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Official 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)

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McGrath of Harlow 22 May 02 - 04:47 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 May 02 - 04:51 PM
BanjoRay 22 May 02 - 06:01 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 May 02 - 06:30 PM
The Shambles 23 May 02 - 03:33 AM
The Shambles 23 May 02 - 03:39 AM
The Shambles 23 May 02 - 06:10 AM
McGrath of Harlow 23 May 02 - 06:17 AM
Nigel Parsons 23 May 02 - 06:53 AM
The Shambles 23 May 02 - 12:12 PM
DMcG 23 May 02 - 12:19 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 May 02 - 12:32 PM
NELLIE 23 May 02 - 01:13 PM
NELLIE 23 May 02 - 01:14 PM
NELLIE 23 May 02 - 01:15 PM
The Shambles 23 May 02 - 01:45 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 May 02 - 02:11 PM
The Shambles 23 May 02 - 02:36 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 May 02 - 03:10 PM
The Shambles 24 May 02 - 04:44 AM
The Shambles 24 May 02 - 04:49 AM
The Shambles 24 May 02 - 05:32 AM
McGrath of Harlow 24 May 02 - 05:36 AM
The Shambles 24 May 02 - 05:43 AM
The Shambles 24 May 02 - 05:34 PM
The Shambles 25 May 02 - 08:02 PM
The Shambles 26 May 02 - 06:17 AM
GUEST 27 May 02 - 12:58 AM
Steve Parkes 28 May 02 - 08:20 AM
McGrath of Harlow 28 May 02 - 04:30 PM
The Shambles 29 May 02 - 03:00 PM
GUEST,Pavane 30 May 02 - 07:36 AM
The Shambles 30 May 02 - 09:48 AM
McGrath of Harlow 30 May 02 - 10:42 AM
McGrath of Harlow 30 May 02 - 10:47 AM
The Shambles 12 Jun 02 - 06:34 AM
The Shambles 12 Jun 02 - 02:38 PM
The Shambles 13 Jun 02 - 02:09 PM
The Shambles 13 Jun 02 - 02:12 PM
BanjoRay 13 Jun 02 - 06:08 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Jun 02 - 08:14 PM
Trevor 14 Jun 02 - 05:33 AM
The Shambles 14 Jun 02 - 05:45 AM
The Shambles 14 Jun 02 - 06:25 AM
sian, west wales 14 Jun 02 - 06:32 AM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Jun 02 - 06:36 AM
The Shambles 15 Jun 02 - 06:59 PM
The Shambles 16 Jun 02 - 04:26 PM
The Shambles 20 Jun 02 - 02:44 PM
The Shambles 21 Jun 02 - 06:43 AM
The Shambles 21 Jun 02 - 11:56 AM
The Shambles 21 Jun 02 - 01:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Jun 02 - 03:38 PM
The Shambles 26 Jun 02 - 12:36 PM
The Shambles 05 Jul 02 - 03:38 PM
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Subject: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 May 02 - 04:47 PM

This thread has got too long for convenience.

I get a feeling that a little bit of momentum is building up as it starts to become clearer that the "reform" we'd been promised is likely to turn into a disaster for informal music making in England.

Here's the fax your MP link which was in the last post of the old thread, in case people weren't able to open it.

And here is the link to the page giving information about the "Early Day Motion" about this, to give you something specific to fax them about. If their name isn't in the last fax and gently ask why. If it is, fax and thank them. (It's as easy as writing a post to the Mudcat, and equally free.)


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 May 02 - 04:51 PM


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: BanjoRay
Date: 22 May 02 - 06:01 PM

I figured somebody ought to do it, so I've just been getting the party distribution of the signers of the Early Day Motion.

Labour 46
Lib Dem 16
Con 3
Plaid Cymru 2

Lets hope the Labour government starts listening to its MPs - it's not noted for it!
You're doing a great job, Shambles and others.

Cheers
Ray


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 May 02 - 06:30 PM

God, what a pathetic opposition. They can't even recognise an open goal when they see it. A Hallowed Tradition under attack, the Englishman's Pub is His Castle, the true-born Englishman's right to sing "Do Ye Ken John Peel" as he quaffs his ale in the Fox and Hounds...

Mind, it's as well, it might be the kiss of death having them on board.


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 May 02 - 03:33 AM

This got a little lost in the last thread. It is important for as many people to see this as THIS IS WHAT GOING TO HAPPEN! Perhaps there could be some comments and discussion on this, and hopefully some concerted action.

The following are answers and further clarification of the White Paper, obtained from the DCMS by Richard Bridge, who has kindly agreed for these answers to be circulated.

It contains some important detailed information about the current proposals. I would just add to this, the latest information, in this World Cup year, that crowds attracted to live satellite TV in pubs will be able to continue, without a premises licence.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, has today (15/05/02) confirmed, however, that the Government has no plans to require landlords to declare the provision of live satellite television on their licence application.<

From: ronnie.bridgett@Culture.gsi.gov.uk 08 April 2002 13:51

You ask me to explain how the two responses can be reconciled.
In response to the question - will criminal offences be committed by customers who spontaneously break into song, our advice is that we do not anticipate that spontaneous singing which does not constitute a "performance" under the terms of the Bill or is not undertaken or organised for "reward" as defined in the Bill, will be within the range of the licensing regime.

Whereas a musical "performance" as defined in the Bill by a single musician undertaken for "reward" (either his own or the organiser's) will be subject to the licensing regime. It is for Parliamentary Counsel to decide how in terms of draft clauses to give effect to that policy.

Accordingly, whenever a group of people in a bar break into spontaneous song, the licensee would have to decide the point (noise level)at which he is at risk of being closed by the police because of "excessive noise" which might be disturbing the public. This is an important point for context and explains why it would not be necessary to bring spontaneous singing (music making) within the licensing regime as adequate public protection would already exist.

Ronnie Bridgett Alcohol and Entertainment Licensing Branch Tourism Division

From: ronnie.bridgett@Culture.gsi.gov.uk Sent: 09 April 2002 13:41

Your concerns have been noted and will be taken into account when final instructions are sent to Parliamentary Counsel.

With regard to more detail of definitions to be used, I am sorry to have to report that you will need to wait until the publication of the Bill.

