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PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.

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The Shambles 17 Jun 02 - 10:25 AM
pavane 17 Jun 02 - 10:42 AM
Grab 17 Jun 02 - 02:03 PM
GUEST 17 Jun 02 - 02:15 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Jun 02 - 07:01 PM
The Shambles 17 Jun 02 - 07:57 PM
pavane 18 Jun 02 - 03:18 AM
Skipjack K8 18 Jun 02 - 04:53 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 18 Jun 02 - 09:19 AM
GUEST,Gilliard 18 Jun 02 - 11:46 AM
The Shambles 18 Jun 02 - 03:29 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Jun 02 - 05:59 PM
Gareth 18 Jun 02 - 06:34 PM
Bullfrog Jones 18 Jun 02 - 06:59 PM
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Subject: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 10:25 AM

The following from the BBC Folk and acoustic website.

re: Dr Howells on Mike Harding show?

This from BBC Radio 2 Folk and Acoustic website.

Mel McClellan - HOST - 268th post - 17 Jun 2002 11:53

Yep, Dr H has indeed agreed to speak out on the MH Show, though 25th June is the date of the interview, and it'll be aired sometime after that - I'll publish the date here when it's set and probably put an item on the website's news page.

Any questions you would like our Mike to ask Dr Howells? Not much time to get them to him, if there is.

Mike Harding
E-mail Address(es):
mike.harding@bbc.co.uk
mike.harding@bbc.co.uk


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: pavane
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 10:42 AM

What would be the harm in exempting ALL acoustic music, song and dance from licencing restrictions? (except bagpipes, maybe). That would make the rules easier to interpret.

(The Health and Safety grounds for PELs have long been exposed as meaningless.)


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Grab
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 02:03 PM

A replacement blue clicky which works: mike.harding@bbc.co.uk.

Just sent:-

Dear Mr Harding,

As a regular listener to your programme, and a regular player at amateur folk clubs in my area, please could you ask Dr Howells the following questions when you interview him? Or combine them with any of the many questions you'll doubtless be getting from folk musicians about the Public Entertainment License! :-)

The proposed new licensing system (as explained in a letter to a friend by Ronnie Bridgett, a colleague of yours), of a flat fee for a license to sell alcohol and/or provide various forms of entertainment such as music, seems to make some sense. However, is there any reason why free entertainment, ie. entertainment for which there's no entry fee to the pub/venue, requires licensing at all? If this was made exempt, then amateurs performing on "open-stage nights" would not require any further approval, and nor would other free entertainment such as a string quartet playing in a restaurant for the benefit of diners, or a wide-screen TV set up for sports fans. And please confirm that pubs will be given a chance to change their existing licenses to cover whatever new permissions they need, without incurring an extra cost on top of the licensing fee which they've already paid?

Please can you also confirm that guidelines on the enforcement of the new licensing system will be provided both to council officers and to the general public, so that we all know what to expect? One of the bug-bears of the current system is the overly-harsh enforcement of the rules by council officers which is not consistent with how your Department says the rules should be implemented.

Best regards,

Graham Bartlett (Cambridge).


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 02:15 PM

Watch it Pavan Their are Pipers everyware


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 07:01 PM

Here is mine:

Dear Mike Harding ,

I hear (via the Mudcat Cafe - http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=48650) that on 25th June you are to have Kim Howells on your show, presumably to explain what it is he has against Somerset folk singers in pub. And, far more important I hope, to explain why he is proposing to abolish rather than relax the present exemption that means that it is legal for two people in a bar to sing or make music.

The central thing is to get a definition of what counts as a performance. Current case law goes back to the 18th century. At present it appears that a single individual singing a song or playing an instrument in any place open to the public counts as a "performer", regardless of whether they are being paid anything. The only exception to this - apart from church services and in certain circumstances fetes - has been the two-in-a-bar rule, which is now to be abolished.

I have even read a letter from someone in Dr Howells department which appears to means that under the proposed "reform" it will count as "a performance for reward" even if there is no payment - if for example a proprietor has allowed someone to sing or play, in the hope that this might result in more beer, or if a musician or singer is bought a drink by a fellow customer who liked what they heard - or even to shut them up.

