces for performing artists in the live music industry in the UK – which it estimates is worth £743 million per year (E1,040 million) up 8% from 2006.  In its response to the Live Music Forum’s report on the live industry which was set up after the introduction of the Licensing Act in 2005, the Government has said said it would “explore exemptions from licences for some small venues” – but unfortunately no time frame is given. The DCMS release added that it would “work with the Mayor of London to protect venues” – but no mechanisms are given. The response also said that the Government would help the National Union of Students (NUS) to re-establish a live music network to increase the number of universities putting on live music – although the NUS had itself already set up the new uLive circuit in June 2007 – so this is hardly a new initiative. All in all a most disappointing response. The Forum’s report, published in July, made recommendations on how the Government could improve the licensing system for live music venues and how it could better promote live…

Bond girls parties do not fall foul of Licensing Act
Licensing , Live Events / December 2007
UK

LICENSING Live event industry Local villagers hoping to curtail ex-Bond girl Jane Seymour’s use of her mansion for private parties and corporate events have suffered a blow in court. Residents complained that gatherings at St Catherine’s Court, near Bath, have caused noise and traffic problems. and called for restrictions to be imposed on the licence, including a limit of 12 events a year, a ban on fireworks and notification when events were due to take place. The residents have taken legal action to try to get its 24-hour alcohol and entertainment licence amended But Bath magistrates said on Wednesday that traffic could not be considered a nuisance under the Licensing Act 2003 and it was made clear that private parties would not in all events be covered by the Act which only applied when alcohol was sold on the premises. The only issues which can be considered by local authorities (and the courts) when looking at licensable activities (including the sale of alcohol and the provision of regulated entertainment) are the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children. It is arguable that traffic could be a public nuisance in certain…

New neighbours object to live music venue
Health & Safety , Licensing , Live Events / November 2007
UK

HEALTH & SAFETY / LICENSING  Live events industry  By Marc P Holmes The Birmingham Mail has reported a dispute concerning noise levels between the residents of a newly built housing development and a long-standing drinking hole in the traditionally vibrant Irish Quarter of Digbeth. The Spotted Dog public house now finds itself in a neighbourhood being regenerated with new residential buyers and tenants and has been served with a noise abatement order. The case raises interesting issues concerning the regulation of noise emanating from social and live music venues – if less tolerant new neighbours move into close proximity to boisterous neighbours, exactly what should the cost of harmony between the two parties amount to: the death of another live music venue or the daily donning of ear muffs for those unhappy residents? The answer is hopefully neither, with the soundproofing of new properties the most obvious solution. However, this then raises the critical issue – who is to bear the cost? In Australia, under the ‘agent of change’ doctrine, residential developers building city centre apartments are obliged by law to soundproof developments themselves: The owner of one live music venue objected to a three-storey apartment block being built in a warehouse shell behind his venue. The…

Licensing Act criticised by Local Authority
Licensing , Live Events / October 2007
UK

LICENSING Live event industry Councillors have expressed their concerns over the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003 after the small three day Echo music festival went ahead under the provisions of the Act by using a Temporary Event Notice (TEN). TENS were introduced to streamline the licensing of small one off events. This event was held on private farmland. Neither the Local Authority nor local residents are entitled to object to a TEN under the current legislation – only the police can object on grounds of preventing crime and disorder and then only within 48 hours of receiving the notice. This type of licence can only be used for numbers not exceeding 499 persons – including staff and performers. With Echo, the council did serve a pre-emptive noise abatement order on festival organisers. Comments from councillors included that neighbours were unhappy at not being consulted and were worried about traffic, noise and safety and that the Act was “yet again, another example of this ridiculous legislation introduced by this Government.” http://www.thisisbasingstoke.co.uk/display.var.1674266.0.music_festival_raises_issue_with_legislation.php

George Michael gets Wembley over-run fine
Licensing , Live Events / August 2007
UK

LICENSING Live event industry George Michael has been fined £130,000 for overrunning the licence curfew at Wembley Stadium on June 9 th. The singer has had to pay £10,000 per minute for the over-run. Car parking fines generated the local authority another £36,000 (their second highest ever haul!). http://www.nme.com/news/george-michael/29632

Magistrates can attach conditions on appeal Crawley Borough Council v Attenborough [2006] EWHC 1278 (Admin) 171 JP 69
Licensing , Live Events / August 2007
UK

LICENSING Live event industry A Magistrates Court, sitting as a licensing appeals court from the decision of a local authority, may impose conditions in its decision when awarding a licence but those conditions must be clear and enforceable. Here a pub successfully challenged a local authority’s refusal to extend licence hours on noise grounds. The High Court held that the Magistrates Court has the power to make such order as to costs as it sees fit on appeal. See The Magistrate Volume 63 No 7

Fudge bar overcomes West End blanket ban
Licensing , Live Events / August 2007
UK

LICENCING Live event industry A landmark licensing case has seen a London bar granted extended hours in the West End stress area. Fudge, just off London’s inconic Leicester Square, was granted a licence until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays, following an appeal to Westminster Magistrates Court. Westminster City Council operates the policy, similar to a cumulative impact policy, under the Licensing Act 2003, meaning that any application for a new licence or variation are usually rejected, unless there are “exceptional” circumstances. Under the terms of the policy, pubs and bar are limited to opening only during “core hours” – until 11.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays, 11pm Mondays to Thursdays and 10pm on Sundays. The decision is believed to be the first to over turn this policy. Among the reasons for magistrates granting the application were a low level of residents in the area and a voluntary reduction of the venue’s capacity. The bar had applied for extended hours during the week and a 2am licence for Fridays and Saturdays, but was eventually offered 1am. The Council added that the applicants had agreed to a number of conditions that addressed the underlying reasons for the Stress Area. The extended hours were…