Finally, you asked why there is a need to license music if noise controls are adequate. I can confirm that the Government would not accept that it is the case that public performances of acoustic music are not always "noisy". Also, as you will appreciate, noise is not the only factor to be considered when considering the licensing of musical performances. Public safety issues have to be taken on board, and the time of day or night with regard to public disturbance.

Your sincerely Ronnie Bridgett Alcohol and Entertainment Licensing Branch Tourism Division

From: ronnie.bridgett@Culture.gsi.gov.uk Sent: 20 May 2002 14:22

Further detail is given in section 5(ii) of the Regulatory Impact Assessment at Appendix 4 to the White Paper (particularly the section "Under the New Regime").

Only one fee will be paid for a premises licence regardless of the activities which the licence covers.

There will also be an annual charge to provide a revenue stream for inspections.

The fee and the charge will be set centrally by the Secretary of State. It will not be set by local authorities.

The fee needs to recover fully the costs of administration, inspection and enforcement associated with licensing law.

The most likely formula for calculating the band levels is capacity - so that larger venues pay more than small ones. However, it may be necessary to include a geographical factor in the formula. This is because administrative overheads are likely to be different in different parts of the country. For example, employment and accommodation costs are higher in the South East of England.

The Secretary of State will set the fee levels after consulting the industry trade associations and the local authorities.

The new regime should save the businesses affected around £1.9 billion in the first ten years of operation. Most of this saving will be from legal costs associated with the current system.

From: ronnie.bridgett@Culture.gsi.gov.uk Sent: 20 May 2002 16:09

With regard to any amendments to a premises licence, the Secretary of State will set the appropriate fee structure for variations to the premises licence. It should not be presumed that it will be the same fee as for the original application.

Noise complaints are dealt with by DEFRA (the Department for the Environment, Food and Regional Affairs) whose advice we take on these matters. In addition, the police and the local authorities raise matters concerning rowdyism and general disturbance. Advice from all these sources does not differentiate between types of music. In any event, we are not aware of a precise definition of what constitutes "folk music".

It would not therefore be possible to cite particular examples of complaints which are specifically to do with venues at which "folk" musicians are performing.

As for public order issues, consideration is linked to the provision of alcohol at premises. As we have explained, there will be one licence which will cover the sale of alcohol and the provision of public entertainment.

Ronnie Bridgett Alcohol & Entertainment Licensing Branch


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 May 02 - 03:39 AM

Whereas a musical "performance" as defined in the Bill by a single musician undertaken for "reward" (either his own or the organiser's) will be subject to the licensing regime. It is for Parliamentary Counsel to decide how in terms of draft clauses to give effect to that policy.

Note that the reward does not have to be to the participants. If the licensee is considered to have increased his 'reward', say in takings from the sale of drinks, for example, out officers will consider this to be 'entertainment' and not permitted without the entertainment element of the new premises licence.


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 May 02 - 06:10 AM

The following from The LGA. The following reply from the LGA.

22/05/02

Dear Mr Gall

Thank you for your letter dated 14 May to Brian Briscoe regarding a meeting to discuss entertainment licensing reform held on 13 May.

You correspondence has been passed on to John Ransford, Director of Education and Social Policy. Mr Ransford is on leave until 27 May and will respond to correspondence on his return.

Your sincerely


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 May 02 - 06:17 AM

Also the "reward" does not have to be provided by the landlord.

On the face of it would appear that if a proprietor allows a customer to buy a drink for a "performer", in a place where a licence to cover "performing" is not in place, that proprietor becomes liable to face massive penalties. (At present the maximum of £20,000.)

And it needn't even be in a pub, it could be a cup of coffee in a coffee house.

For that matter isn't a round of applause "a reward" of sorts?


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 23 May 02 - 06:53 AM

If we could have 'proportional representation' in line with the figures quoted by BanjoRay, Plaid Cymru would have all the Welsh seats, and possibly a couple of English ones as well!


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 May 02 - 12:12 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall

77 MPs have now signed David Heath's EDM 1182 calling on the Government to reform the two in a bar rule and our 'archaic and just plain daft' public entertainment licensing legislation.

This represents a tremendous level of support, and will help generate more media coverage. Thanks to all of you who have already contacted your MP to ask them to sign. To check whether your MP has signed click on URL below, enter 1182 in 'Search for EDM number' and click on SEARCH: http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/search.html The PRINTABLE EDM button will give you a list of supporting MPs in alphabetical order with the text of the EDM beneath.

Equity, the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS), and the MU have now written to all MPs urging them to suppport EDM 1182. The Arts Council has contacted MPs with a music interest, also asking for their support.

If you have not yet contacted your MP please do so now. You can fax them direct from www.faxyourmp.com. If you don't know their name this useful service will identify them from your postcode. The postal address is c/o House of Commons, London SW1A OAA.


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: DMcG
Date: 23 May 02 - 12:19 PM

The EDM contains the words "agrees with the Minister for Sport". I bet this is part of the reason for the low number of opposition signatures. The idea of agreeing with a minister is too much of a stretch!


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 May 02 - 12:32 PM

So they can put down another Early Day Motion of their own saying the Minister for Sport is an ignoramus, which is of course quite true in this context anyway. Then the Tories can sign that one, Labour can sign the other, and the Liberals and Plaid Cymru can sign both.


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: NELLIE
Date: 23 May 02 - 01:13 PM

Regarding the spontaneious song bit, it would seem to me that a sing-a-round in apub, with people not paying an entrance fee, nor receiving any money for their singing, would not contravene certainly the present system. Am I being naive.

Yes, is the answer, I expect, but if there is no payment involved. What happens then if a club organises for a performer, who performes on his/her own and obviously receives payment, under the present system are they breaking the law, certainly if everyone there joined in the chorus songs, they woiuld seem to be. It seems to me to be a very complicated mess.

Jenny


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: NELLIE
Date: 23 May 02 - 01:14 PM

Regarding the spontaneious song bit, it would seem to me that a sing-a-round in apub, with people not paying an entrance fee, nor receiving any money for their singing, would not contravene certainly the present system. Am I being naive.

