February 2003

Live Concert Industry

The UK’s biggest festival, Glastonbury, is having to re-apply for a Public Entertainment Licence after its initial application was rejected by Mendip District Council (MDC) despite no objections from MDC’s own officers or statutory consultees. The new application will be heard on the 17th February 2003.

The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 provides that responsibility for controlling places of public entertainment (music, dancing, etc) rests with the district council or in London with the relevant London Borough. It would normally be an offence to organise public entertainment without a licence or to be in breach of any terms or conditions of a licence granted. At present the licensing of public entertainment applies to all indoor and outdoor events (except bar events with two or less performers). The relevant local authority will have a very wide discretion with the terms and conditions of the licence but as a minimum the authority can impose terms and conditions to secure the safety of performers and others present, to ensure there is adequate access for emergency vehicles and provide toilets and sanitation and to present unreasonable noise and disturbance to the neighbourhood. The Public Entertainment Licence (Drugs Misuse) Act 1997 allows local authorities to revoke licences, impose terms or refuse to renew licences where there was a serious problem with the supply of controlled drugs on premises.

After being prosecuted for exceeding licensed numbers in 2000 the Festival took a ‘year off’ in 2001 and built the ‘super fence’ for 2002. Whilst most commentators agree that the fence was hugely successful, local residents argue it pushed trouble makers without tickets into local villages. If Glastonbury’s re-application is again rejected by MDC the Festival can appeal the decision to the Magistrates Court (these are first tier courts in the UK which primarily exercise criminal jurisdiction but the courts also hear certain licensing matters and appeals from local authority decisions).
See A student information pack is also available from the site.
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