Small-scale concerts are being put at risk by new licensing laws, according to a government-backed group
Licensing , Live Events / August 2007
UK

LICENSING Live event industry The Live Music Forum says that whilst the Licensing Act 2003 was broadly ‘neutral’ in its effect on live music, grass roots music has suffered because of increased bureaucracy and regulation and should be exempt from the new regulations. The Forum, led by Feargal Sharkey, also said that some councils are “unreasonable” when issuing licences. The laws came into effect in 2005, introducing a single licence covering entertainment and alcohol, aimed at easing restrictions on live music. The Forum, which was set up by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, said on one occasion a brass band was told it could only perform religious songs if their performance was for charity. It was then asked to apply for a licence which would cost more than the funds it expected to raise. A pub landlady was told she required a variation in her licence to allow regular gatherings of a group of elderly men who sang folk songs together. The group has also recommended that acoustic performances should be exempt from licensing, that ‘incidental music’ – not the main attraction at a venue – be clarified and exempt and that venues holding less than 100 people be exempt….

Cumbrian pubs and venues forced to operate illegally due to council delays
Licensing , Live Events / August 2007
UK

LICENSING Live event industry Pubs in Allerdale in North Cumbria have been forced to operate illegally because Allerdale Borough Council has failed to issue premises licences for licensed premises seemingly because of understaffing. Scores of pubs are believed to have been opening illegally for nearly two years because Under the Licensing Act 2003 pubs should have had their licences displayed behind the bar from November 24, 2005 – the first day of the Licensing Act. The council now say that it has authorised the recruitment of two members of staff for six months to shift the backlog and that “All private members’ clubs certificates have been issued, as have the biggest part of the premises licences for regulated entertainment (no alcohol), and most of the premises formerly holding off licences.” The British Beer & Pub Association added that the Council’s lack of action was inexcusable as it “it exposes licensees to threats of action because they don’t have a license,” and added that “given the expectations placed on our industry by local authorities, it’s only right that we set expectations on local authorities, and in this area they have fallen woefully short” http://www.thepublican.com/story.asp?sectioncode=7&storycode=56247&c=1

Figures show l that late night drinking changes lead to small rises in violence, injury and drink-driving but drink related injuries rise rapidly
Licensing , Live Events / August 2007
UK

LICENSING Live event industry Figures released by the Home Office as part of the British Crime Survey have provided statistics on the impact of round-the-clock licensing since its introduction in November 2005. The figures, based on reports from 30 police forces in England and Wales, showed 940,522 violent crimes (including woundings and assaults), harassments and cases of disorder and criminal damage were committed from 6pm to 6am in the year after pubs and clubs were allowed to open later. That is a negligible 0.7 per cent increase on the 933,701 recorded in the previous year. Whilst the Times reported that “ More than one million people were attacked by drunken thugs last year as the first official analysis of round-the-clock drinking revealed increasing public disorder in the early hours as Alcohol-fuelled violence rose in the first full year of relaxed licensing laws, with a particular jump in the hours after midnight as clubs and pubs stayed open later ” A Home Office official, said: “There was a lot of worry when we were changing the Licensing Act that we would be engulfed by mayhem and murder. We all know from our experience that has not happened.” But there was a…

Brecon Jazz Festival mourns the loss of street gigs
Licensing , Live Events / August 2007
UK

LICENSING Live event Industry The Brecon Jazz festival is really missing its outdoor street gigs which became impossible to stage because the town centre “isn’t licensable as a premises. About 10 events were cancelled in what looks like being an otherwise hugely successful event. Live UK Magazine issue 89

Ticket Touting – the Great Rock & Roll Swindle
UK

HEALTH & SAFETY / LICENSING Live Event Industry ARTICLE LINK –  “The city is wrapped in spring smog as a queue snakes its way around the Forum in Kentish Town. Even here in grubby north London, at 7pm on a weekday evening, with the modest attraction being the indie jangle of the Shins, every ticket has been sold. Except, of course, they haven’t. Easy to spot in the forest of skinny jeans are the oversized sports jackets and white trainers of the ticket touts, selling and reselling for a tasty profit ……. A useful article on touts – old style and the new bedroom tout using eBay and other online sites to sell tickets at often vast profits. ….” See the full article at http://music.guardian.co.uk/rock/story/0,,2050841,00.html see alsohttp://www.radionz.co.nz/news/latest/200704270750/music_promoter_asks_to_be_covered_by_anti-scalping_law

New guidelines on licensing live music published
Licensing , Live Events / February 2007
UK

LICENSING Live event industry Local authorities will have to take into account the volume at which a band plays and whether or not a venue advertises them as the main attraction when deciding if live entertainment needs to be licensed, according to new guidelines. The Department for Culture Media and Sport has published draft guidance to help local authorities interpret the Licensing Act, including an expanded section on how to determine whether music is “incidental” and therefore not licensable under the law. Pubs and clubs could run into trouble if authorities decide that live music is the “main reason for people attending the premises” and if it “predominates over other activities”. http://www.thestage.co.uk/news/newsstory.php/15703/new-guidelines-for-live-music-licences