Yes, is the answer, I expect, but if there is no payment involved. What happens then if a club organises for a performer, who performes on his/her own and obviously receives payment, under the present system are they breaking the law, certainly if everyone there joined in the chorus songs, they woiuld seem to be. It seems to me to be a very complicated mess.

Jenny


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: NELLIE
Date: 23 May 02 - 01:15 PM

Sorry, pressed the button twice Jenny


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 May 02 - 01:45 PM

It seems to me to be a very complicated mess.

The first senario should not contravene the current system but it requires a brave licensee to legally challenge councils who do consider (three) customers to be performers in a public entertainment. Whether they are paid or not is strangly currently not a factor but as anyone could claim they were not being paid, our officials don't like to take any chances and prevent everything.

The second senario is public entertainment but specifically exempt as there are two or less performers. Whether the people joining in are performers or not, is not clearly established one way or the other.

The recent TOYE case, has established that it must be the same two performers all performance, if the event is to be considered exempt as two or less performers but not that customers are performers. Although this is suggestive that customers joining in could be considered performers, it is not determinative of the question in law.


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 May 02 - 02:11 PM

Remember, this "spontaneous singing" bit isn't part of any current law, statute or case law. It may get incorporated into the "reform" or not. But at present it's just a politician waffling, which in itself carries no authority in the courts.

There has been at least one case where people joining in with a performer to sing Happy Birthday was interpreted by a court as a breach of the PEL requirements.

The courts should have a fine time interpreting what "spontaneous" means, if it get incorporated into the law. One of the definitions in the Concise English Dictionary is "voluntary, without external incitement", which could mean that if a bunch of people brought their instruments along to a session, and played them, and agreed to come back again on some future occasion, that could still count as spontaneous.

But if anyone were to ring round and remind people to come along, that might count as "external incitement", and it wouldn't be spontaneous any more...

But the trouble is going to be what the law says or what the law means that matters - it's going to be what the landlords (or coffee bar equivalents etc) are told it means by the local council, or by the company controlling the business. It's going to be easier to play safe, and say "Sorry lads, you can't play here, more than my licence is worth."


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 May 02 - 02:36 PM

But the trouble is going to be what the law says or what the law means that matters - it's going to be what the landlords (or coffee bar equivalents etc) are told it means by the local council, or by the company controlling the business. It's going to be easier to play safe, and say "Sorry lads, you can't play here, more than my licence is worth."

That is a very good point. Many of the 95% of premises not currently holding PELs but providing exempt music are not I fear going to choose the optional 'entertainment' element of the the new mandatory premises licence. any music currently being made will have to stop.

It is partly the cost of the PEL at the moment but they will have to pay the same (increase) for the premises licence even if they don't want the 'entertainment' element. It is more the case, now and under the reform that they do not want to undertake expensive modifications and be subject to some of the unnecessary controls and conditions that are now imposed on some premises.

The reform talks of what councils will be allowed or not allowed to do but is very short on the detail and how the Government are to ensure that current excesses are to be avoided.


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 May 02 - 03:10 PM

I put an "is" where I meant "is, it isn't" in that last post I made. The gist got across anyway, even though formally that mistake should have reversed the meaning.The English language is weird. But here is what I actually meant to say:

"But the trouble is, it isn't going to be what the law says or what the law means that matters - it's going to be what the landlords (or coffee bar equivalents etc) are told it means by the local council, or by the company controlling the business. It's going to be easier to play safe, and say "Sorry lads, you can't play here, more than my licence is worth."


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 May 02 - 04:44 AM

91 MPs names are now on the EDM, including Dennis Skinner, and Anne Widdicombe, an unlikely pairing!

Is your MPs name there yet? http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=1182


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 May 02 - 04:49 AM

The following (not too sure if will come out jumbled as I have just copied it as it was) seems to answer Mr Tiffney of the LGA

Subject: RE: How old is Brit trad of music in pubs? From: Greenjack Date: 23-May-02 - 04:33 PM Shop: SONGS AND BALLADS , One Day A quote lifted from one of my own papers:

One day in the 1850s the young Sabine Baring-Gould was riding on his pony around Dartmoor and, as the evening fell, rode down into South Zeal and found himself a room for the night at the Oxenham Arms. It was a day when the miners had been paid and had gathered to spend their wages. Writing in 1892 he describes the evening he spent in the bar:

"At the table and in the high-backed settle sat the men, smoking, talking, drinking. Conspicuous among them was one man with a high forehead, partly bald, who with upturned eyes sang ballads. I learned that he was given free entertainment at the inn, on condition that he sang as long as the tavern was open, for the amusement of the guests. He seemed to be inexhaustible in his store of songs and ballads; with the utmost readiness, whenever called on, he sang, and skilfully varied the character of his pieces - to grave succeeded gay, to a ballad a lyric. At the time I listened, amused, till I was tired, and then went to bed, leaving him singing."

SBG also tells a number of other anecdotes about his simgers performing in pubs - even the young James Olver escaping over the roof from his bedroom to sit outside under the pub window to learn songs. But that's song, rather than music - perhaps the English have a stronger tradition of singing in pubs than we have of playing music? I am sure there is some hard evidence out there somewhere

Martin

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Subject: RE: How old is Brit trad of music in pubs? From: The Shambles Date: 24-May-02 - 04:23 AM

One day in the 1850s the young Sabine Baring-Gould was riding on his pony around Dartmoor and, as the evening fell, rode down into South Zeal and found himself a room for the night at the Oxenham Arms. It was a day when the miners had been paid and had gathered to spend their wages. Writing in 1892 he describes the evening he spent in the bar:

The tradition goes on, for I have taken part in folk music at the very same pub, as part of the Folk Festival held every year in the village.

And no, I wasn't the poor chap described.


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 May 02 - 05:32 AM

Please feel free to copy and circulate this as widely as possible – for time is short.

What is Folk? OFFICIAL.
From: ronnie.bridgett@Culture.gsi.gov.uk

Sent: 20 May 2002 16:09In any event, we are not aware of a precise definition of what constitutes "folk music".

"We", presumably meaning the civil servants at the DCMS, may not know, but the following shows that the Government does know. Perhaps they should get together on this matter, before it is too late?

