Government looks to change live music rules for pubs, restaurants and hotels

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: License

Pubs, restaurants and hotels may find it easier to host live bands if Government proposals to change the Licensing Act are approved
Pubs, restaurants and hotels may find it easier to host live bands if Government proposals to change the Licensing Act are approved
Pubs, restaurants and hotels may no longer have to apply for a licence if they want to host live bands or other entertainment if proposals to scrap parts of the Licensing Act are accepted.

Under proposals, outlined in a consultation launched by the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) today, there would be no longer be a need to apply, or pay for licences for events holding up to 5,000 people, making it easier for pubs to host live bands or restaurants and hotels to host live pianists for example.

Tourism Minister John Penrose said deregulation would also help new talent to emerge and promote economic growth.

“Current entertainment licensing rules are a mess,” he said. “Pointless bureaucracy and licence fees imposed on community groups trying to put on simple amateur productions and fundraising events sap energy and deaden people’s desire to get involved.

“Deregulation here will also make it easier for new talent to get started and help pubs diversify into other activities to help weather the present tough economic climate.”

The consultation will aim to get the views of those working in the industry to ensure the prevention of public nuisance, the protection of children from harm and to maintain public safety. Ministers confirmed there will be no relaxation of the rules controlling gatherings of more than 5,000 people, boxing and wrestling, and things classed as sexual entertainment.

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The proposals have been welcomed by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR).

Strategic affairs director Kate Nicholls said: “The ALMR has been calling for this for a long time. It is particularly needed now as our latest benchmarking survey revealed the rising costs of putting on entertainment has been resulting in a major switch-off among operators.
“Therefore, if these proposals are adopted we would hope to see a significant uplift in the number of venues giving an opportunity to young and fledgling performers. For many years, pubs and bars have offered a platform for exciting new artistic talent and it is vital this tradition is not lost for the sake of Britain’s cultural future."

Brigid Simmonds of the British Beer & Pub Association and chairman of the Tourism Alliance said the move would be a huge boost to the tourism industry.

"The whole tourism industry in Britain could be an engine for creating new jobs, so removing restrictions on providing entertainment in pubs, schools, historic houses, arts and other venues would be a great move.

“Venues wanting to put on music or other entertainments often have to apply to their Local Authority for permission – an unnecessary burden for business and council alike."

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More on Young Performers

Posted by Jeremy Shepherd,

...forgot to mention that the whole point I was trying to get across is that there are lots of youth clubs, music schools, groups of friends and so on who are really the epicentre of our next generation of musicians and all the revenue that brings to the country and to HMRC, yet current regulations (or perceptions of current regulations) means it's massively difficult for them to perfomr live to an audience.

So any deregulating of the Licensing Act would be doing a great service if this area was looked at, too.

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Young performers

Posted by Jeremy Shepherd,

Great idea, but if the government really wants to help "new talent" then they need to address the age issue of young performers. My son has appeared at Glastonbury, yet some local pubs refused to have him perform as he was under 16 at the time, or he'd play then get ushered unceremoniously out of the door as soon as the lights went down.

Additionally, so many landlords and licencees are completely ignorant of who is and who isn't allowed on licenced premises, in terms of age.

So great, go for it, but for it to really work and encourage young musicians, whole other areas of the Licensing Act will need reform too.

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