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Help Change Music In My Country

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Subject: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Dec 01 - 07:45 AM

Over the past year I have struggled against a particular local problem presented to traditional musical activities by the UK's outdated licensing legislation and local authority enforcement of this.

I have received much help from many contributors to the Mudcat (wherever they live) and this has made a real difference. Mainly in demonstrating that I was not a lone voice, representing a minority view that can safely be ignored and dismissed. These letters and e mails have helped to raise public awareness to the threat presented by current legislation to music making generally and traditional activities in particular. Details of this can be found on the following threads and websites.

UK folkies urgent help Minister insults folk music Uk folkies take note the law Gareth's site, local press coverage Trevor Gilson's site, Session Harassment, more general background information CaLM, more (London based campaign) information. The proposed reforms (White Paper)

We all need to ensure that the proposed new legislation actually does improve the situation. There are some pretty big players in these licensing reform and there is great danger that our voice will not be heard. It is vital that it is.

To that end can I ask that the same concerted effort that was directed at my local authority, which was so successful, now be made to inform the Government of our concerns. These expressed from potential overseas tourists seem to hit home and those just expressing incredulity at the attitude here and contrasting them with other country's attitudes, would be effective too.

Please can you all help to change our country's attitude toward music forever?

Kim.Howells@culture.gsi.gov.uk is the minister responsible. The civil servants at the ministry do not seem to think that the public has many concerns for this whole issue. Can you please help to change that perception? If we do not, I fear that the official 'jobsworths', will yet prevail.

UK residents (even folkies) do live in a democracy and do have a voice, we must use it now.

Below is a suggested letter that could be sent to our MPs by email now! Their email addresses can be found through the Parliament website www.parliament.uk, or Dr Howells direct and your local councillors too.

Dear _________


In the House of Commons on 3 December Culture Minister Kim Howells described the two-in-a-bar rule as 'silly'. He added that live music should thrive in pubs and restaurants. But these 'silly' rules have been a serious problem for nearly 20 years, and new legislation is unlikely before 2004.

Musician's opportunities to perform and freedom to make music are restricted by these silly laws, but it is silly local authorities who make this problem much worse either by making public entertainment licences prohibitively expensive, or by adopting over-zealous enforcement policies - or by doing both. This practice is not confined to a few local authorities. It is the norm in London, and in many other areas of England and Wales.

In Scotland, pubs and restaurants can generally put on live bands during permitted hours without a public entertainment licence (PEL). The same safety and noise legislation regulates these premises as in England. Clearly, for live music in this context, this legislation is adequate to ensure the in-built provisions to cover the protection of patrons, performers and the general public, irrespective of PELs.

But the Government's proposed licensing reforms will mean even one pianist in a bar will require prior local authority approval (and a fee).

The local live music scene thrives in Scotland and in Ireland. Local authorities in England and Wales have complete discretion over their PEL fees and conditions. They could revitalise work opportunities for musicians and change the face of traditional music now if they learned from the Scottish example. Instead of proposing to extend local authority jurisdiction over types of live music that are less of noise risk than recorded sound or satellite television, why is the Government not adopting the Scottish licensing example?

The present harassment of musicians, venues and the public, undertaken in the name of official control and revenue, shames our proud cultural heritage, make us a laughing stock and is to be prevented from continuing in any future form.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Dec 01 - 07:48 AM

UK folkies urgent help
Minister insults folk music
Uk folkies take note the law
Gareth's site, local press coverage
Trevor Gilson's site, Session Harassment, more general background information
CaLM, more (London based campaign) information.
The proposed reforms (White Paper)


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Dec 01 - 07:50 AM

CaLM, more (London based campaign) information.. PHEW!


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Dec 01 - 10:38 AM

Safety

 All premises like pubs and bars are 'workplaces' for the purpose of the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974. Since at least the early 1980's local authorities have been the enforcing authority for safety legislation in workplaces where activities including 'entertainment' and 'practice or presentation of the arts' take place [viz. para 9, Schedule 1, Health and Safety (Enforcing Authority) Regulations 1998]. Employers have a statutory duty to undertake risk assessments taking into account all activities on their premises, their impact on employees and members of the public [Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999].

 If a local authority inspector visits a workplace and finds that health and safety is not properly managed they have the powers to request that improvements be made or that activities stop until the required health and safety standards have been met.

 The provision of s 182 cannot be for public safety since it operates irrespective of the number of people on the premises. Nor can it be to reduce noise, because it permits any amount of recorded sound. Even in 1964 amplified music could be very loud indeed. Irrespective of any PEL requirement, there is a statutory framework within which the public safety implications of live music can be adequately addressed

Noise

 S 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 gives local authorities powerful redress against noise nuisance and is used against premises such as pubs and open-air venues.
 The Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993 amended the EPA, and could tackle problems from buskers (i.e. activities in a street).
 The Noise Act 1996 is also available, if adopted by local authorities, for problems with domestic premises.
 Noise conditions can be attached to the renewal of the Justices Licence.
 Town and Country Planning Acts can impose noise conditions on premises.
 Noise at Work Regulations can be used by local authorities to address noise levels inside workplaces.
A new EC directive aimed at reducing noise in the workplace will also apply to pubs and night clubs (Physical Agents Directive: Noise). These provisions under the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 that allow the police to close on-licensed premises – (for up to 24 hours) - that are 'unreasonably disturbing' local residents) are meant to come into force on 1 December 2001. To enable the police or a local authority to apply for a court order to close unlicensed premises which are being used for the unlicensed sale of alcohol, to amend the Licensing Act 1964 so as to allow the police to close licensed premises. In the interests of public safety and to prevent disturbance arising from excessive noise.
 Recent research has shown that noise nuisance is largely due to customers entering or leaving premises, and insufficient attention to noise insulation in night clubs [Noise Implications of City Centre Regeneration, Dr Raymond B W Heng, Sheffield Hallam University, Proceedings of the Institute of Acoustics, Vol 23, Part 6]. Noise problems as a result of live music are not mentioned.

Public order

 The police and licensees share responsibility for public order. It is already an offence to be drunk and disorderly in a public place.
 Under the Licensed Premises (Exclusion of Certain Persons) Act 1980 exclusion orders may be made by a court in relation to a person convicted of a violent offence on licensed premises.
 Various statutes contain powers of entry and inspection for the police and authorised officers.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Dec 01 - 05:57 PM

Q: Who needs a public entertainment licence (PEL)?

A: Anyone organising any public performance of live music virtually anywhere. Without first obtaining a PEL from their local authority they could face a criminal prosecution. Venues affected could include village halls, schools, hospitals, libraries and so on.

Q: Does that mean even a piano recital in your own home could be illegal?
A: Yes, if the public were invited to attend.

Q: What is the penalty?

A: Unlicensed live music is a criminal offence. The maximum penalty is a £20,000 fine and six months in prison.

Q: Is amateur performance exempt from the PEL requirement?

A: No. It is immaterial whether or not performers are paid, or whether admission is free or conditional upon payment of an entry fee. The PEL fee may be waived, however, if the event is for a charitable or educational purpose.

Q: When is an entertainment 'public'?

A: Unfortunately the legislation that defines public entertainment does not define the term public. Case law is therefore the only guide. In Gardner v Morris (1961) it was determined that the number of members of the public that were present was irrelevant. The test was whether any 'reputable' member of the public could gain entry! Broadly speaking if a member of the public could gain entry without discrimination, by payment or otherwise, then the event would be public.

Q: Are any exemptions allowed?

A: Yes, performances that are:

part of a religious service;

in a place of public religious worship (outside London);

on Crown land;

by up to two 'performers' in on-licensed premises (bars, restaurants etc).

Q: What about private members clubs?

A: It is possible to avoid the necessity of a PEL by setting up a private members club. However this can be complicated, so it would be a good idea to get legal advice. For example, if alcohol is on sale on the club premises formal registration must be made to the magistrates court so that a hearing can consider all aspects of the club formation (a minimum required number of members, rules, committee structure etc). This is not an easy option. If alcohol is not to be sold on the club's premises formal registration is not necessary. However it is advisable to set up the club with membership forms, committee, membership list etc, if only to reassure a local authority that it is properly constituted (in case they threatened action on the basis that a particular event was public). But this is not the end of the story. You need to check whether your local authority has adopted the Private Places of Entertainment Act 1967 – if they have, you would need to obtain a different type of formal licence!

Q: If I were to play a guitar in my local pub, and use backing tapes to get around the two musician rule, is that OK?

A: No. Combining even one live musician with any form of 'recorded sound' is illegal in such premises without a PEL. The term 'recorded sound' would also include minidisc. Even MIDI technology, almost universal in modern electronic instruments, is counted as 'recorded sound' by some local authorities.

Q: How many on-licensed premises have PELs?

A: There are about 111,000 on-licensed premises in England and Wales, including all pubs. Only 5% actually hold annual PELs.

Q: Do members of the public count as 'performers' if they participate by singing along during a performance in these premises?

A: Yes, many local authorities interpret the law in this way. They cite case law precedent from 1793 (Clarke v Searle) to support this position.

Q: Does that mean more than two people singing could be a criminal offence in over 100,000 pubs, bars and restaurants?

A: For the licensee - yes, particularly if it was advertised as a regular activity.

Q: What if I engaged one musician and invited different singers to 'do a turn'. Provided only two were performing at any one time, would that be OK?

A: Not according to London borough councils. They argue that only the same two performers should be allowed throughout the course of an entertainment in on-licensed premises. However, a recent case (London Borough of Southwark v Sean Toye, Inner London Crown Court, 9 April 2001) came down against that strict reading of the 'two-in-a-bar rule'. Southwark has subsequently changed its enforcement policy so as to allow more than a total of two performers, provided only two perform at any one time. Westminster, Islington and Camden, however, have indicated that they will not change their 'no more than the same two performers' interpretation. This particular issue was only one element of the case, the other being the question whether MIDI constitutes 'recorded sound' for the purposes of the law. Southwark argued that it does, thereby requiring a PEL if a live singer performs along with it (no combination of live and 'recorded sound' being allowed under s 182.1 of the Licensing Act 1964 - without a PEL). Southwark won that argument, and Mr Toye has appealed. The appeal will now go to the Divisional Court as a 'case stated' - no date has yet been fixed. This appeal may also lead to a review of Inner London Crown Court's decision about 'no more than two performers in total'. Interestingly, Mr Toye's defence is funded by the manufacturer of the karaoke equipment that uses MIDI technology.

Q: Does a pub need a PEL for any form of recorded sound or satellite television?

A: No - provided no live musicians play at the same time.

Q: What the rationale for PELs?

A: To ensure public safety, minimise public disturbance and the potential for crime and disorder - reasonable enough, on the face of it. Regulation is certainly necessary for events that might become dangerously overcrowded, noisy or boisterous. But for premises that already count as 'workplaces', like bars, restaurants and hotels, PELs duplicate existing public safety provision under separate legislation. In Scotland, for example, where exactly the same health and safety legislation applies to workplaces as in England, no PEL is required for live music in pubs during permitted hours. Across the UK external noise is also separately regulated, whether it emanates from a neighbour's hi-fi, a pub or a factory [Environmental Protection Act 1990, Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993, Noise Act 1996, Town and Country Planning Acts can impose noise conditions on premises]. Public order outside premises is the responsibility of the police, and, under the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, new provisions will enable the police or a local authority to apply for a court order to close licensed premises in the interests of public safety and to prevent disturbance arising from excessive noise.

Q: What is the Government doing to reform PELs?

A: It has proposed radical reform of both liquor and public entertainment licensing, and accepts that there is duplication of existing legislative provision for public safety etc. A White Paper (Time for Reform: Proposals for the Modernisation of our Licensing Laws) was published in April 2000. It proposed to end public entertainment licensing as a separate licensing regime. All venues which serve or sell alcohol or provide any entertainment to the public would be required to obtain a 'premises licence'.

The local council will become the licensing authority, and would decide the conditions to be imposed on those activities and on the premises itself, including the opening hours. Local residents and interest groups, such as musicians/promoters, will - in theory - also have a say. Recent comments from the DCMS suggest that local authorities 'would be obliged to consider favourably' plans for entertainment activities. Conditions imposed would be based solely on 'disorder, safety or nuisance factors'. Future licence fees will be centrally set in banded levels, but there will still be scope for local variation. There is, predictably, much debate about the precise fee levels, and the formulae that will be used to calculate them. The White Paper proposed fees that would be considerably lower than many currently set by local authorities. But the Local Government Association is lobbying vigorously to retain the local, discretionary fee structure and for higher fees than those proposed in the White Paper. It is worth noting that in Scotland, licensees do not have to pay anything above the cost of a liquor licence to provide entertainment, whether live or recorded (although noise conditions will be imposed on entertainment beyond permitted hours).