Parliamentary Questions 3 Dec 2001
Dr. Howells: We are straying into very dangerous territory. For a simple urban boy such as me, the idea of listening to three Somerset folk singers sounds like hell. Having said that, the hon. Gentleman is right: music does enliven many pubs and restaurants. It should thrive. Silly rules are preventing it from doing so.

Is Dr Howells actually aware that he is pushing through even sillier rules in his proposed reform, rules that will do even more damage to the music his Government appear to dislike so?

Or is it for this reason they do not care about the many events, folk clubs and venues that have been lost to silly rules in the past, the ones currently under real threat and the ones that will be threatened by the proposed reforms?

Where even one singer will be illegal in all premises without the premises paying for a licence which specifically details, well in advance the exact nature of the 'entertainment' to take place.

But where noisy late night (and early morning) crowds attracted to sports events on Satellite TV, will still not come under this licensing requirement.

What is going on at this Department - one set up to look after culture?

Please help to try and find out, before it is too late?

The following link is to the White Paper. Which after all is the starting point

. http://www.culture.gov.uk/new_responsibilities/liclaw.html

The following is the current position of EDM 1182. Has your MP signed yet?

http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=1182

The following link is how you can instantly fax you MP. All you need is your post code. http://www.faxyourmp.com/

For those (outside the UK) who do not have an MP, but would also like to help - Mr Bridgett's E mail address is given above.


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 May 02 - 05:36 AM

The only trouble with this Early Day Motion is that it doesn't actually address the main issues, or challenge the idea of requiring a licence to sing and make music as a social activity. It's still a good idea to encourage MPs to sign it, but it doesn't add up to much.


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 May 02 - 05:43 AM

It is not of course the answer in itself, but if it does not get supported, now it is started, it will give the message that no one cares..........

The recent increase (and stature) of those signing it must be encouraging, but we must keep it up.


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 May 02 - 05:34 PM

The following from Eliza Carthy

They can't possibly believe that this new law is going to help anybody at all. How can a landlord who has never heard of folk music imagine as he opens his new pub that there might be a folk club there in the area in need of a venue?


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 May 02 - 08:02 PM

This from Hamish Birchall

94 MPs have now signed David Heath's public entertainment licence Early Day Motion 1182.

Only about 400 MPs are eligible to sign EDMs so this is a very significant level of support. If you are experiencing two in a bar problems in your area, the local press may now be more interested in covering the story, linking it to EDM 1182. If your MP has signed so much the better.

Has your MP signed? Check using the link below: http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=1182

Parliament is in recess from next Monday (27 May) returning on Monday 10 June, so the total may not rise as steeply as it has done over the last two weeks.

Fax your MP direct from www.faxyourmp.com or write c/o House of Commons, London SW1A OAA.

Please pass this message on to other musicians interested in the public entertainment licence issue. Thanks again to those of you who have already contacted your MP about this.


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 May 02 - 06:17 AM

Does anyone out there happen to have our guitar playing Prime Minister as their MP?


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: GUEST
Date: 27 May 02 - 12:58 AM

Shambles, perhaps you could post it in couple of more threads so it is SURE to get read. I almost missed it.


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 28 May 02 - 08:20 AM

It occurred to me yesterday that the church in my old home village has always roped in local musos to play/sing at its non-worship events, and the village choir always hold their midsummer concert there. When the new law comes in, will it mean the church will need a PEL? If so, I think it will simply have to put an end to the musical events, as it's strapped for cash already.

Steve


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 May 02 - 04:30 PM

The new law isn't going to alter any of those things. In fact there's already a rather badly defined exemption for music at fetes, providing it's seen as sort of incidental rather than the main event (so you can't put on a big rock concert without a PEL, and pretend it's a village fete by putting up a coconut shy).

In fact lot's of things happen which are technically illegal at present, in all kinds of places, and it's just a matter of luck whether someone starts getting stroppy about it. (This is England after all.) The "reform" isn't intended to change that one way or another.

The thing to do though, if you've got questions or are seeking clarifications, is to channel to the officials who are supposed to have this kind of information at their fingertips.

Make them know that someone out here is interested. The more queries they get the better. They might even get some guidelines together, and if they were sensible guidelines they could improve the situation.If they weren't sensible guidelines, they could be a focus for campaigning.


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 May 02 - 03:00 PM

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/folk/acoustic_club/launch.shtml Link to the the BBC's Virtual Session.

The FEATURE section on the performers involved in this fine project contain some background information on the what and how of sessions. Many of these performers have come up through these events and it is quite clear that these have been part of our culture for sometime.

Recent comments to the Government, connected with proposed entertainment licence reform were to the effect that such a tradition of folk music (and song) in our pubs did not exist.

The problem is that with many organisers currently keeping their heads down and as these events are not advertised, it is rather easy for the Government to make a case that these events are not happening.

It would be most helpful (I would say vital), if the DCMS and the Government could receive more accurate information about the many informal participatory events that are now actually taking place accross our land. Those anyway that have survived our current regime but will soon have to face a futher challenge.

You don't have to use the names of premises, just explain the set-up and history etc. Just to show that it is a real factor that they have to address in their proposed reforms.


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: GUEST,Pavane
Date: 30 May 02 - 07:36 AM

Where should we compile this list?

Should we have a dedicated thread for folk venues/sessions etc?

What about musicians who have originated in folk clubs?

For example, the Valley Folk Club in Pontardawe, which has over the years produced Max Boyce, Mary Hopkin, and Mick Tems (and probably others)?


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 May 02 - 09:48 AM

YES!

All good ideas, just do all of them. Please.

A new thread, with out my name on every other post would be welcome by many, I suspect (I will try and stay out of that one).


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 May 02 - 10:42 AM

Posting it here in a thread is a good idea - but at the end of it that's likely to end in one letter with the information being sent to someone who should be listening. That letter needs to be sent - but individual letters from the people posting would be a good idea as well. MPs, ministers, tourist boards... Why let them off the hook for a moment?

There's a thread I started for sessions that have been killed off, or prevented from starting, by the PEL regulations. So someone else start a thread for sessions-under-cover that haven't been killed off yet, but are worried about being able to continue when the new rules come in.


