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Restoring the Right to Sing in Licensed Premises

Comment 30th July 2010

The Licensing Legislation has seriously harmed small events and informal music in pubs, which are such a traditional part of our English culture.  About 50% of bars and 75% of restaurants now have no live music permission.  Obtaining permission for the mildest live music remains costly and time-consuming.  The Culture, Media and Sport Committee recommended exemptions for most small-scale performances in schools, hospitals, restaurants and licensed premises and for un-amplified performance by one or two musicians.  The government at the time said “no”.  But those exemptions would restore some fairness in the regulation of live music and end the criminalising of informal un-amplified grassroots music.

i am a Barbershop Singer and, together with the other members of my quartet and my chorus, we could find ourselves being evicted from a pub for singing a beautiful song unaccompanied with only the use of a pitch pipe.  I have never heard of a barbershop quartet inciting violence!  Sureley some sense of proportion is necessary for any law.  This is truly a 'labour folly' and it should be demolished.

As part of this, the granting of licences should be returned to the local magistrates court, who used to do the task efficiently and at a low cost.  Over £3000 for a licence is quite outrageous.

Keep Music Live!

Why does this matter?

Under the Licensing Act live music is criminalised.  A performance by one musician in a bar, restaurant, school or hospital not licensed for live music could lead to a criminal prosecution of those organising the event.  Even a piano may count as a licensable 'entertainment facility'.  By contrast, amplified big screen broadcast entertainment is exempt. The government says the Act is necessary to control noise nuisance, crime, disorder and public safety, even though other laws already deal with those risks.

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