Behind the scenes debate will continue until the Government publishes a new licensing Bill, at which time a Regulatory Impact Assessment concerning licence fees will also be made available to Parliament. The entertainment industry's level of concern about inconsistency in local authority PEL fees led to the publication last year (at the same time as the White Paper) of Home Office Circular 13/2000. This was a formal warning to local authorities that overcharging for PELs could be 'ultra vires', and a warning not to impose, in its words, 'excessive' conditions. It appears, however, that local authorities have taken little notice of the Circular. Most London borough councils, for example, have since increased their PEL fees in line with inflation. Both the licensing White Paper and the Circular are available on the DCMS website.

Q: When will new licensing legislation be introduced?

A: A new licensing Bill was promised just before the General Election, but it was dropped from the Queen's Speech. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, responsible for licensing since 8 June this year, is now saying that legislation will be introduced 'as soon as Parliamentary time permits'. In the meantime it has suggested that it may consider issuing further guidelines to local authorities


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: Mr Red
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 09:22 AM

reading offline. back in 5


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 03:19 PM

5 days? *Smiles*

This link is to BBC TV's Watchdog Programme. You can not only find out how to contact your MP but also see their voting record. http://www.bbc.co.uk/watchdog/knowyourmp/index.shtml


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 06:10 PM

This was posted today on uk.music.folk.

Ah we've had a reply - if not from the minister himself - at least its from a member of the DCMS.

Dear Mr Coe,
Kim Howells has asked me to thank you for your email of 6 December concerning his recent remarks about folk music. Dr Howells certainly regrets any offence his comments may have caused. They were intended merely as a light-hearted observation during typically boisterous exchanges in the House of Commons on the issue of public entertainment licenses.

As he made clear in the House, Dr Howells intends to reform the and modernise our archaic licensing laws to make it easier for pubs and restaurants to play host to folk, and other, musicians.

This Department, and Dr Howells personally, both have a strong commitment to all forms of music, including folk traditions from around the UK and beyond. This Department's support for folk is delivered primarily through the Arts Council of England, which has been happy to engage with the development of the English folk music scene over recent years.

The folk music constituency is making increasing use of the Regional Arts Lottery Programme and the National Touring Programme to support its work. The Arts Council directly funds two development agencies for the sector - the Folk Arts Network and the Association of Festival Organisers - both of which provide information and resources to the sector.

One of the most influential agencies in the folk music sector, Folkworks, is a key partner in the emerging and innovative development at the Arts Council lottery-funded Music Centre Gateshead (over £40 million). This dynamic development incorporates the first Folk Music Degree course in the UK and symbolises the folk music sector's ability to renew, refresh and strengthen its position within the cultural life of the country.

The level of government support for folk music has never been greater. Finally, let me take this opportunity to reassure you that Dr Howells has always been a great champion of live music, and that he is determined to help in whatever way he can to ensure that proper venues for music are in place the length and breadth of this country.

Yours sincerely
Samantha Turner

-- Pete Coe


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: GUEST,McGrath
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 09:19 PM

We're getting somewhere - but it might not be exactly where we want to get to, so it really is important that people push at this time. If they get it wrong this time, it's likely to stay wrong for a long long time.

If you are in the United Kingdom, much better than an email is to send a fax to your MP - it means there is something physical in their letter tray. "Fax your MP is a website that allows you to do it as easily as sending an email - no stamps needed. You just type in your letter, and they send you an email to confirm that they've got it right, and that it's authentic, and bingo the MP get's it the next time he or she looks in the in-tray.

And one crucial thing that is being missed is that all the focus of the promised (well, sort of promised)amended legislation is on premises that are licensed for drinks - thus heading of any development of live music in coffee bars or pizza houses etc. And of course also discriminating against any people who might feel disinclined to make music in pubs, such as devout Muslims (or recovering alcoholics for that matter).


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 06:43 AM

This from Hamish Birchall

Junior Culture Minister Dr Kim Howells yesterday answered two more questions about public entertainment licensing.
The written questions were asked by Nick Harvey, the Lib Dem Shadow Culture Minister.
I have put my own thoughts at the end of each question (italics).
In a nutshell it seems that the Government has made a political decision to avoid implicating local authorities at all costs, in spite of the fact that while the law may be an ass, council enforcement policies are equally to blame:

House of Commons - Written Questions - Wed 19 December 2001 Public Entertainment Licences

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations she has received regarding the issuing of public entertainment licences; and if she will make a statement. [24133]

Dr. Howells: Representations from hon. Members, industry, performers and licensing law practitioners concerning public entertainment licensing law have tended to fall into five main categories. These are concerns about inconsistent approaches adopted by different licensing authorities; the scope for local licensing authorities to impose disproportionate and burdensome requirements on smaller venues; the duplication of the requirements with the fire safety and health and safety regulations; some evidence of excessive fee charging; and the limitations on the exemption from public entertainment licensing for public houses in the Licensing Act 1964. Changes to public entertainment licensing laws require primary legislation, and our reform of the alcohol and public entertainment licensing laws will address these anxieties. We shall present the necessary legislation as soon as Parliamentary time permits.

 The Minister does not really answer the question, which specifically asked about representations received 'regarding the issuing' of PELs - not concerning PEL law. The distinction is important.
 He omits the key facts: while Parliament is responsible for primary legislation, local authorities are responsible for PEL fees, conditions, and enforcement policies.
 There would be no representations if local authority practice were reasonable and consistent.
 The five categories are interesting, but the wording is calculated to obscure the key role of local authorities.
 There is scope in the law to charge nil fees and to set reasonable conditions. The representations arise because disproportionate and burdensome requirements are commonplace, particularly London.
 The fixation on pubs must be knocked on the head: the PEL exemption in the Licensing Act 1964 for two performers, recorded sound or satellite tv, applies to all on-licensed premises including restaurants, hotels, bars, cafes etc where the public can buy and consume alcohol - a total of 111,000 premises in England and Wales.
 Duplicated legislation: Doesn't the Scottish example show that for most entertainments, including live music, PELs are unnecessary in on-licensed premises? Scotland and England share the same health, safety and noise legislation.
 'Some evidence of excessive fee charging': a classic understatement. There is voluminous evidence, including comprehensive MU data. Even the Home Office, when they had responsibility for PELs, accepted overcharging was a serious problem. By way of response it issued a Circular jointly with the LGA (13/2000, 10 April 2000) warning local authorities that overcharging is ultra vires [illegal, basically], and that this could harm the entertainment and tourism industries. This asked that local authorities consider lowering PEL fees, and to review PEL policy. The Circular advised that the Home Office would write again to all local authorities six months later for feedback. We need to know a) whether the Home Office actually did this, and b) if it did, what the replies were.
 While new primary legislation is essential in the long run, live music could thrive if local authority practice was reasonable and consistent. The DCMS could work to achieve this by issuing guidelines to local authorities on best practice concerning PEL fees, conditions and enforcement policies. Steps could be taken now to ensure that enforcement no longer happens merely because there are more than two performers in on-licensed premises. Such enforcement is not only irrational and absurd, but violates the right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention, and is probably unlawful under the Human Rights Act. Section 3 of the HRA requires that local authorities must read and give effect to all legislation in a way that is compatible with Convention rights. The reasonable grounds for enforcement would be if there were a noise complaint or a convincingly established safety risk beyond that addressed by existing safety provision.
 Prohibitively expensive PELs and heavy-handed enforcement restricts on-licensed premises to providing only recorded sound or satellite television, or one or two live performers. It would be sensible to encourage local entertainments that represent less of a risk to residential amenity than either recorded sound or satellite tv. This could be done by charging very low PEL fees where acoustic live music is provided, for example, and implementing public safety under existing health and safety legislation as local authorities are legally bound to do in any case.
 There is no need to wait for Parliamentary time to draw up guidelines. There is every reason to produce them as a matter of urgency. Serious two-in-a-bar problems really began in the early 1980s after local authorities acquired responsibility from magistrates for public entertainment licences.

"Time for Reform"
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to implement the proposals outlined in 'Time for Reform'; what estimate she has made of the time scale for implementation; and if she will make a statement. [24132]

Dr. Howells: We remain fully committed to the proposals set out in the White Paper "Time for Reform" and intend to introduce legislation to implement them. The timetable for implementation inevitably depends on when it will be possible to introduce the necessary legislation in Parliament and this will be done as soon as parliamentary time permits.

The White Paper was produced with little input from performers or their unions. There was, however, plenty of input from nightclub owners, via their umbrella organisation the British Entertainment and Discotheque Association (BEDA) and, of course, from the Local Government Association. It is the LGA that lobbied to extend local authority jurisdiction over all live music, and this is what the White Paper proposes.There will be no exemptions.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 08:51 AM

Interesting site, McGrath.

You linked to the wrong page on the site though:

FaxYourMP.com


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 10:50 AM

Hamish Birchill has provided this written question/answer about public entertainment licences which has recently come to light.

On 11 December Baroness Anelay of St Johns received a written answer from Baroness Blackstone concerning public entertainment licence fees. Being from the Government, the reply is authoritative - to a degree. It is, of course, not only fees but the additional costs of compliance that are the primary deterrent for many premises intending to provide live music. Note that Baroness Blackstone says that the Government does not have data for the compliance costs. That is not entirely true. See my notes at the end (in italics):

Written Answers
Lords Written Answer, 11 December 2001

Public Entertainment Licences

Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the average cost of making an application for a public entertainment licence as borne by (a) the licensee; (b) the police; (c) the courts; and (d) the local authority.[HL1842]

Baroness Blackstone: There are no costs falling on local authorities, the police and the fire authorities, as public entertainment licensing fees allow the local authority concerned to recover the costs of administration, inspection and enforcement associated with licensing regime. The magistrates' courts and the Court of Appeal become involved in public entertainment licensing only if a decision of the licensing authority is appealed, and the courts have the discretion to recover their costs if appropriate.

Existing legislation does not provide for any single fee structure. Public entertainment licence fees are set by local authorities and vary enormously. Generally, most fees vary between £40 and £20,000, depending on the venue or scale of the event. There are some higher exceptions.

For example, rarer large-scale events involving an audience of more than 5,000 can incur fees between £25,000 and £50,000. For permanent premises, renewal is required annually. The main cost falling on the licensee are the fee, the cost of legal representation, if needed, and the indirect costs of meeting the terms, conditions or restrictions attached to a licence. We estimate that the fee and legal costs to a licensee running permanent premises commonly range between £200 and £25,000 per year. However, no information is available centrally on the indirect costs to licensees of compliance with the terms, conditions and restrictions which may be attached to any licence.

While local authorities may charge 'cost recovery' fees how can there be 'no cost falling to the police and the fire authorities'? When a PEL application is made, these bodies have an input. In the case of the fire service this should include a site visit and inspection. Local authorities may recover their costs (although many PEL fees appear vastly to exceed any cost directly attributable to the granting of the licence), but the fire service does not charge the licensee or the local authority for its inspections.

A liquor licence, which is simultaneously a permission to provide any amount of 'recorded sound' or satellite television, costs £30 and runs for three years. Renewal is also £30. The grant of a liquor licence may also involve site visits by the licensing justices and the fire service, and significant admin by the magistrates court.

Long established Treasury policy, I am told, is that all licences should be full cost recovery. Clearly this has not been the case for liquor licences, under successive Governments.

'...no information is available centrally on the indirect costs to licensees of compliance with the terms, conditions and restrictions which may be attached to any licence...'

The 'indirect cost of meeting the terms, conditions or restrictions' of a PEL are often far greater than the cost of the licence itself. In 1997 the Coat and Badge public house in Putney wanted to put on a jazz band. Because there were more than two musicians the pub had to apply for a PEL. The landlord had just completed a £160k refurb, but he was told by Wandsworth council that to meet the PEL conditions he would have to put in disabled toilets, put a vestibule inside the main entrance, make a new safety exit, estimate the number of audience per square metre for the whole forthcoming year, paint all the pipes in the cellar (many installed in Victorian times) in a colour scheme according to what was in them. The cost of the PEL itself was to be £2,300 a year. He sold the pub.

I passed this and other examples to the Home Office in 1999. Dick Laurie, another prominent two-in-a-bar campaigner also sent them similar examples and costs.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 06:06 AM

FRIDAY 10 AUGUST 2001

The Lord Colwyn: To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has responsibility for public entertainment licensing; and how they ensure that any advice they give is consistent. [HL669]

BARONESS BLACKSTONE

Responsibility for public entertainment licensing policy was transferred from the Home Office to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on 8 June this year. The administration and enforcement of public entertainment licensing law remain the statutory responsibility of the local authorities.
The Department offers advice where it can be helpful to enquirers; but the interpretation of public entertainment licensing law is ultimately a matter for the courts.
Whenever it has been considered necessary to issue guidance to local authorities for the promotion of consistency in good practice, the Home Office approach has been to issue circulars to local authorities, thus ensuring that the same guidance reaches all. Where possible circulars have been issued jointly with the Local Government Association. We expect to adopt a similar practice.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 11:31 AM

http://www.users.waitrose.com/~gceilidh/join.html#top is an example (from Essex) of the effects of this legislation on folk activities and the measures that have to be taken to enable them.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Dec 01 - 05:07 AM

Link to the The Times 28 December.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,2-2001601663,00.html>/a>.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 30 Dec 01 - 04:38 AM

Ok I will contact Mr Howells and my MP (who seems to have lost interest) about local carols and local Sword Dancing. I don't have any pictures of the Sword Dancing as it is so popular that I was well back in the crowd with my camera.