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 May 02 - 10:47 AM

Here's the thread for sessions

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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Jun 02 - 06:34 AM

133 MPs have now signed David Heath's two in a bar Early Day Motion 1182.

This puts EDM 1182 within to top 100 of 1624 EDMs in terms of total signatures - a great result. Thanks to all of you who have written to your MP.

There will be a debate on the music industry this morning, 11am-12.30pm, in Parliament (Westminster Hall) led by Pete Wishart (SNP), former member of Runrig and Big Country. Public entertainment licensing and two in a bar will be discussed. A full transcript will be available on the www.parliament.uk website tomorrow morning.

There is to be more media coverage on Radio 2 - details later.


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Jun 02 - 02:38 PM

http://www.shepherd-neame.co.uk/company/reform/ For the brewer's views.


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jun 02 - 02:09 PM

From the 12 June Common's music debate.

Hansard (this link may not work).

Siobhain McDonagh :

My main concern is the lack of opportunities for new bands to make live music. Through my teenage years from the age of 17, a week had not ended properly if I had not had the opportunity to see a live band in some small pub or club not far from where I lived. Many of those venues have now gone, and people now in their late teens will not be able to see the equivalent of the Jam, or say that they saw them in a small pub in Croydon on the Sunday night that their first single hit the charts. Many such stories have built my love for music, and I should like young people to be given the opportunity to attend concerts at little cost and to watch bands thrive and develop.

It is a tragedy for live music in this country that many venues have gone. It is also a tragedy for live music of the future—there are fewer places where bands can start out and learn the craft of live performance. It is not the fault of the Government's new deal for musicians, which has been welcomed by the Musicians Union, and which has given a hand-up to more than 9,000 young musicians; nor is it the fault of the union learning fund, which is a small grant scheme that was set up by the Government in 1998 to encourage unions to help their members develop their talents. The decline in small music venues is largely the fault of local authorities and their public entertainment licences, and all the Government's good work will be stymied without positive licensing reform.

For a nation that rightly takes pride in the global success of its music industry, it is strange that licensees commit a criminal offence if they allow three singers to perform in a pub, or in any other premises covered by the Licensing Act 1964. Even spontaneous singing—which I have been known to do, particularly in the Strangers Bar—is technically an offence. [Interruption.] Yes, my singing is an offence. Such activity is an offence unless a special permit called a public entertainment licence has first been obtained from the local authority. Last week's BBC Music Live community sing-a-long was therefore an act of mass civil disobedience for most of the pub customers who took part.

Without a public entertainment licence, premises may provide unlimited recorded sound, and radio, live satellite and terrestrial television broadcasts. The maximum penalty for unlicensed public entertainment however is a £20,000 fine and six months in prison—a bizarre state of affairs. The two-performer exemption from public entertainment licences is understandably derided by musicians who call it the two-in-a-bar rule. Only 5 per cent. of 111,000 liquor-licensed premises in England and Wales hold an annual public entertainment licence, which is why the word "rule" is more appropriate than "exemption." It means that a live gig tonight performed by more than two musicians would be illegal in more than 100,000 bars, pubs and other liquor-licensed premises.

The low take-up of public entertainment licences is largely due to rising costs and red tape. Home Office circular 13 published in April 2000 warned councils against excessive conditions and asked them to consider lowering fees for public entertainment licences. Few have taken any notice. Annual public entertainment licence revenue for local authorities in England and Wales rose by about 20 per cent. a year between 1998 and 2001; for the record, the figures are £11.005 million between 1998 and 1999 and £16.067 million between 2000 and 2001. That data comes from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. In fact, the totals are almost certainly higher, because a small percentage of councils do not provide CIPFA with such information.

To me, revenue from public entertainment licensing looks suspiciously like a music and dancing tax. Local authorities argue that public entertainment licence fees are justified on the polluter pays principle, but since alcohol sales of some £30 billion a year generate some £12 billion in VAT and duty, perhaps some of the money should be available to local authorities to underwrite the legitimate costs associated with regulating music and dancing premises. Surely, that would be better than a locally set tax, which often bears no relation at all to the polluting capacity of the premises.

The two-in-a-bar restrictions on live performance are ludicrous by any standards. In Ireland, whose team has also had significant World cup success in the past few days and which many of us support, a pub without a live band is the exception. No entertainment licence is required in rural areas, although a permit costing £24 a year is needed in towns. In Scotland, most pubs can provide live bands before 11 pm without a public entertainment licence, and Scottish pubs—indeed, all workplaces—are regulated by UK-wide safety and noise legislation, which begs the question of whether a public entertainment licence is the only way to address safety and noise concerns.

On the face of it, the rationale for public entertainment licensing is eminently reasonable. Public entertainment licences are supposed to ensure public safety and minimise noise nuisance, and prevent crime and disorder. However, if it is deemed safe for pubs without a public entertainment licence to entertain customers with live sport on widescreen television, as they are doing with the World cup, surely it is safe to provide a folk band, a jazz trio or, in the case of some restaurants, a string quartet.

It would be mistake to assume that noise from live music is a major problem for local authorities. According to the Noise Abatement Society, 81 per cent. of complaints are caused by noisy people in the streets outside premises. The remaining 19 per cent. of complaints relate to noisy neighbours, noisy machinery or loud recorded music escaping from bars and nightclubs. Loud amplified bands may be a problem, but there is effective legislation to address it, as the Scottish example shows. Licensing justices have the power to attach noise conditions on the grant of liquor licences. It seems that the power is not widely used, but it is there.

According to the Musicians Union, in Finland, Denmark and Germany there is no separate licensing requirement for live music. Its provision is assumed when the equivalent of a liquor licence is granted. As one would expect, the premises are subject to noise-limiting conditions, particularly if they are open after midnight. I understand that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has announced that the Government do not intend to require live television sport in pubs to be licensed under the proposed new alcohol and entertainment Bill. Perhaps the Minister would confirm that. Yet the Government propose that, in future, even one amplified guitarist in a bar will be illegal, unless such entertainment has been declared when applying for a premises licence and subsequently approved by the local authority.

