Lord Clement-Jones’ live music bill inchesÂ closer to becoming law with itsÂ Committee stage in the House of Lords this Friday morning, 15 July: http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-11/livemusichl.html
TheÂ bill wouldÂ roll backÂ draconianÂ licensing restrictions imposed on live music by the Labour government’s 2003 Licensing Act. It is supportedÂ by the music industry, campaignersÂ and performers’ unions.
As amended, itÂ wouldÂ exemptÂ from entertainment licensing performances of live music between 8am and 11pm toÂ audiences of up to 200. The exemption could be disapplied in pubs and barsÂ if noise complaints were upheld at a licence review.Â PerformancesÂ in hospitals, schools,Â and other workplaces, often caught by the existing regime, would be exempt.Â The entertainment facilities provisions would be removed entirely. Unamplified performance would be exempt, subject to the hours condition, and recorded as well as live music could accompany morris dancing (only unamplified accompaniment is allowed at present).
AÂ number of amendmentsÂ will be put forward at Committee:
Most areÂ technical, reflecting the complexity of theÂ Licensing Act’sÂ music provisions, butÂ includeÂ changing theÂ exemption cut-off timeÂ from midnight to 11pm. This was one of the conditions required for government support announced by Baroness Rawlings during the bill’s 2nd Reading on 04 March: http://bit.ly/ol4H3A
After Committee,Â twoÂ further stages remain in the House of Lords, Report and 3rd reading,Â before the bill can go toÂ the House of Commons.
There is no sign yet of theÂ more radical entertainment licensing deregulation consultation promised by culture minister John Penrose in May (see The Stage 26 May: http://www.thestage.co.uk/news/newsstory.php/32313/dcms-looks-to-cull-live-entertainment )
A number of recent developments emphasise the urgent need for reform.Â TheÂ Olympic Stadium, for example,Â has failed toÂ apply for entertainment facilities authorisation for live music: http://bit.ly/o4c3nw [see p4, box i]
Without such authorisation,Â no live musicÂ using stadium-provided amplification, staging orÂ lighting, could take place.Â Last week I asked Newham CouncilÂ forÂ comment.Â To date they have not replied.
In St Leonards, Cafe RelaxÂ is applying for a variation to permit a DJ 7 days a week between 11:00 and 23:00hrs. Live music is to be restricted to Thu to Sat 19:00 to 22:00hrs, and Sun 14:00 to 17:00. It is further restricted to aÂ maximum ofÂ 3 musicians plus a potential jazz genre restriction: http://bit.ly/pc6gmp
Hounslow CouncilÂ has banned outdoors live music at Kings House School Sports Ground. Restrictions on indoor live music include: ‘Events will not be open to the general public’ andÂ ’Security and trained staff will be present at all events’: http://bit.ly/qJIz3h
South Oxfordshire District Council has restricted live music to two days a week at Magoo’s, Henley-on-Thames. This is further restricted apparentlyÂ to no more than two musiciansÂ playingÂ acousticÂ guitar and saxophone, but notÂ both at once!
Last but not least, the Red Lion in Whitehall, where in 2001 theÂ Lords Redesdale and Colwyn,Â in the company of BillyÂ Bragg and others,Â famously got ‘thrown out’ to draw attention to the daft ‘two in a bar rule’, is STILL restricted to two musicians.Â ItÂ is free to host 3 or moreÂ DJs, however, and – likeÂ everyÂ pub or bar -Â unlimited big screen broadcast entertainment.Â See:Â http://bit.ly/rsI3ak
My thanks to campaigners John King, Charlotte Collingwood and Roger Gall for these examples