The difficultly as always, will be to point out the ludicrousy of the legislation while also making sure that the examples given as evidence aren't damaged by having attention drawn to them.
I was going to send something to the South Riding Folk Network on this, as I think there needs to be some discussion on this subject among their members.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Dec 01 - 09:38 AM

Sunday Times 30/12/01 (news review page 16)
Carol singers are classified as live musicians and therefore must have a licence.
Westminster City Council

Sunday Telegraph 23/12/01

Brian Flynn, the landlord of the Cove House Inn, on the Isle of Portland, Dorset, has accused council officials of being "heavy-handed" after they told him that he needs a public entertainment licence for carol singalongs in his pub.

A happy new year?


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: Gareth
Date: 02 Jan 02 - 04:58 PM

Roger kindley sent me copies of the Presscuttings refered to above.

I have added them to the collection.

CLICK HERE FOR THE INDEX and then see the NEW NEW line, click on the link Teo snipets.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: 53
Date: 03 Jan 02 - 11:58 AM

didn't the beatles come from britian? so there shouldn't be any problems with the music in your country, you guys had the beatles and they mastered everything, just follow their footsteps, and you should be ok. BOB


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Jan 02 - 09:40 AM

The Beatles where gigging before the current legislation which is from 1964 and 1982. May not have been so easy for them if it had been in force?

At next week's Weymouth and Portland Borough Council meeting, I will be again trying to get the elected members to make a democratically made decision on what this borough considers to be the definition of the word performer. As Mr Grainger in the following, states that "In our view, there is no discretion to Council Members over this matter", there does not appear to be much chance of this!

http://www.weymouth.gov.uk/index.html for Mr Grainger's E mail. I am in need of your help, badly. If each council can set its own fees and all other aspects of PELs, it can decide locally who and what is a performer. Indeed they must and the officers have made the decision for them, it is currently anyone who sings in public.

From the Chief Executive Tom Grainger to Jim Knight MP 21/12/01.

In many ways, this is quite a simple subject, made more complicated by some quite extreme interpretations.

As you now, the statutory base for public entertainment licenses is the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act of 1982. Having adopted the provisions of this Act, local authorities must, of course, try to comply with its regulations in a consistent manner. The Licensing Act 1964 exempts premises from the need for a licence if there are two or less performers. The argument put forward by Mr Gall and other musicians is that a number of people gathering informally to undertake musical activities do not count as performers. This is the crux of their argument.

From the Council's point of view, we have consistently argued that each case needs to be considered on the circumstances. Thus, an impromptu sing-song is unlikely to lead to the view that people taking part are performers. This contrasts with the other end of the spectrum whereby there could be a group booked and with clear contractual obligations to perform on a regular basis.

Your question is how much discretion is there to Council Members, as to the definition of 'performer'. In our view, there is no discretion to council Members over this matter. The issue is one of interpretation of legislation. Ultimately, of course, it would be for the courts to decide as to whether the kind of events that take place at the Cove House Inn fall within the definition of 'performing'. Having discussed the matter with a wide range of other licensing authorities, we believe the argument that the circumstances in which entertainment takes place at the Cove House Inn is so far removed from the extreme of the impromptu, informal gatherings, that there cannot be an exemption in law. It is, of course, a matter for the Licensee and the Licensing Authority to reach a view on and, as far as I am aware, there is no dispute between these parties. It is a third party that is challenging the approach. If there was a dispute with the licensee, then the Council would need to decide how strongly it believed its case was before it tested the matter in court.

As always, there are little complications that need to be taken in to account. In particular, there is some case law dating back to the nineteenth century which Mr Gall and other musicians quote, which seems to imply that under certain circumstances people taking part in regular performances do not count as performers! Equally, there is other case law to suggest that they do count as performers.

Overall, therefore, we concluded some time ago that on the evidence available to us the activities that are undertaken at the Cove House Inn are such that the exemption in (to?) the 1982 Act does not apply. It was this interpretation which led a number of people to call on Councillors to take a policy decision on the matter. As the report to Committee last June suggested, and I have emphasised in various pieces of correspondence, the policy issue is whether to consistently enforce the provisions of the Act.

You do ask whether better guidance from Government would help. Notwithstanding the need of a general review of the Public Entertainment Licence system (which the officers of the Council generally support) members will be formally asked to take a view on whether to support a change in the law, at the next Social Community Committee. We are not convinced that any further guidance is necessary. To us, the law is clear and inevitably in interpreting the law, there will be some grey areas on which local discretion and judgement is best used. The Cove House Inn is not a grey area. We had some objections to the recent licence renewal which have been resolved. The current system is actually working. It is probably worth repeating that there is no evidence that musical activities within the Cove House Inn (or anywhere else in the Borough) have been adversely affected by the requirement to have a licence.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jan 02 - 07:22 AM

Incidently, at this same meeting the members who according to their Chief Executive have no discretion on what is a performer in their borough, are being asked for their discretion for a 10% increase in PEL fees!

It is probably worth repeating that there is no evidence that musical activities within the Cove House Inn (or anywhere else in the Borough) have been adversely affected by the requirement to have a licence.

Had the licensee not applied for the licence when faced with the threat of prosecution from the council and a possible £20,000 fine or 6 months in prison, the session would have been lost. It is credit only to the licensee that it was not. For Mr Grainger to attempt to gain any credit for this from our MP is quite unacceptable.

Many licensees do not agree to pay and valuable musical activities are not just adversely affected by not being able to ensure the event will be able to take place, as this was, but are prevented altogether.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jan 02 - 09:19 AM

The following from the Chief Executive Tom Grainger to Jim Knight MP 21/12/01.

In many ways, this is quite a simple subject, made more complicated by some quite extreme interpretations.

No disagreement with this but it is Mr Grainger who is making these extreme interpretations.

As you know, the statutory base for public entertainment licenses is the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act of 1982. Having adopted the provisions of this Act, local authorities must, of course, try to comply with its regulations in a consistent manner. The Licensing Act 1964 exempts premises from the need for a licence if there are two or less performers. The argument put forward by Mr Gall and other musicians is that a number of people gathering informally to undertake musical activities do not count as performers. This is the crux of their argument.

Of course the participants are not performers, but case law supports the argument that these activities taking place on a regular basis are not even to be considered as public entertainment and therefore not even subject to the PEL requirement. Brearley –v- Moreley.

From the Council's point of view, we have consistently argued that each case needs to be considered on the circumstances. Thus, an impromptu sing-song is unlikely to lead to the view that people taking part are performers. This contrasts with the other end of the spectrum whereby there could be a group booked and with clear contractual obligations to perform on a regular basis.

The only event Mr Grainger is not prepared to insist on a PEL for is one that is over before he is aware of it. If it is repeated or he knows about it in advance he will insist on a PEL to enable it. I prefer the word informal, impromptu is the council's word. One of the meanings of it is unrehearsed! One could argue that even a regular session, with its varying content, personnel and resulting dynamics is always an impromptu event. The regularity of the activity is not a factor under legislation anyway. The Cove session was prevented from taking place without a PEL not for any of these factors but because the number of participants exceeded two, and these were considered as performers.

Your question is how much discretion is there to Council Members, as to the definition of 'performer'. In our view, there is no discretion to council Members over this matter. The issue is one of interpretation of legislation. Ultimately, of course, it would be for the courts to decide as to whether the kind of events that take place at the Cove House Inn fall within the definition of 'performing'. Having discussed the matter with a wide range of other licensing authorities, we believe the argument that the circumstances in which entertainment takes place at the Cove House Inn is so far removed from the extreme of the impromptu, informal gatherings, that there cannot be an exemption in law. It is, of course, a matter for the Licensee and the Licensing Authority to reach a view on and, as far as I am aware, there is no dispute between these parties. It is a third party that is challenging the approach. If there was a dispute with the licensee, then the Council would need to decide how strongly it believed its case was before it tested the matter in court.

Each authority decides it's own PEL regime. If the members are being asked for their discretion on the lever of the fee, as they are at the next meeting, they must have discretion on what the borough considers to be a performer. The dispute with the licensee must have ended according to Mr Grainger when the licensee was encouraged to apply for a PEL. Encourage being the council's word for issuing threats of prosecution.

As always, there are little complications that need to be taken in to account. In particular, there is some case law dating back to the nineteenth century which Mr Gall and other musicians quote, which seems to imply that under certain circumstances people taking part in regular performances do not count as performers! Equally, there is other case law to suggest that they do count as performers.

The little complications to Mr Grainger view is the actual wording of the legislation and the existing case law. The case law Mr Grainger claims to support his view refers to dancing and dates back to the 18th century, 1793! Whilst this recognises a conflict and which might appear to most people to be a 'grey area', the following conclusion, reached only by his officers, just ignores the case law from 100 years later. Overall, therefore, we concluded some time ago that on the evidence available to us the activities that are undertaken at the Cove House Inn are such that the exemption in (to?) the 1982 Act does not apply. It was this interpretation which led a number of people to call on Councillors to take a policy decision on the matter. As the report to Committee last June suggested, and I have emphasised in various pieces of correspondence, the policy issue is whether to consistently enforce the provisions of the Act.

This conclusion was made when the single officer decided the activity was a public entertainment and counted past three, actions that were later endorsed by the members when, they were instructed by the officers that to do otherwise would not be legal.
The earlier statement that: "From the Council's point of view, we have consistently argued that each case needs to be considered on the circumstances", would seem to contradict with "the policy issue is whether to consistently enforce the provisions of the Act". If indeed they were actually doing this.

You do ask whether better guidance from Government would help. Notwithstanding the need of a general review of the Public Entertainment Licence system (which the officers of the Council generally support) members will be formally asked to take a view on whether to support a change in the law, at the next Social Community Committee. We are not convinced that any further guidance is necessary. To us, the law is clear and inevitably in interpreting the law, there will be some grey areas on which local discretion and judgement is best used. The Cove House Inn is not a grey area. We had some objections to the recent licence renewal which have been resolved. The current system is actually working. It is probably worth repeating that there is no evidence that musical activities within the Cove House Inn (or anywhere else in the Borough) have been adversely affected by the requirement to have a licence.

To deduce from the year-long travesty, that was the Cove House Inn's attempts to obtain a valid PEL and the problems highlighted from this, that there are any positive elements at all and to attempt to claim that the system is working is simply incredible. Or would be if I was not now so used to such nonsense.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Jan 02 - 02:28 AM

The outcome of the second council meeting 15 January 2002.

Mr Locke belittled the whole issue. 'Too much officer's time had already been spent on a matter that was only of concern to one individual', He did not read Chris Lonergan's or your letter. He contemptuously said whilst throwing them on the desk that as fast as they answer one E mail another comes in. He told the members that they were not going to use suggested recommendation contained in them, even though to my knowledge the members were not made aware of what they were, although they had a pre-meeting where this may have been 'discussed'.

Under questioning he had to admit that there was a LGO complaint being investigated. That led to discussion about whether they should be talking about the matter at all. He told them they could. He was questioned about if WPBC had to hold the current definition and he just repeated that no other authority held a different one and vaugely implied that they had consulted other experts.

I gave my councillor 3 questions to ask. One to legal, one to Mr Locke and one to Sue Allen. As Mrs Earnshaw (legal) was not there, after reading out the first one, he just handed them all to Mr Locke and asked for written replies! The other members not even knowing what the questions were.

He asked his big one. What was a performer? That led to the usual rubbish from the Licensing Manager about the nature of the events witnessed at the Cove and general merriment about the committee being performers. They did not seem to understand that it did not matter what their opinion on the subject was as the officers had stated there wa no discretion available to the members on the definition of the word performer.

At the point when one of them was saying a word for our poor Licensing manager, "who had taken a few knocks and was doing a fine job", I lost my patience with them and left. Whatever rubbish they were going to decide, I didn't have to listen and be insulted any longer.

So much for local democracy!

At the item before they had just made a big U turn, when they decided that their previous decision, not to build on any allotment land, was made on insufficient information!

Roger


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Jan 02 - 10:57 AM

Account of the meeting, by Martin Lea in the Dorset Evening Echo 16 January.

Councillors have agreed to lobby the Government in a bid to change licensing laws which campaigners in Dorset fear could threaten live music performances.

But Weymouth and Portland Borough Council's social and community committee decided yesterday that officers should not enter into further discussions with protesters as the issue had taken up too much council time.

As the law stands, pub landlords must have a licence for more than two people to perform live on their premises. Protesters say the law is unfair and threatens live music in pubs and smaller venues.

The campaign has gathered pace in Dorset since a dispute over a folk club at the Cove House Inn on Portland.