I recognise that the Minister publicly acknowledged in his Department's press release of 12 April that simply abolishing the two-in-a-bar rule was not enough. Indeed, the licensing White Paper "Time for Reform" carried a risk assessment that musicians could lose work as a result. So how exactly do the Government expect that live music will benefit if the starting point for all becomes none in a bar? Sweeping away red tape and making licensing simpler and cheaper will undoubtedly benefit the licensed trade. The Government are to be congratulated on the scope of their proposed licensing reforms, but surely a thriving musical life at all levels in society is somewhat more important than the potential for 24-hour drinking.

Setting licence fees centrally may help, but only if the levels are low. The Government have an obligation to explain more clearly how their reforms will not just stop but reverse the decline of grass roots entertainment. Pop icons such as Elton John and Dave Stewart have recently complained about the lack of talent and depth in the contemporary pop scene. Composer and performer Big George Webley, who wrote the music for "Have I Got News For You" and won Sony Music broadcaster of the year last month, said:

"Over the past two decades this once great musical nation has lost its breeding ground for talent. Pre-packaged lightweight muzak fodder has replaced grass roots entertainment. If the Beatles, Queen or Dire Straits were starting their careers today, they would never get on stage, let alone make a record or get on the radio."


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jun 02 - 02:12 PM

http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: BanjoRay
Date: 13 Jun 02 - 06:08 PM

That speech from Siobhain McDonagh sums it all up beautifully -I hope someone was listening.

Cheers
Ray


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Jun 02 - 08:14 PM

And Shepherd-Neame makes good beer too.

They've got the law right in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. So of course in Westminster, they are getting ready to make it even worse in England and Wales.

They'll go on expense paid fact finding trips to the other side of the world, but they turn their back on their neighbours instead of learning from them how it should be done.


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: Trevor
Date: 14 Jun 02 - 05:33 AM

Thought you may be interested in the attached e-mail correspondence (I don't think it's been posted elsewhere has it?):

Dear Mr Tiffney,

I was interested to read a couple of remarks attributed to you, reportedly made during a recent meetiing on the reform of entertainment licensing. The gist of the comments were that

there is no tradition of folk music in pubs in England and Wales.

and that

the low take-up of PELs in England and Wales was simply a reflection of low public demand for live music.

I would be interested to know the context in which these comments were made, and the sources of research on which they were based.

Yours sincerely,

Trevor Hedges

REPLY: Please see attached response to various correspondents on this issue. JohnT

Dear Mr Gall

I refer to your recent letter which was prompted by an email circulated by Hamish Birchall. I take strong exception to being quoted out of context during the course of a 60 minute informal meeting between Louise Venn of the Arts Council (who was accompanied by Hamish) and myself to discuss the responses of our two organisations to the proposed reform of the liquor and entertainment licensing regime.

I spent 42 years as a local authority officer, 20 years as a chief officer responsible for environmental health and the last 7 years with responsibility for cultural services when I introduced an annual Arts Festival, a £3.5m refurbishment of a major entertainment complex as well as being a non executive director of a regional theatre. Incidentally, I was a classmate (in the 1950s) of Martin Carthy, one of our leading folk musicians. I have never claimed to be an expert on PE licensing and am not employed by the LGA as such – I only quoted my home town for the past 27 years as not having a history of folk music in local pubs. I did however say I enjoyed visiting Ireland and USA, Australia and Europe where I have spent time in a variety of venues listening to music.

Last week's Morning Advertiser carried a front page article quoting from an interview with me about the licensing reforms "I'm all for sensible administration of licensing, not over-zealous enforcement nor with extortionate fees… we are looking at the tourism and regeneration opportunities".

What the LGA cannot condone is the use of any premises for public entertainment which puts the public and the entertainers at risk to their health and safety – this is the rationale of PE licensing. Clearly there are some antiquated laws that need to be repealed.

I trust this clarifies my approach (and that of the LGA) which is entirely positive towards the proposed reforms.

Yours sincerely

John Tiffney

Well I'm glad that's all nice and clear then!


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Jun 02 - 05:45 AM

Go to school with Martin Carthy and you to can be an expert on folk music........*Smiles*

I have responded to Mr Tiffney, asking him where he lives, as I am sure we can find some folk events in pubs that he may be unawre of. I will post that reply, if it arrives.

I did also offer some (Mudcat)experts on the subject to advise the LGA and the Government, as Mr Tiffney does not appear to be an expert on any aspect of this issue. One must wonder why he is there and others (such as EFDSS) are not


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Jun 02 - 06:25 AM

140 MP's names now...... Is your MP's name there?

http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=1182


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: sian, west wales
Date: 14 Jun 02 - 06:32 AM

I have just done a 'count' on Welsh MPs. 11 of the 40 have signed, from what I can see.

Just for info, too ... I was in a meeting with the CEO of the Arts Council of Wales last night and it is advising the National Assembly and Westminster that these proposals would have detrimental societal and economic effects. Be interesting to see if anyone listens ...

sian


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Jun 02 - 06:36 AM

Maybe we could get Martin Carthy to send a letter to his former classmate.


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 15 Jun 02 - 06:59 PM

Following is the the reply to the following letter.

Dear Dr Howells

Any music or dancing, including congregational singing of hymns (in churches and elsewhere) is public entertainment as currently defined by the 1982 Act. Will this still be considered so under the proposed reforms?

This music making is currently and specifically exempt from the PEL requirement, due entirely to the nature and context of the music, (music as part of a religious service), not because it is safe. Most of the premises (like old churches), where this takes place would not come up to scratch for any PEL safety inspection. Is this exemption also to be scrapped along with the 'two in bar' rule?

The fact that many of the tunes used for the congregational singing of hymns, were originally traditional folk songs, exposes the cruel irony of the current situation and of the one that will still exist after the Government's proposed licensing reforms.

Could you please confirm that the following four points are correct?

1. Any amount of people singing or playing such a tune (even amplified), in the unsafe and unlicensed conditions referred to above will exempt the premises from the current and future licensing requirement.

2. Currently, more than two people singing or playing the same traditional tune, non amplified, on safe and inspected licensed premises, simply for the pleasure of it (or for profit), will not.

3. Any number of people singing or playing this same tune, anywhere else, for the pleasure of it or for profit, amplified or not, currently and under the proposed reforms, will need the premises to hold and pay for an additional licence.