More beer, or more coffee, since the PEL requirements do not just apply to pubs, but also to coffee bars etc. It would be impossible for anything comparable to the Skiffle Group phenomenon in Coffee Bars to happen these days, because coffee bars or their equivalent do hardly ever have licences that would permit anyone to make any kind of music.

I suggest that Dr Howells may say (if he gets past the stage of just making jokes about the Wurzles) that of course the law is not interpreted in an unreasonable way, and that in any case the reforms will take care of little local difficulties.

So how about this:
Within the last year within a few miles of where I live in Essex, two flourishing music sessions in pubs in different local authorities, in different counties, have been stopped, solely because of the PEL regulations. One involved bluegrass music, one involved English traditional music. In both cases nobody was being paid to perform, no amplification was involved, and the pubs were no more crowded than they might be on any night. It was just that the publican allowed musicians to meet together and play tunes and sing songs. But the pubs hadn't got a licence to cover music, and the music didn't fall within the two-in-a-bar limit. So the sessions in The Welsh Harp in Waltham Abbey and the Cock in Stansted Mountfitchet have been snuffed out.

And if the two in bar rule is just abolished it will mean the death of other sessions where friendly landlords and sensible local authorities don't bother about counting how many people are taking part in a session.

The bottom line is that I believe that I have a right to make music with friends, so long as we aren't causing a nuisance or danger, without there having to be a licence allowing me to do it. I think it is the duty of Kim Howells to ensure that the law is reformed so as to respect that right, which is as fundamental as the right to free speech, and I'd like to hear him say he agrees with that, and intends to ensure that the law in England and Wales no longer sets out to interfere with that right.

To ensure in fact that we in England and Wales fall in line with other places in the British Isles (for example) which have a more civilized approach to such matters, such as Ireland (both parts), Scotland and the Isle of Man.

Kevin McGrath


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 07:57 PM

As this minister is also responsible for promoting tourism, some questions/opinions from those outside the UK, to Mike Harding to ask him, would be very helpful too..........

I an sorry to keep asking, but letters and questions from those Mudcatters outside the UK have certainly helped to focus minds and bring welcome publicity, in the past.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: pavane
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 03:18 AM

Guest, that must be a record. Three spelling mistakes in seven words.

I like the idea of everyware, though. Maybe it is software that runs on any hardware? About time too.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 04:53 AM

Not to mention the appaling grammar, and the proper noun signifying there are one variety of potato, or aeroplane, everywhere. You dignify the house of Guest.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 09:19 AM

Hi folks,

In response to the suggestions posted above, I've just emailed the following to Mrs Harding's Kid.

>>Dear Mike,

I've been a regular listener to your show since you took over Jim Lloyd's chair, and always find it entertaining and stimulating. Sometimes I disagree with the balance you strike between different kinds of music and song. But then, you have masses of material to choose from, and a very diverse audience to please, so that's hardly surprising. Anyhow, there's plenty of stuff I do like - and often, stuff I didn't expect to like turns out to be enjoyable after all. So good for you Mike, keep it up!

My only real gripe - and it's probably down to the management, rather than to you personally - is this. You do play rather a lot of Celtic music. It's good stuff, and I enjoy it … but … Scotland and Ireland already have their own radio networks, where people like Archie Fisher do an excellent job in showcasing their own traditions. It would be nice if we had a radio programme that made as much effort to promote English traditional music. Until one comes along, I think you might consider giving just a little more time to English music, alongside all the excellent material you play from Scotland, Ireland, the USA, and other far-flung places. Especially now that English folk music is in danger of being legislated out of existence.

This is a desperately important matter, which I'd like you to discuss with Dr Kim Howells when you interview him next month. Like thousands of other singers, players and dancers, I've been enjoying informal music-making in (and outside) pubs for donkey's years. According to the letter of the law, most of these sessions have always been illegal. However, officials who once turned a blind eye are now coming down heavily on easy-going publicans. New legislation currently being drafted will make the situation worse. If it goes through, organised folk clubs, informal singarounds and music sessions, and even Morris dancing outside pubs, will be outlawed - unless landlords are willing to pay huge fees for the kind of entertainments license currently required for a large disco with a powerful sound system playing to thousands of people.