The committee heard from folk musician Roger Gall who urged councillors to direct their attention to the matter.

Councillors agreed to write to the Government to ask for a relaxation of controls on live music performances.

But they accepted the advice of Ian Locke, the director of tourism and corporate services, who said the debate had taken up valuable resources when it was not even a major issue for the council.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Jan 02 - 10:59 AM

Have you had a reply from Mr Locke yet Dave?


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Jan 02 - 02:12 PM

But they accepted the advice of Ian Locke, the director of tourism and corporate services, who said the debate had taken up valuable resources when it was not even a major issue for the council.

It has been pointed out to me that it must be a bit of an 'own goal', for the person in charge of this to describe something that is considered to be such a vital aspect for tourism, not to be a major issue?


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Jan 02 - 04:03 PM

Back to the wider issue. This letter was sent from Kim Howells to Graham Dixon, who kindly agreed for it to be posted here.

I appreciate Mr Dixon's concerns about the current legislation relating to alcohol and entertainment licensing which is outmoded and restrictive. As you may know the Government is proposing to introduce a new streamlined licensing system, details of which can be found in the White Paper 'Time For Reform" published in April 2000. This can be read or downloaded from the DCN MS web-site (www.culture.gov.uk/new-responsibilitiesliquor-index.html).

I am committed to introducing a licensing reform Bill as soon as Parliamentary time is available. The new proposals offer a more flexible and simplified system of licensing for alcohol and public entertainment and will promote greater opportunities for musicians and other performers.

The current requirement for separate licences for the sale of alcohol, public entertainment and rate night refreshment will be replaced by a single integrated system whereby venues will be required to obtain one premises licence to cover all such activities from the local council. When considering whether to introduce conditions on the premises licence, the local council would be required to obtain any views from the police, local residents and other interested bodies before coming to a decision. This procedure would allow musicians and other performers to submit comments to the council in support of any ptans by venues to provide live entertainment. The new system would allow the operator to put forward plans for entertainment activities which local councils would be obliged to consider favourably, and would only be able to impose conditions on disorder, safety or nuisance factors.

Under this scheme, there would be no place for the "two in a bar" rule mentioned by Mr Dixon, which states that no more than two musicians can perform in premises licensed to sell alcohol without that premises having to obtain a pubLic entertainment licence. It has widely been recognized that one performer with powerful modern amplification can generate greater sound levels than, say, a trio of folk musicians.

As a comparison, the new system would be very similar to the one currently operating in Scotland.

I should finally explain that the fees currently charged by local councils for public entertainment Licences is by law only required to cover their cost of adrninistering the system LocalLy. It cannot therefore be considered as an additional source of local taxation.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Jan 02 - 05:03 PM

Good in parts - But... Yet again Kim Howells ignores the possibility that people might actually want to sing and make music in places where alcoholic drink isn't on sale, such as a coffee bar or a hamburger joint - and currently the PEL restrictions don't even allow one musician to perform in such a setting, unless a PEL is in existance.

The modification that is proposed appears to mean that, unless it is appropriate for a drinks licence to be provided, no entertainment licence can be provided either.

But, please people, especially American people, write to the local paper in Weymouth, The Dorset Echo, and tell them that as a tourist you feel pissed off at Ian Locke the director of tourism saying you don't matter, and they needn't expecxt to see you this summer. Here is the paper's website - why not send an email now from the link on the webpage? Right now.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Feb 02 - 08:45 AM

On the front page of Friday 16th February's local paper was the following news.

In April this year 2002 there is to be a glittering award ceremony at the Royal Opera House attended by culture/tourism minister, Dr Kim Howells.

This event is to present local authorities with Excellence in England awards.

The nominations were from members of the public and are based on resorts that have improved over the last five years.

Astonishingly Weymouth and Portland Borough Council are battling with Hastings and Whitby for the award of 'Top Resort'!

The tourism chief (not Mr Locke), was quoted as saying "a number of projects have been developed with the support of Government and European funding which have made the borough a market leader".

HELP


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: Tone d' F
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 04:47 AM

As I suggested at Tenterton racial and cultural discrimination


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 05:15 AM

There are a number on 'irons in the fire' on many angles such as these, we shall just have keep up the pressure and wait and see. If there is anything you can DO on the above suggestion or any other, please do it.........

But do you think a council's officers be rewarded with a reward for exellence, by 'market leading' in enforcing a policy that is questionably legal, morally repugnant and culturally danaging?


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 04:30 PM

Excellence in England Awards


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 06:28 PM

Is this a bad dream?

The reward for damaging traditional English activities is to be presented to my council on St George's Day!


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 06:06 AM

The other council involved in the practice of preventing sessions and also expecting to be rewarded for it, is Oxford City Council.

Oxford's bid to become a European Capital of Culture 2008, a bid backed by the two universities, Southern Arts, the City and the County Councils, has just taken a big leap forward.

Joe Simpson has been selected to co-ordinate the bid. He will be working in Oxford during the next ten months and will prepare the City's submission by the end of March 2002. His task will be to create a shared vision involving the different partners and the local community and to develop this vision into a successful bid. Some of the options he may consider when putting together the bid include extending the City's range of music venues, providing wider access to the city's magnificent architectural heritage and running a festival of different art forms and community activities across the county.

A short list of the top contenders will be published in the autumn of 2002, with the winner being chosen by the Prime Minister in spring 2003. The Government will also award a mark of cultural excellence to all the cities short-listed and these will become recognised centres of culture.

- from Southern Arts Newsletter 34, July/August 2001


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 06:06 PM

David Heath MP (Lib Dem, Somerton & Frome) has secured an adjournment debate on reform of public entertainment licences in the House of Commons on Wednesday 27 February:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmfbusi/20225a01.htm

This is, I believe, the first time PELs will be the subject of a timetabled House of Commons debate.

It was David Heath's question in the Commons on 3 December that provoked the now notorious comment by Junior Culture Minister, Dr Kim Howells: '...For a simple urban boy such as me, the idea of listening to three Somerset folk singers sounds like hell...'

Mr Heath had pointed out: '...Does the Minister not recognise that live music in pubs and inns has the potential to make a major contribution to tourism in rural areas, which we have already said we want to promote?'

It was odd that Dr Howells did not take the opportunity to develop this important point. A few weeks earlier he had remarked: '...Somebody told me the other they had calculated that even in remote areas the hospitality industry and the tourism industry between them is worth four times that of farming, and many times that in terms of employment. So it is absolutely essential, I think, that we do not sit back, we do not delay too far on this but we say "Let us see how we can help the industry by deregulation"...' [Select Committee hearing on licensing deregulation, 16 October 2001]

In fact, deregulation as a means to remedy the absurd iniquities of two-in-a-bar was rejected some years ago. Meanwhile, all the Government will say about a new licensing Bill is that it will be presented 'as soon as Parliamentary time permits'.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 02:37 PM

This from Hamish

No more than two...

From today only the same two performers will be allowed during the course of an evening's entertainment in bars and restaurants that don't hold a public entertainment licence (PEL).

In a judgement at the High Court this afternoon it was decided that the two-in-a-bar rule, which applies in over 111,000 liquor-licensed premises in England and Wales, must be interpreted as strictly as possible. This means that if a pianist and a singer are playing, it becomes a criminal offence for licensees to allow another singer (or indeed any other musician) to do a turn. Unless, of course, a PEL is first obtained from the local authority.

MIDI also implicated...

The High Court judgement also ruled that MIDI files constitute 'recorded sound'. Under the two-in-a-bar rule (s 182.1 of the Licensing Act 1964) no combination of 'recorded sound' and live performer is allowed without a PEL being in force. The implication is that use of MIDI files during a live performance, even if only one live performer is involved, will be illegal unless the premises is covered by a PEL.

The case (London Borough of Southwark v Sean Toye) arose when Southwark successfully prosecuted former landlord Sean Toye for allowing karaoke without a PEL in September 1999. The karaoke manufacturer funded the landlord's defence because, he argued, the MIDI files in use did not count as 'recorded sound' as usually understood, and therefore the s 182 exemption should apply.

This frustrating judgement may, in the end, speed up reform. I hope that David Heath MP will be able to raise it in the House of Commons during his adjournment debate on reform of PELs next week (Wed 27 February).


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: Gareth
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 06:35 PM

Sorry - The Lobbying Power of the LGA (Local Government Association) will ensure that PEL's will remain within Council Mandate.

Whilst personally I would prefer to see the "Scots Option" the proper way to go, the fact remains that " Jobsworths" will see PEL's as a means of empire building, and career structure. I regret that if you give a Council Official a means of power they are reluctant to give this up.

Still "Nil Carborunum Iligitmi" - We'll keep plugging away.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 04:49 AM

PLEASE HELP!

The above ruling means in effect that any folk club taking place in the 95% of UK licensed premises without a PEL, who books a duo, will have to ensure that no other (floor) singers perform at all.

Or the licensee of the premises will face a possible maximum £20,000 fine or 6 months in prison.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 04:53 AM

To non those UK people who plan to to visit us, and to whom making folk music is an important part of that visit, you may as well leave your instruments behind.

Please help!


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: kendall
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 08:47 AM

I left mine at home, and borrowed a guitar from Morticia's husband, Steve. No worries. I'm not clear on who is behind this "law". Who benefits? Have you folks ever heard the word "Revolution"??


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 06:41 PM

Link to an acticle in The Stage, about a small but possibly significant move from one the very highest charging local councils, towards at least recognising the problem.

However, The sense of control is so imgrained, that they are really quite incapable of addressing a problem where anyone but council officials can see obvious solutions.

The Stage 21 Feb 2002


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Feb 02 - 07:26 PM

So a "nominal" fee means £250...That's not going to encourage a pub which just might be willing to allow a few mates to play a tune or two in the corner.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 02:18 AM

It is "nominal" for the full rates that Camden charge, but it is still £30 more than what Weymouth and Portland charge for a full PEL(small capacity and charged per head)!!!


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 02:24 AM

Camden proposals for the full official awfulness of all the proposals and you will find this one buried on page 14 (look for licensing, if the link does not take you directly there).


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 02:30 AM

I don't have Camden's fees (yet) but this link to charges in the South and West regions will give some idea of the variation and the hugh hyke for large outdoor events. They could not be using this high fee to discourage such events coming to their area, could they????????

PEL Fees


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 01:38 PM

A suggestion was made on uk.music.folk that a musical day of protest take place and wanted a suggestion for a date.

How about St George's Day?

On that day my council Weymouth and Portland, who have the most unyielding approach to preventing sessions, will be up against Scarborough (including Whitby) and Hastings and for tourist award for Excellence in England.

This to be held at the Royal Opera House, in the presence of Dr Kim Howells......................

Can anyone suggest a better date?


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Feb 02 - 08:03 PM

From: "Marianne Elliott". Who was kind enough to allow me to post this.

Belper Folk Club has recently been 'raided' by the police. We had Sensible Shoes booked who are a three people group. We have been running the club as a membership club, but we have been making people members at the door.

Two people came to the gig and I made them members, they bought tickets and stayed for about a quarter of an hour. Paul, the landlord, had a call from the police a few days later, and he said that they wanted to meet with us, and him.

We met one of the policemen who had come to the club, and he explained that as the pub didn't have an entertainments licence, we could run the club as membership only, but that people had to have registered as members at least 24 hours in advance, and preferably 48 hours.

A singaround session counts as more than two performers, so this applies to the singaround nights as well. Apparently Amber Valley Council are taking the matter very seriously, and we cannot afford to take any risks.

After a lot of discussion we have decided to move the club out of Belper to a new location with a PEL. But there has been a folk club at the Old King's Head for about 30 years (on and off), and it seems such a shame, but we felt that we couldn't carry on where we were.

Marianne Elliott


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Feb 02 - 02:59 AM

This from Hamish Birchall

It is vital that as many MPs as possible contribute to the Parliamentary debate tomorrow (27th FEB) on reform of public entertainment licensing. The more MPs that participate the more likely it is that the debate will be reported in the press and on television. Media coverage is essential to raise public awareness and to convince the Government that this issue cannot be ignored.

You can fax your MP quickly and easily from the web via this very useful free service: www.faxyourmp.com

Here is a suggested draft text to adapt as you see fit:

Dear Sir/Madam

Tomorrow (27 Feb) David Heath MP will lead an adjournment debate in the Commons on reform of public entertainment licensing. This legislation regulates public access to live music and dance throughout England and Wales. But the law is in a mess. Its draconian interpretation and enforcement by local authorities threatens to kill off any form of spontaneous music and dance.

In a traditionally liberal and tolerant democracy it may be difficult to accept that harmless music-making or dance is treated so harshly. But the fact is that 95% of licensees would be committing a criminal offence this evening if they allowed a trio or quartet to perform on their premises, or one person to dance. Even Morris dancing in a pub car park, or garden would be illegal. That is because only 5% licensees currently hold a public entertainment licence. The maximum penalty for unlicensed entertainment is a £20,000 fine and six months in prison.