4. After the reform even one person singing or playing this same traditional tune, for profit or for pleasure, amplified or not, will not be permitted on safe and inspected licensed premises. Unless the licensee has paid for an 'entertainment' element and specified in advance that this particular activity is to take place.

As one who feels that the right to publicly sing/dance and play the traditional songs and tunes of my country for pleasure, to be no less important that being able to sing them publicly as part of my religion, I hope you will recognise that this right must not be conditional on a third party paying any fee to enable it.

The way to ensure this is to finally recognise that all music making on licensed premises cannot justify the need for any additional licence, fee or paperwork, the public's interest having already been ensured.

Other public premises should be made safe for whatever activity takes place, and no music should be prevented by local authorities calling all music entertainment in order to charge a fee, or risking any music making by classing it all as a noise hazard. One size does not fit all.

07/06/02

Dear Mr Gall

Thank you for your letter of 3 May to Dr Howells about the proposed licensing reforms. Am replying on his behalf.

It may be helpful if I explain the current law affecting churches. In London, where Schedule 12 to the London Government Act 1963 is the applicable legislation, there is no exemption for churches, which require a public entertainment licence if they are to used for public dancing or music, and any other public entertainment of a like kind. Outside London, where Schedule 1 to the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provision) Act 1982 applies, there is a limited exemption from the need for a public entertainment licence in the case of music in a place of public religious worship. Therefore, for example, a concert in a provincial church would not require a public entertainment licence whereas a discotheque, which involved dancing, would need this permission.

It is currently the Government's intention to make all places of public religious worship exempt from the requirement for permission to stage a public entertainment in so far as it is possible.

Rather than answer your individual questions, I feel it would be more helpful for me to explain how the new licensing regime would work. Under the new system, the concept of a public entertainment licence would completely disappear.

Permission to sell alcohol, provide public entertainment, stage a play, show a film or provide late night refreshment (between 11.00pm and 5.00am) would be integrated into a single licence – the "premises licence". This integrates six existing licensing regimes into one, cutting at a stroke significant amounts of red tape.

Accordingly, under our proposals, any public house would need to obtain permission to sell alcohol for consumption on those premises and would be free to apply simultaneous for permission to put on music or dancing or similar entertainment whenever desired. The fee for such a premises licence will be no different whether the pub simply seeks permission to sell alcohol or if it decides to go for multiple permissions. There would therefore be no deterrent to seeking multiple permissions. The position now is that many pubs are wary of obtaining a separate public entertainment licence because the costs can be prohibitive in some local authority areas. Subject to our continuing discussions with stakeholders, any variation in fee levels would more likely relate to the capacity of the venue so that smaller venues pay less than large ones. The fees will also be set centrally by the Secretary of State order to eradicate the wide and sometimes unjustified inconsistencies that presently exist.

The premises licence will also set the hours that the premises may open for its activities, and set fair, necessary and proportionate conditions under which these activities may take place in order to achieve three important purposes: the prevention of crime and disorder; the assurance of public safety and the prevention of undue public nuisance. Another important feature is that local residents will have the right to object to the grant of a licence or certain parts of the operator's proposals and to have their views considered. This means, for example, that the conditions affecting noise being emitted from the premises might be more restrictive after, say midnight, than before.

Public entertainment, which would be covered by the premises licence, would be defined as music or dancing, or entertainment of a like kind, which is presented publicly for commercial purposes or for gain. Public singing which is not undertaken for profit or gain will not be affected.

We do not accept that it is the case that certain types of music, for example acoustic folk music, are never "noisy" or that they should be excluded from the new licensing regime. If public music is to be performed at premises, then the licensing authority will have the power to impose necessary and proportionate conditions in order to protect residents and customers. The conditions will not be standardised. The licensing authority will be required to tailor them to the style of venue. Major venues staging rock bands would be likely to be the subject of more restrictive conditions than a small pub or club which puts on unamplified live music.

Although the "two in a bar" exemption will be abolished for the perfectly sound reason hat one musician with modern amplification or simply microphones can make as much noise as three without, Dr Howells is confident that the proposed reforms will provide a licensing framework within which musical performance can thrive and develop, while providing adequate protection for local people in the community.

A Bill which will be presented as soon as Parliamentary time permits. It will then be for Parliament to consider the merits of our approach.

Ronnie Bridgett

The answers to my questions were:

Yes religious music, as part of worship will still be public entertainment.

No the current exemption for it, to the licensing will not be scrapped.

Given the Government's concern for safety, they do appear to be going further in strangely exempting from the licensing requirement, any commercial performance of public entertainment, specifically taking place in churches.
"In so far as it is possible", which means it is probably not possible.

1 Yes

2 Yes
3 Yes "Public entertainment, which would be covered by the premises licence, would be defined as music or dancing, or entertainment of a like kind, which is presented publicly for commercial purposes or for gain. Public singing which is not undertaken for profit or gain will not be affected."
This sounds reassuring but as in other correspondence Mr Bridgett further defined 'public singing' as needing to be spontaneous and the 'gain' element can just be indirect benefit to the licensee, like increased takings, all music making in pubs will be prevented without the 'entertainment ' element of the premises licence. See below.

From: ronnie.bridgett@Culture.gsi.gov.uk

Dear Mr Bridge -

You ask me to explain how the two responses can be reconciled. In response to the question - will criminal offences be committed by customers who spontaneously break into song, our advice is that we do not anticipate that spontaneous singing which does not constitute a "performance" under the terms of the Bill or is not undertaken or organised for "reward" as defined in the Bill, will be within the range of the licensing regime. Whereas a musical "performance" as defined in the Bill by a single musician undertaken for "reward" (either his own or the organiser's) will be subject to the licensing regime. It is for Parliamentary Counsel to decide how in terms of draft clauses to give effect to that policy.

4 Yes


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 04:26 PM

I have sent the following to my MP. As we have come late to recognise the true horror of the proposed reforms, wrongly placing our trust in the Government's words, there is a danger of forgetting the venues and activities that they are just watching, while local authorities are hassassing and closing down.

Dear Mr Knight

http://greentrad.org.uk

A click on the above link will enable you to read this council's position in their own words, in the letter to the pub. A position that is held in complete opposition to the one stated by Dr Howells, as the Government's.

