UK’s Live Music Act primed to go

October 2012

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 above criteria, even on licensed premises any licencing conditions relating to live music will be “dis-applied” up to 11pm, so any condition on the licence which relate to live music will have no effect: For example, a condition stating “doors and windows to be closed during regulated entertainment” or “noise limiters will be used during live music” won’t be enforceable – although of course other statutory provisions to prevent noise pollution will still apply. and an interesting history of the Act by campaigner Hamish Birchall here on the Live Music Exchange website

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