An Appeal Court ruling last week makes the situation even worse (London Borough of Southwark v Sean Toye, Adminstrative Court, 21.2.2). Without a public entertainment licence it will now be illegal for licensees to allow one singer to replace another in a duo, or for a solo pianist to perform after a duo. Members of the public will now count as 'performers' if they sing along for their own amusement. This is undoubtedly bad law, but it is strictly enforced across the country.

What does this imply for Golden Jubilee celebrations? Will thousands of licensees face heavy fines and a jail sentence for allowing parents to dance with their children in a pub garden?

Can I ask that you participate in tomorrow's debate and encourage the Government to take immediate action.

Yours faithfully



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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Feb 02 - 03:18 AM

For those reading this, who want to help, who do not have an MP, I am thinking of those outside the UK, you can be of great help to put some pressure on.

Kim.Howells@culture.gsi.gov.uk is the Minster responsible for both Culture and Tourism. he has already described the law as 'silly', but it remains enforced, as detailed above. But is does not apply in more sensible Scotland.

You do not need to go into details, just write and indicate that you will be visiting SCOTLAND and not England and Wales until the situation is changed.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Feb 02 - 05:39 AM

Kim.Howells@culture.gsi.gov.uk


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Feb 02 - 05:41 AM

That is the right address but I don't seem to be able to make an active link?


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Feb 02 - 06:06 AM

The other current thread about this is the one about the Shellback Chorus being stopped from singing in a railway pub - You Can't Sing Here

I suspect that most people here agree that this is a silly and damaging law that needs changing. It would be interesting to know whether many people have actually done something to help bring that cahnge about.

For people in the UK that would mean taking ten minutes to fax their MPs - using


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Feb 02 - 06:18 AM

That went walkabout in mid message.

What I'm suggesting is that people in the UK send a fax to their MPs, via fax yourMP, which is free, and you don't even need to now the name of the MP, because the site takes care of that.

And people not in the UK, I suggest that you write a note saying that you would sooner spend your holidays in a place where informal music is encouraged rather than penalised, and you will probably not be coming to England for any holidays until the law has been properly sorted out. (It doesn't matter that you have no current plans to come here anyway, that wouldn't in any way effect the truth of that statement.) And why not send it to Tony Blair? - he'll send it downstairs to the relevant minister.

And when you've done one of those two things, if you post to the Mudcat saying that you have, it might encourage other people to do the same.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Feb 02 - 05:21 AM

Link to the Commons debate on the subject, 27 February 2002. Hansard.

A satisfactory reply from the Dept?


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Mar 02 - 02:01 AM

Stockport Council

Law abiding Jubilee toolkit


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Mar 02 - 02:04 AM

Nominate for the 'Two in a bar' awards


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Mar 02 - 07:20 PM

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport sent a letter to Weymouth council on 4 Feb clarifying the aims of the proposed licensing reform.

The answers to the three questions you raised are shown below:

1. It is not planned that the new system will give an exemption to any forms of entertainment. The proposal is that all activities to be held on a Premises Licence (including non-amplified music) would need to be revealed in the operating plan put for approval to the licensing authority. The authority could only impose conditions on the Premises Licence which protect public safety and prevent disorder, crime and public nuisance.

2. We are committed to introducing a Bill on this matter as soon as Parliamentary time permits. We are hopeful of getting a slot for the Bill in the 2002-2003 legislative programme.

3. Under the new scheme there would be no place for the "two in a bar rule".

So, the general rule would be none-in-the-bar. The present legislation says its purpose relates only to safety and noise. But that hasn't stopped local authorities applying excessive, inconsistent and costly conditions for bands. Having talked with some officers of his local council on the subject last January, Steve Rubie, proprietor of the 606 Jazz Club warned the Musicians Union that:

"... each licensee will be required to make the choice, at the point of application, as to whether or not they want to add Entertainment to their licence application. Should they decide not to, for whatever reason, then that premises will not be licensed for music of any kind. In other words, the '2 in the bar' rule will be gone, but if the applicants, who may have had duos for possibly years, do not fully appreciate the situation and just assume that they still don't need a licence for duos, and so fail to apply for one, then they will lose the ability to put on live music altogether.

"It is also quite possible that a number of venues that have put on live music in the past may be required to make so many changes under the new regulations that it's not worth their while, and will subsequently stop the provision of live music. The biggest problem, it seems to me though, is that licensees really need to be educated to the fact that even if they only want to put on music once a year, say New Year's Eve, then they must still add 'Entertainment' to their licence at the point of application otherwise it will not be possible'.

"... it could be a great boost to the promotion of live music if handled properly, but it does seem to me that if not it could actually backfire and lead to fewer, rather than more, venues promoting live music."

Is this the best way forward?
Will it cost more for the 'premises licence' to host live music?
Why can't there be a presumption in favour of incidental live music in bars and pubs, unless the council can demonstrate convincingly that this is just not feasible in a particular premises?

Why can't we adopt the Scottish licensing regime?
Most bars there can provide live bands during permitted hours with no additional fees or conditions - and the same safety and noise legislation applies in Scotland as in England and Wales.

Fax your MP from the web via this free service: www.faxyourmp.com

Or snail mail:

House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 07:14 AM

Despite all this proposed major reform we seem to be stuck with the definition of public entertainment, for purposes of licensing, as music and dancing.

That one form of art or expression should alone be singled out as only permissible after a fee is paid by a third party to a local authority is an unfair disincentive to music making, and not specifically addressing the stated goal of the licensing.

The standard conditions applied to the current licences apply to non-musical entertainment like hypnotism.

The term public entertainment needs to be redefined as to cover all forms of public entertainment.

If (some) music related activities are seen to present a specific problem, not presented by other forms of public entertainment, such as noise this is the area that needs to be (and is), addressed by other legislation.

Many forms of musical activity do not in fact present any appreciable noise concern, but the current and proposed law makes no distinction. A licence refused on the grounds of noise will also prevent music not presenting this.

Many forms of musical activity taking place in pubs, many of them provided by and for customers, not only do not present any appreciable noise concern but should be considered as conventional public entertainment. The current and proposed law makes no distinction.

Other non-musical forms of entertainment provided in pubs by licensees or by and for fellow customers are not subject to any unfair disincentive or to a third party obtaining an additional licence. Examples are quiz nights, darts and so on. Satellite TV, is also currently exempt from this requirment.

The current public entertainment licence is a tax or a music licence. If one art form or expression is to continue to be considered differently to others under reform, then this element should be referred as a music and dancing licence (or tax). For that is what it is.

Many of the 95% of licensed premises that do not hold PELs, are also currently providing safe premises, on a regular and on a casual basis, for small-scale musical activities. It will act as a disincentive for these premises to continue proving this, if they have to submit specific operating plans, make additional payments to enable music making to continue and are also subject to any alterations required. Many of which relating to noise, may not be necessary or applicable, as not all music presents noise concerns.

It must be recognised that existing legislation has made these musical activities safe and ensured the interests of the public. And that in Scotland, no additional licence is required.

The actions taken by many local authorities, to the detriment of musical expression, in strictly interpreting and enforcing current legislation, does not fill one with much confidence, when the whole responsibility for licensing is to be handed over to them.

Musical expression should not continued to be singled out and placed at risk by being used as a scapegoat, when the issues and concerns are noise, crime and other social problems.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: InOBU
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 07:24 AM

Hi Shambles... great work you are doing mate. I think we are at the point when, for those living off shore, you may wish to post a list of email addresses for another round of "Why would we visit Britain if you..." emails from us - and a few please touch on these points in your emails outline. Cheers, Larry


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 01:38 PM

Thanks Larry. You are right, our Government are just not listening to the right people. Those of us that care, wherever we live, are going to have to find ways to make them listen.

The key to this is that the department responsible for public entertainment licinsing is also responsible for encouraging tourism.

This department are under the impression that not many people are concerned about the effects of this reform on music making. They may be right? There may not be many of us, so those that do care are going to have to 'pull out all of the stops'.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Tourism Division

2-4 Cockspur Street London SW1Y 5DH

www.culture.gov.uk

Tel 02072116374 Fax 02072116319

ronnie.bridgett @culture.gsi.gov.uk


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 02:00 PM

News for visitors wishing to play in UK.

That one form of art or expression should alone be singled out as only permissible after a fee is paid by a third party to a local authority is an unfair disincentive to music making, and not specifically addressing the stated goal of the licensing.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 02:22 PM

Can I re-cap a little here in case anyone has missed it. The proposed "reform" is, if you plough (or, in the USA "plow") through the Hansard (Parliamentary debate), if I correctly understand our government: -
1. All public entertainment with any live component, whether on unlicensed or licensed premises or whether in the street or fields must be licensed.
2. That includes all music.
3. They do not plan ANY exemptions.
4. So three, two, or even ONE musician singer or storyteller, with or without any amplification, will be criminal.
5. So will Karaoke (hooray).
6. So will discos with MCs.

Not sure what they plan to do about juke boxes, big-screen TV or big-screen video.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 02:55 PM

FOLK MUSIC IN PUBLIC HOUSES AND PUBLIC ENTERTAINMENT LICENCES

Thank you for your letter of 2 March to Richard Carbon concerning the recent adjournment debate, folk music and the current public entertainment licensing system. I have been asked to reply on his behalf.

Mr Carbon appreciates your concern with regard to his comments on folk music and regrets any offence they may have caused. They were intended merely as lighthearted banter during typically boisterous exchanges in the House of Commons on the issue of public entertainment licences. Richard Carbon was standing in for Dr Kim Howells, the Minister for Tourism, who unfortunately had to be in America to promote Britain's hospitality, leisure and tourist industries in this Golden Jubilee year.

Dr Howells has a personal commitment to all forms of music, including folk traditions from around the United Kingdom and beyond. His department's support for folk is delivered primarily through the Arts Council of England, which has been happy to engage with the development of the English folk music scene over recent years.

The folk music constituency is making increased use of the Regional Arts Lottery Programme and the National Touring Programme to support its work. The Arts Council directly funds two development agencies for the sector - the Folk Arts Network and the Association of Festival Organisers - both of which provide information and resources to the sector.

One of the most influential agencies in the folk music sector, Folkworks, is a key partner in the emerging and innovative development at the Arts Council lottery funded Music Centre Gateshead (over £40 million). This dynamic development incorporates the first Folk Music Degree course in the United Kingdom and symbolises the folk music sector's ability to renew, refresh and strengthen its position within the cultural life of the country.

Dr Howells shares your views on the current restrictions relating to the provision of entertainment in places such as public houses. I can assure you that the White Paper proposals for reforming the licensing system, which can be read or downloaded from our web-site, (www.culture.gov.uk/new~responsibilities/liquor index.html). offer a more flexible and simplified system of licensing for alcohol and public entertainment and will promote greater opportunities for musicians and other performers.

Under the reform proposals, the current requirement for separate licences for the sale of alcohol, public entertainment and late night refreshment will be replaced by a single integrated system whereby venues will be required to obtain one premises Licence to cover all such activities from the local council. When considering whether to introduce conditions on the premises licence, the local council would be required to obtain any views from the police, local residents and other interested bodies before coming to a decision. This procedure would allow musicians and other performers to submit comments to the council in support of any plans by venues to provide live entertainment. The new system would allow the operator to put forward plans for entertainment activities which local councils would be obliged to consider favourably, and would only be able to impose conditions based on disorder, safety or nuisance factors.

I must point out that the sole purpose of having licence conditions is to ensure safety, minimise nuisance and prevent crime and disorder, and we would expect local authorities to take these factors into consideration when considering any applications for public entertainment licences, particularly during the Golden Jubilee. However, we are aware that local councils have considerable discretion under the existing system for public entertainment licensing with regard to conditions and fees and acknowledge that there are inconsistencies which must be addressed. The councils have been formally advised that their conditions should be relevant to venues and that the replication of regulations which may contribute towards higher fees being charged should be avoided. This department is continuing to liaise with the councils on this important matter and is looking into the possibility of offering further guidance on public entertainment licences in the near future.

In order to ensure consistency and fairness across the country, close controls will be placed on the powers of local councils who will administer the proposed new streamlined licensing system. Dr Howells is committed to bringing forward a licensing reform Bill as soon as Parliamentary time is available.

You may be interested to learn that this department is marking the Golden Jubilee by placing before Parliament a proposal to relax the alcohol licensing hours, which will allow public houses, nightclubs, restaurants, registered members' clubs and bars to open for an additional two hours on the evening of 3 June until lam. We are confident that this proposal will be enthusiastically welcomed by industry and the general public, allowing a greater freedom to choose when and where to celebrate.

The major licensing reforms, also, will provide a major boost to tourism by sweeping away considerable red tape and making our cities and towns more attractive to visitors from the British Isles and abroad. I hope that my letter allays many of your concerns.