Where the "two in a bar" rule should not be used to prevent ordinary people making music in pubs (or indeed tapping their feet).

Can you please urgently advise what Dr Howells is going to do under the current legislation to protect valuable cultural activities from this stupidity, which is making this nation a laughing stock?

His department have done nothing, despite this problem being brought to his attention by yourself in early 2001, over the actions of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council and detailed in the Commons debate on 27 February 2002.

140 MP's have now signed EDM 1182.

How many more traditional activities are this Government's Culture Department just going to sit back an allow the nation to lose? Urgent action is now required, can you please contact Dr Howells again and advise what form this action will take, to ensure that local authorities will now follow the Minister's wishes and free the public from this unjustified oppression?

Roger

Mr Caborn, in the 27 February 2002 Commons debate stated.
The hon. Gentleman asks whether we can give guidance to local authorities. I do not think that we can, but I take on board the point that he makes, and I shall speak to officials tomorrow to find out whether we can produce some guidance. If that can be done, I will ensure that it is. I shall also consider the issue that he raised about the website.


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 02:44 PM

http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=1182

155 MP's names now on EDM 1182.


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 06:43 AM

This one is the DCMS doing a PR job for the LGA. Note that there is no mention of a tradition of folk music in our pubs. There were no direct quotes given at all but there were two points of clarification. The second one (the low PEL take up figure) is not addresssed by Mr Tiffney or Mr Bridgett

Ronnie Bridgett
DCMS 13 June 2002
Public Entertainment Licences: The Local Government Association

Thank you for your letter of 14 May 2002 to Brian Briscoe about the current public entertainment licensing laws

.

In my letter of 7 June – a response to your letter of 3 May – I explained how the Government proposes to radically change the licensing system for England and Wales. Hopefully, you will have been encouraged by the proposals which we are sure will lead to greater opportunities for musicians.

In your letter of 14 may you referred to an alleged quote by John Tiffney of the Local Government Association. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is not familiar with this quote. The LGA has advised the Government that it believes that it is possible for local authorities to protect residents and participants from nuisance and the hazards of unsafe premises through the licensing function, without compromising the ability of the authority to promote a broad range of live cultural events. It has confirmed that it would wish to explore with this Department and industry stakeholders how reform of the alcohol and licensing functions can be used to strike a balance between protecting local communities and promoting live entertainment. The LGA has also stated that local authorities, as authors of local cultural strategies, are key to the cultural life of a community and would not wish for the licensing regime to be prohibitive.

I hope you find the above information to be helpful.

Yours sincerely

Ronnie Bridgett
Alcohol and Entertainment Licensing Branch, Tourism Division


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 11:56 AM

I have not yet replied to Mr Bridgett's letter (above) but I have copied my reply to Mr Tiffney (and the LGA) below.

05/06/02
CC Brian Briscoe
Jim Knight MP
Louise Venn

Dear Mr Tiffney

Thank you for your letter 29 May 2002

.

I have been providing advice on folk activities to Hamish Birchall for some time. In fact he quite naturally contacted me, as the observations at the meeting were contradictory to the advice I had been providing to him on this subject. You were not in fact directly quoted at all. My letter was an inquiry as to exactly what observations were made, because the issue is of paramount concern to the folk community. I also wanted to give you the opportunity for clarification.

Your quote from the Morning Advertiser makes reference to "we". Unfortunately many interested and knowledgeable people, who could advise the Government on the exact history and current position of folk music in England and Wales, and the threats presented to them, are not part of these discussions.

Many people like myself, who have first-hand experience of the "over-zealous enforcement" or of the extortionate fees", are also not part of these discussions. Perhaps you might consider directly involving some expert input on the question of traditional folk activities and the risk being presented to them before it is too late? I await your call.

If you would let me know where your home town, is I am sure that a few examples of a history of folk music in pubs can be provided for your area. The distribution of folk music in pubs may not be evenly spread but I am sure that information could be supplied that would lead you to re examine the impression you seem to have formed. I am sure the LGA would not want to be responsible for conveying an incorrect picture to the Government.

I am pleased to read of your visits and enjoyment of the culture of other lands but I am sure you can understand that this, only adds to the concerns of those involved in these activities near to home. In fact many people from these countries visit specifically to participate in traditional folk music in pubs. They are generally appalled to find the official attitude taken towards these events. That they are considered as licensable and as a result are being lost at an alarming rate.
A typical folk session is no greater risk to public safety than other activities for which the premises is already licensed. Indeed, it is likely to be far less crowded or noisy than during a live football match screened on satellite TV - this activity does not require a PEL now and, unless the Government does a u turn, it will not be licensed under the proposed new Alcohol and Entertainment Bill.

When we are talking in terms of a tradition, your reference to "antiquated laws" is interesting. Is 1964 and 1982 entertainment legislation considered then to be antiquated?

As an ex classmate of Martin Carthy, perhaps you could pass on to Government the concerns about the proposals expressed by his daughter? Eliza Carthy, who is carrying on her father's folk tradition (in pubs), has kindly given her full permission for this quote to be passed on.
24/05/02 They can't possibly believe that this new law is going to help anybody at all. How can a landlord who has never heard of folk music imagine as he opens his new pub that there might be a folk club there in the area in need of a venue?

Does the LGA consider that unpaid pub customers participating by singing or playing folk music are automatically presenting heath and safety concerns to the public more than any other activity?

I note that you have not commented on the second issue - whether or not the low take-up of PELs in England and Wales is simply a consequence of the low demand for live music. I would be grateful if you could establish what the official LGA view is on that question and on the question of the history of folk music making in pubs?


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 01:42 PM

This link to a BBC site has some interesting observations on the subject of folk music in pubs, and some 'interesting' singing........http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/discover/archive_features/142.shtml


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 03:38 PM

"It is currently the Government's intention to make all places of public religious worship exempt from the requirement for permission to stage a public entertainment in so far as it is possible"

Does anyone know if there is a legal defiition of "a place of public religious worship"?


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 12:36 PM

163 MP's names now!

.

Is your MP's name there? ....Did you ask them to sign?


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Subject: RE: OFFICIAL 'No tradition' 2 (PELs)
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Jul 02 - 03:38 PM

175 MP's names now!


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