Yours sincerely

Ronnie Brldgett

Alcohol and Entertainment Ucensing Branch, Tourism DMslon

The major licensing reforms, also, will provide a major boost to tourism by sweeping away considerable red tape and making our cities and towns more attractive to visitors from the British Isles and abroad. I hope that my letter allays many of your concerns

It does not allay any of mine, how about you? I fail to see how this can be sweeping away any red tape either.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 03:36 PM

I can read bureacuratise, if not speak it.

THat says

"There will still be licences for everything, adn if you don't get one of our new giant licences you can't do ANYTHING.

And in case your local council is too soft, we're going to regulate the system centrally".

Oh shit!


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: Snuffy
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 08:32 PM

I've got no objections to requiring a licence (and payment) for commercial provision of music or any other entertainment.

What kills it in England is the 1793 law case which says that members of the public are counted as performers. This kills any inpromptu sessions and singalongs, and regular folkie meetings wehre people meet in a pub and take it in turns to sing for their own enjoyment and no payment.

This is what we must direct all our efforts to overturn.

Under the present "two in a bar" rules dad and two kids singing happy birthday to mum in the pub is illegal, because there are three "Performers", and under the new rules even one person singing would be illegal.

Pubs don't need a licence to provide a widescreen TV to showw a rubgy match, which can broadcast 40,000 people singing "Swing Low", but if 3 of the people in the pub join in then it's illegal.

This is the rule that has got to be abolished. There ought to be a lot of good publicity to be made from the Jubilee - If a publican allows customers to sing "God Save the Queen" he is liable to a £20,000 fine.

The Daily Mail could have a field day about Labour Killjoys preventing the loyal people of Britain expressing their devotion to the monarchy.

If we kill this one, the rest of the rules ain't to onerous, either new or proposed.

I'd be happy for promoters to have to pay £20,000 for an evenings licence to stage an amplified rock or rap gig in a pub, but when it's the ordinary paying customers who are banned from singing, then we are nowhere near living in a democracy.

WassaiL! V


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 08:45 PM

The new licence will be a combined one. The present liquor licence, which costs £30 for 3 years, with the PEL which varies from £00 to £0000 for a year, depending on which council is making the charge.

In effect the new licence is providing an increase in liquor licence with the addition of the already much higher charge for PELs.

The financial burden is increased, the red tape is increased and liquor licensing (presently dealt with by magistrates court), is now to be the responsibility of the very same local authorities, whose enforcement and strict interpretation of current PELs has caused the present problems for folk clubs and sessions in particular.

And this is reform????


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 09:05 PM

What kills it in England is the 1793 law case which says that members of the public are counted as performers. This kills any inpromptu sessions and singalongs, and regular folkie meetings wehre people meet in a pub and take it in turns to sing for their own enjoyment and no payment.

I am in complete ageement with the promlem as spelt out above but the facts need clarifying a little.

The 1793 case law is being quoted by authorities to support the claim that members of the public making their own music is public entertainment requiring the licence.

To do this they just simply ignore far more relevant and recent case law from 1899 where a licencee was found not guilty of providing public entertainment because customers were making their own.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: InOBU
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 09:07 PM

To Ronnie Bridgett:
Good day,
I realize that different nations have different traditions governing free speech. However, I would urge that you reconsider your opinion on the licensing of folk music in public houses. In both our nations folk music has provided government a picture of the common perception of important issues, and as the songs in the folk tradition pass into history, our cultures are enriched.
Of late there is a trend towards totalitarian capitalism, where in the free enterprise of our parents day is replaced with a "make profit on everything that moves" trend, which has, in the United States, resulted in irreparable damage to culture from theater, museums to entertainment.
The troubadour tradition, which predates all our traditions of government, has always been a seeding process for culture, classical and popular. In the US, Bob Dylan, for example, was one of the many performers who began his career as a busker. My wife and I visit England and Ireland frequently, and we do, to a great extent, to enjoy the traditional culture of your nation. I have seen how, in Quebec, the licensing of busking led to a decline in folk music, and with the realization of licensing, there is again a flowering of folk performers. England has given the English language world such a great gift in traditional music. I hope you decide to cultivate it, rather than attempting to reap the profit before the crop flourishes. Allow Bob Dylans to flourish, and when they are rich and successful, you will do much better to tax them at that point, not when they are struggling in the pub... Now I realize you will point out the tax is against the pub, but the decline of available venues is a tax on the performer.
All the best, and respectfully yours
Larry and Genie Otway, New York City


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Mar 02 - 06:55 PM

Two things - the requirement for licnesign for public entertainemnt applies not just to licensed premises beru also to unlicensed ones - and even free ones in private houses if the public are admitted.

Second off - damn the profit - what about the folk music?


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: InOBU
Date: 23 Mar 02 - 07:08 PM

I completely agree with you Richard, but when talking to the apes who have pound signs instead of little black dots in the center of their eyes, something so beautiful as the musical heritage of your nation means nothing to them... you have to raise their hopes of filling the coffers... Cheers, Larry


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Mar 02 - 04:23 PM

The latest letter to Michael Portillo MP from Dr Howells, makes a new and rather important observation (in bold). Mr Rubie's concerns are posted earlier in this thread.

Thank you for your letter of 17 February, enclosing one from your constituent, Mr Stephen Rubie of ……………………, who is the licensee of the 606 Club. Mr Rubie has expressed concern over the current public entertainment licensing laws.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the adjournment debate in the Commons as I had to be in the United States of America to promote Britain's hospitality, leisure and tourist industries in the Golden Jubilee year. However, I am aware of what was discussed at the debate.

Although it would be inappropriate for me to comment on individual cases, I would like to take the opportunity to explain the relevant law. There is no current restriction on the number of musicians or dancers who may perform together in licensed premises if the licensee has first obtained an appropriate public entertainment licence from the local authority. However, under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 1964 a public entertainment licence is not required if music or dancing is performed by less than three performers on licensed premises i.e. the 'two in a bar rule'. The rule is intended to apply to public performances put on by a public house to entertain the public and should not prevent ordinary people singing together or dancing in public houses.

The purpose of licence conditions is to ensure safety, minimise nuisance and prevent crime and disorder, and we would expect local authorities to take these factors into consideration when considering applications for public entertainment licenses, particularly during special occasions such as the Golden Jubilee.

Local councils have considerable discretion under the existing system for public entertainment licensing with regard to conditions and fees, and it is acknowledged that there are inconsistencies which must be addressed. The councils have been formally advised that their conditions should be relevant the venues, and that the replication of regulations which may contribute towards higher fees being charged should be avoided. My Department is continuing to liase with the councils and is looking into the possibility of offering further guidance on public entertainment licenses in the near future.

As you know we are planning a comprehensive reform of the alcohol and public entertainment licensing laws. Details of the proposals can be found in the White Paper "Time for Reform" published in April 2000, which can be read or downloaded from our web-site address (www.culture.gov.uk/new-responsibilities/liquor-index.html). The new proposals will provide a more flexible and simplified system of licensing for alcohol and public entertainment and promote greater opportunities for musicians and other performers. In order to ensure consistency and fairness across the country, close controls will be placed on the powers of local authorities who will administer the proposed new streamlined licensing system. It is my intention to bring forward a reform Bill as soon as Parliamentary time is available.

I should end by mentioning that we are marking the Golden Jubilee by placing before Parliament a proposal to relax the alcohol licensing hours, which will allow public houses, nightclubs, restaurants, registered members' clubs and bars, to open for an additional two hours on the evening of 3 June until 1am. I am confident that this proposal will be enthusiastically welcomed by industry and the general public, allowing a greater freedom to choose when and where to celebrate.

Dr Kim Howells MP


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Mar 02 - 04:45 PM

The rule is intended to apply to public performances put on by a public house to entertain the public and should not prevent ordinary people singing together or dancing in public houses.

Dr Howells's above statement is welcome if inexplicable and a little late for the many "ordinary people" who have been prevented and are still being prevented from singing together in public houses.

Perhaps he could be asked to explain exactly how the Government are going to ensure that no more "ordinary people" are prevented by local authorities from singing together in public houses?


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Mar 02 - 02:10 AM

I thought that Steve Rubie's concerns were posted here but I can't see them, so I will post them here now.

Steve Rubie, Proprietor 606 Jazz Club, Chelsea
e-mail to Andy Knight
Deputy General Secretary - Musicians Union
Wed 30 January 2002

Caveat re Government's proposals for two in a bar reform

Andy

I just had a very interesting chat this morning with a couple of guys I know pretty well from the Council (Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea) who deal with Licensing and Building Regs for this area. In fact they just popped in to approve some minor work here, but we got chatting about the new licensing regulations which are likely to be announced in November and implemented some time next year.

As I'm sure you are aware the intention is to transfer all licensing to local government, which will include liquor and entertainment as well as food. Every premises that sells food or liquor will be obliged to re-apply for their license under these new regulations. The way they see this being implemented is that each license application will be basically divided into 3 "modules", Food, Liquor and Entertainment.

This means that each licensee will be required to make the choice, at the point of application, as to whether or not they want to add Entertainment to their license application. Should they decide not to, for whatever reason, then that premises will not be licensed for music of any kind. In other words, the"2 in the Bar" rule will be gone, but if the applicants, who may have had duos for possibly years, do not fully appreciate the situation and just assume that they still don't need a license for duos, and so fail to apply for one, then they will lose the ability to put on live music altogether.

It is also quite possible that a number of venues that have put on live music in the past may be required to make so many changes under the new regulations that it's not worth their while, and will subsequently stop the provision of live music. The biggest problem, it seems to me though, is that licensee's really need to be educated to the fact that even if they only want to put on music once a year, say New Year's Eve, then they must still add "Entertainment" to their licence at the point of application otherwise it will not be possible.

Is the Union planning any sort of campaign to ensure that those who are affected by this, primarily pubs and restaurants (most Clubs, like us, are already in the "Entertainment Licensing" system) are aware of what's going to happen and what they need to do to ensure the provision of live music in their venue? It could be a great boost to the promotion of live music if handled properly, but it does seem to me that if not it could actually backfire and lead to fewer, rather than more, venues promoting live music. Anyway, sorry to go on but I thought it was maybe worth bringing this up now, before any concrete decisions are made by Government.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Mar 02 - 10:46 AM

Weymouth (and Portland) folk festival. Organised by the council. Go to tourism then events and festivals for details.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 06:16 PM

The following question from Hamish Birchall and reply from the DCMS Ronnie Bridgett is of interest.

But the Government now proposes that, in addition to the risk assessments employers have a statutory duty to undertake (taking into account all activities in the workplace), 'all activities to be held on a Premises Licence including non-amplified music would need to be revealed in the operating plan put for approval to the local authority'.

Do you envisage licensees being required to declare whether or not customers will sing - unamplified - for their own amusement?

We do not anticipate that premises licences would have to include such an element.

This does seem to contradict Mr Bridgett's earlier reply given to my council (see earlier in the thread). If it is the latest thinking it should be welcomed but needs to appear in the Government's proposals. The problem being that without the principle, of the right to make music being established in the legislation, it still only needs one of our officials to claim the activity is public entertainment, for us to have go to court to fight it, exactly the same as now.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 01:54 AM

This is Mr Bridgett's earlier answer to my council.

It is not planned that the new system will give an exemption to any forms of entertainment. The proposal is that all activities to be held on a Premises Licence (including non-amplified music) would need to be revealed in the operating plan put for approval to the licensing authority. The authority could only impose conditions on the Premises Licence which protect public safety and prevent disorder, crime and public nuisance.

The more folk that write and ask for clarifcation on this particular matter, the more chance there is that it will be 'firmed-up'.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 11:49 PM

It appears it is time for a change.

http://www.daimaru.com.sg/English/Main.asp?ID=55


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 04:39 AM

The above link is to page advertising nappies (diapers). To change babies.

Time for Reform (Goverments proposals).


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 02:32 PM

Mr Bridgett does not seem to see any contradiction as he has later stated.

"The questions put and answers given concerned performance and spontaneity, and are entirely reconcilable in that context. The issues will give rise to definitional matters which the draftsman will be required to address on constructing the Bill".

I think this means that one question used the word entertainment and the other did not. So both get answers but none of us are any wiser as to the true position.

Neither question in fact used the words spontaneity or performance.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Apr 02 - 03:11 PM

Latest from Hamish Birchall.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport have issued a press notice today headed:

KIM HOWELLS PLEDGES TO REFORM THE 'TWO MUSICIANS RULE'

The pledge was made at the MODAL 'non-mainstream' music conference in Sheffield. The press release should be available on the DCMS website: www.culture.gov.uk - but when I checked at 6.25pm this evening (12 April) it was not yet there. In the copy I have obtained he says: 'I am firmly committed to the reform and modernisation of our archaic and at times, wholly stupid, licensing laws. I do not need persuasion that the "two musicians rule" is outdated and pointless.'

He adds: 'Simply abolishing the two musicians rule is not enough. Abolition would remove the exemption and make it harder and more costly for pubs to put on singers and other musical performers. Our approach is to simplify and integrate the licensing regimes so that it is easier and less expensive for pubs to obtain the necessary permission to stage musical performances. These reforms have to be introduced through primary legislation - there is no quick fix.'

This is a step forward. About two years ago a DCMS civil servant told me: 'if you are hoping for a Ministerial statement you won't get one'.

In this latest press notice Howells again says that reform will come only 'when Parliamentary time permits'. At the conference he did apparently suggest that a Bill in November is very likely. The DCMS also issued a fuller text of his speech as a separate document, with the caveat 'Check with delivery'. Many of you will know that Howells has a reputation for 'throwaway' ad libs.

The speech text includes this: 'Those of you who wish to campaign about the reforms need not therefore preach to the converted. I was converted long ago. But the more support that you can generate for our Bill among the wider public the better. There are people out there who think the Bill is only about alcohol. It is much broader than that and will bring much greater flexibility for the music industry too. Keep spreading the message and we will deliver on our promises.'

When the Government leaks news of the imminent licensing Bill the press reports focus almost exclusively on the possibility of 24-hour drinking. The Government is responsible for that emphasis and should not ask musicians to advocate on its behalf to compensate for their deliberate omission of the cultural remit.

We still do not know how the Goverment proposes to eliminate the risk, identified in the licensing White Paper, that musicians could lose work as a result of abolition of the two performer exemption. The latest round of consultation (Draft Instructions to Parliamentary Counsel) which went to about 30 organisations including the MU and Arts Council, has already been criticised in the trade press as a retreat from the Ministry of Fun to the Ministry of Law and Order. It would appear, for example, that providing just one unamplified performer once a month in a bar would require prior local authority permission. Licensees would face the same potential penalty (£20,000 fine and six months in jail) for providing that entertainment without first declaring their intention to provide it in the new licence application and getting local authority approval. It is still not clear whether the new licence would cost more if live entertanment is provided.

As with most Government statements, treat this one with a degree of scepticism.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Apr 02 - 05:41 PM

The full speech, before the spin...

MODAL 2002

Speech by Kim Howells MP

Introduction

Music does so much to add to the quality of life for so many people. Britain in particular enjoys an excellent international reputation for the diversity, vitality and quality of its music.

Music is an important part of British culture and it is right that there should be an element of support from the public purse whether through the Arts Council, local Government funding or the National Lottery.

It is a plural culture: a mixture of subsidy and the free market. The point of subsidy is that it acts as investment, provides continuity, allows artistic risks, sustains the best of tradition, develops new talent, and feeds the commercial entertainment economy.

We are here today to talk about and celebrate music and music makers who work 'outside of the mainstream' and I am delighted that ACE have increased their support for organisations like the African and Caribbean Music circuit, the Asian Music circuit and the Folk Arts Network.

Even more importantly they have made an extra commitment of £100,000 a year to go to contemporary music and they are now supporting a large number of organisations which you may know - like Continental Drifts, Gig Right UK and Generator.

This increase in funding for the 'non mainstream' music sector will continue this year with new support for the Association of Festival Organisers, Jazz Development Trust and Serious, one of the country's leading producers of new music, jazz and world music.

At the same time, your sector thrives in its own right - the number of private sector clubs, festivals, dedicated record labels and this weekend's conference testifies to this.

I know you are the last people I need to convince of music's importance, and that what you really would like to be convinced of is the Government's commitment to music and the music sector.

Well our aim is simple: we want to ensure that everyone, regardless of where they live, their cultural or ethnic background, gender or ability to pay, has the opportunity to experience music.

Public Entertainment Licensing

I know that one of the issues of concern to many of you is Public Entertainment Licensing I note that there is a panel on PEL's tomorrow morning.

Problems with the existing licensing regime

In calling for the reform of the public entertainment licensing system, your industry is of course pushing at an open door.

As a Government, we are firmly committed to the reform and modernisation of our archaic and at times, wholly stupid, licensing laws. It is a Manifesto commitment we have made and will keep.

You do not have to persuade us that the "two in a bar" rule is outdated and pointless. We intend to abolish it.

We published the White Paper "Time for Reform" in April 2000. It pulled no punches about what was wrong with the existing licensing arrangements. It identified the main problems with current public entertainment licensing regime as being:

 too much scope for inconsistencies in the approaches of different licensing authorities, which cannot be justified by real local differences;

 separate licensing systems for theatres, cinemas and music and dancing, producing unnecessary complexity when the main purposes of regulation are essentially the same;

 too much scope for local licensing authorities to impose disproportionate and burdensome requirements on venues;

 duplication of the requirements of fire safety and Health and Safety regulations; and

 fees set at the discretion of local authorities, with some evidence of excessive charging.

Licensing Reform

The White Paper presented a radical package of measures which we remain convinced strikes an important and necessary balance between the needs of business, including your industry, and the concerns of local residents.

Live performers - jazz, folk and others - have no reason to fear our proposals. We consulted very widely on them. The consultation was not limited to the powerful alcohol interests, but also included groups representing the interests of professional musicians.

Let me quote one response to the White Paper. It came from the Association of British Jazz Musicians. They said:

"Remarkably, these reforms could benefit everyone: the brewers and landlords, as well as the present and future employees in the industry; and of course there will be increased opportunities for entertainers, particularly musicians. The reduction in regulation, with consequent savings to brewers and individual licensees, should also mean that there will be more money in the system for the payment of entertainers at a proper level."

These reforms have to be introduced by means of primary legislation - there is no quick fix.

I am not permitted to anticipate a future Queen's Speech, but I can assure you that work on the preparation of the necessary Bill is on-going, and I am optimistic that it will be presented sooner rather than later.

Those of you who wish to campaign about the reforms need not therefore preach to the converted. I was converted long ago. But the more support that you can generate for our Bill among the wider public the better.

There are people out there who think the Bill is only about alcohol. It is much broader than that and will bring much greater flexibility for the music industry too. Keep spreading the message and we will deliver on our promises.

Broadcasting

I notice that the opening session today is looking at the changing face of broadcasting.

Together, the BBC and the commercial broadcasters provide an ever growing choice of music listening.

Starting with the BBC, the success of their programmes should be judged not just on ratings but also on quality, innovation, the ability to challenge and the desire to take risks. They must set the standards for other public service broadcasters to match.

Shows like Lucy Duran and Andy Kershaw's Radio 3 programme and Mike Harding's on Radio 2 are good examples of the BBC fulfilling this role, while the broadcasting of the recent World Music Awards on Radio 3, and their 'World On Your Street' project On the commercial side, there are now over 250 radio stations. Whilst many play mainly chart music, there are a significant number which feature less mainstream music. Take one of my favourites - Jazz FM for example. There is also Ritz, Xfm & the newly launched Soul FM plus many more. In addition, many of the ethnic stations such as Choice and Sunrise who target visible ethnic minorities, play music that you are unlikely to hear anywhere else on radio.

The increased choice provided by the digital age will provide even more opportunities for grass roots music on both radio and TV.

In September last year, the Secretary of State gave the BBC approval to launch three new digital television and five new digital radio services. The new digital radio services include two new music channels, both of which are 'non mainstream':-

6 Music was launched on 11 March and aims to reintroduce radio listeners to the music and artists that have helped shape popular music and culture over the last 30 years or so. The network is not dictated to by the charts but by "a passion for great music". The channel will make use of the BBC's extensive archive and is the BBC's first new national music radio station in 32 years.

A new black music channel, 1Xtra, playing hip hop, R&B and Garage will be launched in the summer. It will concentrate on new artists and again , will not follow trends in the mainstream Top 40.

But the digital future is not just about the BBC. Some of you may be surprised to hear that commercial digital radio already reaches almost 90% of the population in the UK. The Radio Authority have awarded licences for 1 national and 35 local digital multiplexes in the UK, which are already carrying over 200 commercial radio stations, with more to come on line every week. This number allows stations to concentrate on particular audiences, and stations such as The Groove and The Rhythm are examples of this.

The new channels demonstrate the increased variety of audio services that digital radio can offer. We, of course, also hope that this choice will persuade more people to buy digital radios , so that all digital radio channels will benefit from a wider audience.

The BBC's new digital television channel, BBC4, was launched in March. The BBC promises that it will be a place where more experimental music and dance performances can be showcased. It will provide a home for example for Jazz, roots and world music on the BBC and I hope will allow the BBC to show an increasing commitment to music on all its channels.

Conclusion

I would like to thank the organisers for inviting me to this year's event, and I would once again like to assure you of the Government's commitment to all types of music.

I would also like to congratulate you for helping this essential part of our music industry to continue to thrive. I hope the weekend is a success and that you enjoy all the great music on offer.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Apr 02 - 05:49 PM

And after the spin..........

KIM HOWELLS PLEDGES TO REFORM THE "TWO MUSICIANS RULE" Minister for Music, Kim Howells, today pledged to simplify licensing laws to make it easier and cheaper for pubs to obtain permission to stage musical performances.

Speaking to representatives from the world of jazz, folk, world and fusion music, at Modal 2002, an annual conference for the UK's non-mainstream music industry, Kim Howells said:

"I want to ensure that everyone, regardless of where they live, their culture or ethnic background, gender or ability to pay, has the opportunity to experience live music."

Kim Howells spoke to delegates about public entertainment licenses and their effect on live musical performances in pubs. He said:

"I am firmly committed to the reform and modernisation of our archaic and at times, wholly stupid, licensing laws. I do not need persuasion that the "two musicians rule" is outdated and pointless."

The current rule allows one or two singers or musicians to perform in a pub without the landlord being required to obtain the normal fee-paid public entertainment licence from the local authority.

Dr Howells continued:

"Simply abolishing the two musicians rule is not enough. Abolition would remove the exemption and make it harder and more costly for pubs to put on singers and other musical performers. Our approach is to simplify and integrate the licensing regimes so that it is easier and less expensive for pubs to obtain the necessary permission to stage musical performances. These reforms have to be introduced through primary legislation – there is no quick fix.

"We intend to bring forward a Bill modernising the licensing laws as soon as Parliamentary time permits."

The reformed licensing system will sweep away a great deal of current red tape, which deters many licensees from staging musical and other public entertainment. But it will still provide protection for customers and for local residents who can be disturbed by excessive noise from some premises.

Notes to Editors

The licensing White Paper - Time for Reform: which was published by the Home Office in April 2000 can be found on the DCMS website: www.culture.gov.uk

Press Enquiries: 020 7211 6269
Out of hours telephone pager no: 07699751153
Public Enquiries: 020 7211 6200
Internet: http://www.culture.gov.uk


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Apr 02 - 05:26 PM

I am trying to get a write-in campaign going.

I set out below first my explanation for folk club audiences and thent he letter that I am suggetsing be written, and finally some contact details.

GOVERNMENT BAN ON FOLK MUSIC THIS IS NOT A JOKE

The Threat The government plans a major change in liquor licences, gaming licences, and public entertainment licences. People assumed it would replace the "2-in-a-bar" rule* (which has been used to close down folk music) with something sensible. But it won't. It will replace it with something far worse. Spin doctors mislead by quoting approving comments that had not realised this.

The new law will make it a crime for even one folk musician to perform in a pub without a local authority entertainment licence. No exemptions at all. The only public singing in a pub that will not need a licence will be "spontaneous" outbursts such as "Happy Birthday to You".

Every pub with a folk club or session will need a local authority licence for public entertainment. The rule will apply to private members clubs like working mens' clubs, and so will probably apply even to private folk clubs (where you have to be a member for 48 hours to get in) held in pubs. The government has refused to meet the EFDSS to discuss an exemption.

The government says that the licences will be very cheap and benefit everyone. Yeah, right! The public entertainment licence will only be a part of the premises (liquor) licence. These will be controlled by local authorities. The pub will have to apply in advance (when it applies for its liquor licence) to the local authority with a full business plan for the entire pub operation including showing how often it intends to have public entertainment and of what kind ( so it will have to specify folk music) and what measures it is taking to prevent a public nuisance and to ensure public safety, and so on. We all know how helpful local authorities are, and how low they are likely to set their licence fees, don't we?

These licences are planned to last for the life of the business running the pub, and changes are planned to need an entirely fresh application.

If your club's pub (or club) does not get a licence permitting public entertainment including folk music your club will be illegal. Now imagine trying to start a new session or club or move your present one to a new pub.

What Can You Do? Write fax or email to your MP, write or email the minister Kim Howells, write or email Ronnie Bridgett the civil servant in charge (addresses and a sample letter on the back). Support the EFDSS. Support the Musicians' Union. Support Modal (a non-mainstream music organisation) DO IT NOW AND KEEP AT IT UNTIL THE GOVERNMENT BACKS OFF

*. The 2-in-a-bar rule says that all premises (licensed for liquor or not) need a licence for all music and dancing – but not for live music with only 2 performers (and a recent case says this means 2 throughout the entire evening, so one now and two later, or two now and one punter joining in the chorus is illegal).

Richard Bridge, Forge House, High Street, Lower Stoke, Rochester, Kent, ME3 9RD mclaw@btinternet.com Dear MP/Minister

I write to point out the damage that the government's plans to reform licensing law will do to folk music and dance. In effect, the present plans will ban all folk music or dance without a licence. This was not expected.

What was expected were sensible rules and exemptions, prepared with more thought than the current "2-in-a-bar" rule, that would not penalise or regulate what did not need regulating. But the government has now made it very clear that ALL "entertainment" in pubs and clubs will need a licence and that it plans NO exemptions, not even for acoustic music (even sessions where players come to take part, rather than to stand out in front and entertain others), or for traditional dance like morris. It just plans (press release 12th April) "to simplify…the licensing regimes".

Licensing is never cheap quick and easy. The whole idea that folk music should need a licence is ridiculous. The "reform" will vandalise an important part of England's cultural heritage, close off the route for amateur folk musicians to become professionals in the music industry of such importance to the UK economy, and reduce the attractiveness of the UK as a venue for tourism.

This philistinism is completely unnecessary. Folk music and dance do not pose noise nuisances or health or public order hazards. Only an extreme control freak could ever have dreamed that they might. The fact that in February the government refused to meet the EFDSS to discuss the problem is almost unbelievable. An exemption of a suitable type is absolutely vital, and I suggest that one for music is easy. All it needs to say is that music provided by (say) up to 100 performers without amplification does not need a licence. Keyboards without external amplifiers or speakers should count as acoustic for this purpose. The general law about excessive noise can deal with extraordinary situations like 76 trombones.

Please confirm that you agree.

Yours faithfully

Addresses Kim Howells – kim.howells@culture.gsi.gov.uk - or The House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA Ronnie Bridgett – Ronnie.Bridgett@culture.gsi.gov.uk - DCMS, 2/4 Cockspur St, London SW1Y 5DH Your MP – www.faxyourmp.com - or [name/constituency], House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA EFDSS - www.efdss.org - Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent's Park Road, London, NW1 7AY MU - www.musiciansunion.org.uk - 60/62 Clapham Rd London SW9 0JJ FOR HAMISH BIRCHALL MODAL - www.modal.co.uk - Centre for Popular Music, 6 Paternoster Row, Sheffield S1 2QQ


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Apr 02 - 07:04 PM

Refresh.

This is actually the most important thread on here, at least as far as England is concerned.

If the idea of a licence to make folk music or participate in folk dance does not get you US 1st amendment enthusiasts, and you European Convention on Human Rights enthusiasts, I think it should.

If proper exemptions are not introduced, under the new laws proposed, there is a very real risk of English folk music and dance being exterminated.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Apr 02 - 09:18 AM

Refresh.

I today found out that US lawyers used the 1st amendment to overturn a 3-in-a-bar rule in New York, (maybe a few years back) and there is actually a whole book about the fight.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 15 Apr 02 - 01:41 PM

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/entertainment/music/newsid_1926000/1926330.stm.

For the BBC's coverage.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 07:50 AM

There are lies, damned lies, and BBC reportage (been there in another context, too).

Sure, a pub will only need one licence. But it will only get a licence to do what is disclosed in the operating plan it files when it first applies. So if it hasn't filed a plan specifying "folk music on Fridays" it will have to apply again (at extra cost) to do that. The plans, incidentally, will also have to specify all the steps to be taken (in general) to safeguard the community.

All together now - "A licence to make acoustic folk music is an oppression. People have made folk music and folk dance since before governments existed. The requiring of a licence for traditional folk forms is cultural genocide."

How about everyone writing to both their MP AND the minister, and all posting to a copy to another thread first to see who is supporting the folk music we all write about here, and second to see whether anyone has some good ideas we can all adopt? How about everyone sending my post above with the draft letter to the whole of their addressbook, and asking them all to pass it on to the whole of their addressbook, and so on.

Do stuff, or in another couple of years there will be no English folk music or dance, only paid for electric musicians producing homogenised and profitable pap.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 11:49 AM

04/04/02

Dear Mr Knight MP

Despite all this proposed major reform we still seem to be stuck with the definition of public entertainment, for purposes of licensing, as music and dancing. The proposed changes will not be a reform without a new and more sensible definition of what is or is not public entertainment.

That one form of art or expression should alone be singled out as only permissible after a fee is paid by a third party to a local authority is an unfair disincentive to music making, and not specifically addressing the stated goal of the licensing.

Ensuring the public's interests and making premises safe for whatever activity is to take place, or whatever future form this may take, can probably best be done with a general statement of that requirement, rather than attempting to specify exactly the nature of every activity.

If (some) music related activities are seen to present a specific problem, not presented by other forms of public entertainment, such as noise this is the area that needs to be (and is), addressed by other legislation.

The standard conditions applied to the current licences, and which I assume will still apply to the premises licence, apply to non-musical entertainment like hypnotism or pyrotechnics.

Many forms of musical activity do not in fact present any appreciable noise concern, but the current and proposed law makes no distinction. A licence refused or conditions made on the grounds of noise, will also prevent or affect music not presenting this.

Many forms of musical activity taking place in pubs, many of them provided by and for customers, not only do not present any additional safety concerns or appreciable noise concerns, but should not even be considered as conventional public entertainment. The current and proposed law makes no distinction.

Other non-musical forms of entertainment provided in pubs by licensees or by and for fellow customers are not subject to any unfair disincentive or to a third party obtaining an additional licence. Examples are quiz nights, darts and so on. Satellite TV, is also currently exempt from this requirement. As it is not music or dancing, will it remain so?

The current public entertainment licence is a tax or a music licence. If one art form or expression is to continue to be considered differently to others under reform, then this element should be honestly referred to as a music and dancing element (or tax). For that is what it is to be in effect.

Many of the 95% of licensed premises that do not hold PELs, are also currently providing safe premises, on a regular and on a casual basis, for small-scale musical activities. It will act as a disincentive for these premises to continue proving this, if they have to submit specific operating plans, make additional payments to enable music making to continue and are also subject to more official inspections and are then subject to pay for any alterations required. Many of which relating to noise, may not be necessary or applicable, as not all music presents noise concerns.

It could well prove to be that musical entertainment will still take place, unadvertised and on a casual basis, being driven underground and presenting more problems for the public and enforcement officers. A situation that will not be in anybody's interests, for making music is not a criminal activity, musical expression is a right.

It must be recognised that other existing legislation has made these musical activities safe and ensured the interests of the public. And that as in Scotland, no additional licence is required in pubs and bars.

Musical expression should not continued to be singled out and placed at risk by being used as a scapegoat, when the issues and concerns are noise, crime and other social problems.

The actions taken by many local authorities, to the detriment of musical expression, in strictly interpreting and enforcing current legislation, does not fill one with much confidence, when the whole responsibility for licensing is to be handed over to them. For the present Government has made it clear that the current rule should no be used to prevent ordinary people from singing and dancing in pubs but the Government is just watching while many councils, including mine, are doing just that.

The Government's intention can be overridden currently and also under the proposed legislation by councils declaring such music making to be public entertainment.

The DCMS's Ronnie Bridgett made the follow reply to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council on 04/02/02.

It is not planned that the new system will give an exemption to any forms of entertainment. The proposal is that all activities to be held on a Premises Licence (including non-amplified music) would need to be revealed in the operating plan put for approval to the licensing authority. The authority could only impose conditions on the Premises Licence which protect public safety and prevent disorder, crime and public nuisance.

The following question from is from Hamish Birchall and the more recent (03/04/02) reply from Mr Bridgett is of interest.

But the Government now proposes that, in addition to the risk assessments employers have a statutory duty to undertake (taking into account all activities in the workplace), 'all activities to be held on a Premises Licence including non-amplified music would need to be revealed in the operating plan put for approval to the local authority'. Do you envisage licensees being required to declare whether or not customers will sing - unamplified - for their own amusement?

We do not anticipate that premises licences would have to include such an element.

This does seem to contradict Mr Bridgett's earlier reply given to my council. If it is the latest thinking it should be welcomed but needs to appear and be set in the Government's proposals. The problem being that without the principle, of the right to make music being established in the legislation, it still only needs one of our officials to claim the activity is public entertainment, for us to have go to court to fight it, exactly the same as now.

I accept that this Government is sincere in its wish to reform and improve the current system and its current failures and excesses. I would be most grateful if you could comment on and pass on this letter to Dr Howells for his comments.

Yours sincerely

Roger Gall


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 11:53 AM

I have copied the above letter to a new thread called PELs - Letters to important folk.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Apr 02 - 01:31 PM

Just to add to Richard's comments above - Kevin McGrath said on 26 Feb.

I suspect that most people here agree that this is a silly and damaging law that needs changing. It would be interesting to know whether many people have actually done something to help bring that cahnge about.

I have just read that a licensee is currently being prosecuted for holding a session in Greenwich London. I will try to get more detail when I have been able to contact Mick Wood who posted on to the BBC Radio 2 folk site. That site does not permit links or contact addresses so I have asked him to come here.

If anyone should know this Mick Wood, could they ask him to contact me? roger.gall@btinternet.com.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Apr 02 - 06:21 PM

There is also a current problem in Canterbury and I am trying to find time to help.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Apr 02 - 06:27 AM

Does anyone know of this Mick Wood?


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Apr 02 - 06:22 AM

I have managed to find an e mail address, which I hope is the right one. I have sent an e mail and I am waiting for a reply.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Apr 02 - 07:57 AM

UK catters can be useful TODAY


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Apr 02 - 01:13 PM

Digging this up as I have asked readers of the BBC Radio 2 folk mesaage board to look on this thread for the addresses I am not allowed to place there.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Apr 02 - 02:52 AM

http://www.englishtourism.org.uk/default.asp?ID=S217L0P2203I2209.

Last night Dr Howells avoided seeing Weymouth and Portland win a tourism award for Excellence in England. It was awarded to Scarborough.


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Apr 02 - 02:57 AM

GOLD AND SILVER AWARD WINNERS:

Most Improved Resort of the Year

Gold Award Winner
Scarborough, North Yorkshire
Contact: Mike Wilkinson, tel: 01723 232560

Silver Award Winners
Hastings, East Sussex
Contact: Kevin Boorman, tel: 01424 781 122

Weymouth and Portland, Dorset
Contact: Dr Douglas Gyte, tel: 01305 206279


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Apr 02 - 01:40 PM

David Heath MP, who led the debate in the House of Commons about two in bar, has put down an Early Day Motion (EDM) calling for reform of this 'outdated and just plain daft' legislation in the next Queen's Speech.

The purpose of an EDM is to air an issue that a group of MPs feel strongly about. Interested MPs add their names in support. If a large number do this, it sends a strong message to the Government. This in turn can be very effective in gaining media coverage.

PLEASE WRITE OR FAX YOUR MP ASKING THEM TO SUPPORT THIS MOTION (see below for fax service):

Early Day Motion (EDM) 1182 was first put down on 23rd April 2002 by David Heath

That this House recognises the social, cultural and economic value of a thriving grass roots entertainment industry; notes that entertainment and music provision in venues ranging from pubs to village halls not only attracts vital custom but also encourages cultural diversity and growth; further notes that under the current two in a bar system it is illegal to allow, for instance, three folk singers to perform in a pub; agrees with the Minister for Sport that the current Public Entertainment Licensing system is archaic and just plain daft; and calls upon the Government to reform licensing laws to reduce the cost and bureacracy of entertainment licensing and promote the use of live music and singing in pubs and clubs; and urges the Government to introduce a Licensing Law Reform Bill in the next Queen's Speech.

PLEASE FAX (AND GET ALL YOUR FRIENDS) TO FAX YOUR MP DIRECT on: www.faxyourmp.com Or write: House of Commons London SW1A OAA


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Apr 02 - 06:45 PM

Message By: Mick Woods

Once again the "Two in a bar law" rears it'e ugly head. I help run a small folk club once a fortnight, in a pub in Greenwich, SE London. Last year the landlord received a letter from the council telling him that, they had visited his premises and witnessed three musicians playing.

The letter warned him that he could face up to 6 months in jail and a £20.000 fine for allowing this sort of thing to take place in his bar. We have since tried to ensure that there are only one or two musicians playing at any given time during our session. Last week the landlord received a letter from the council saying, that they had again visited his pub and witnessed several musicians playing. This time they stated a time - 8.50pm. As our session does not start until 9pm what they witnessed were various musicians "tuning up".

The landlord phoned the council, but was told that even if the musicians did not actually play at the same time the Law was still being broken, as there were more than two during the course of the evening. They are now prosecuting. This is a tiny back street pub, the music we play is all acoustic. Has anybody else had any experience of this antiquated legislation?

The answer is unfortunately, yes....... Can we please get together and make sure that no one else has to?


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Apr 02 - 04:01 AM

No need to change it works right well by me


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: Noreen
Date: 11 May 02 - 12:32 PM

See also

UK catters be useful TODAY


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Subject: RE: HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY.
From: GUEST
Date: 12 May 02 - 12:29 AM

Perhaps, you should consider changing The Shambles UNDERWEAR????

Something is smelling stale here!!!!


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