This is unjust, and unnecessary. Informal, unamplified music and song should not be subject to the same restrictions as heavily amplified commercial entertainment. A clamp-down like this would do serious damage to England's cultural life, as well as hitting its tourist industry. And yes, I do mean England! Because in canny Scotland, and in carefree Ireland, the law does not inhibit informal music making in and around pubs. Far from trying to suppress it, local authorities there give active encouragement to what they see as a valuable visitor attraction.

English traditional culture is already under-appreciated, and under-promoted. This new legislation will handicap it even further. The new law could be used to ban traditional institutions like the Padstow 'obby 'oss, the Saddleworth Rushcart, the Goathland Plough-Stotts, or the Headington Quarry Mummers - which any sane government would treasure as important national assets. Please, Mike, try to make Dr Howells see the point. And if he does, persuade him to do something sensible about it. You have a golden opportunity here. For all our sakes, make the most of it.

Yours, with all good wishes <<

Hope this does the trick.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: GUEST,Gilliard
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 11:46 AM

Wel Pavan if yoo thinc that's a rekord yore rong I kan doo lotts beter thon that.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 03:29 PM

The intention for the programme is a short spot of about 5 minutes, so perhaps we should not expect too much?

However, if they receive a lot of questions, comments and interest from the public (like the ones above), prior to the show, perhaps they may decide to cover the issue in a little more detail?


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 05:59 PM

I'd say Shambles is quite right there - in itself the slot in the programme isn't going to do anything, but it provides an opportunity for a wake-up call.

I think the chances are getting better that this thing isn't going to be sleep-walked (or maybe the right term is frog-marched) through without a bit of critical examination. I'm still not over optimistic about the ability of the politicians involved to act and think flexibly and imaginatively, in this matter or in any other matter.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Gareth
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 06:34 PM

Unfortunately, and this harks back to other threads, we're talking about empire building by the "Jobswoths".

No local council official is going to admit that his department or staff are a waste of space. Thus the "Local Government Association" is going to insist on Licensing Control" to justify thier own existance.

I fear that the LGA has more influence in Whithall than any number of MP's/Ministers.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 06:59 PM

Mike of Northumbria --- eloquently argued, elegantly stated and immaculately spelled. I hold you up as an example to all, sir!

BJ


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 07:25 PM

"No local council official is going to admit that his department or staff are a waste of space."

Maybe not - but there is no shortage of officials who, when the budgets are tight, can forcefully argue that some other departments or staff are a waste of space. The same principle applies to councillors, who also have to think about getting re-elected.

No need to be too gloomy. These organisations aren't monolithic. Like most organisations they are full of people who dislike and despise each other, and long for a chance to stab their enemies in the back, or cut them off at the knees.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 05:58 AM

The following appeared on the BBC adio 2 Folk and acoustic message board. http://www.bbc.co.uk/cgi-perl/h2/h2.cgi?state=view&board=radio2.folkandacoustic.

Do you think that the show may be receiving rather a lot of questions for Dr Howells?...... I do hope so, keep them coming.

Questions for Dr Howells Mel McClellan - HOST - 275th post - 19 Jun 2002 09:58

It's looking like July 17th for Dr Howells on the MHS, though that's still subject to change. Roger's right, everyone, there's time to gather some questions for relay to Dr H but rather than contact Mike direct would you post them up here, in this thread, please? We can collate them easily and it's good to continue the discussion on the board.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 06:07 AM

I can only re-iterate something I brung up in a previous thread about this. I am one of these terrible law breakers who force my music onto people in pub sessions in Sheffield. I am worried that the PEL issue of licencing and the costs of the licences will be given as a'discretionary' fee levied by the local authority through it's Environmental Health Departments ( also known as the Waffen SS). The reason for this is that it will cause wide varience and enforceablity. A cash strapped council could see it as a revenue raiser and therefore levy a huge fee. I believe we should lobby that if any fee or licencing is to be brought in that it should be set a national (and nominal) rate. The main thing is not to let the Stormtroopers of Zeal otherwise known as Environmental Health Official loose on the Folk Scene.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 07:50 AM

The proposed premises licence will be set and collected centrally, but the interpretation of what is or is not 'entertainment' will still be left in the hands of those whose action and motivation we have come to mistrust.

The Government talk of limiting any conditions set by local authorities to be proportionate etc. but have not specified any teeth to ensure this will happen. As they have been unable (or unwilling) to 'call the dogs off' under current legislation, I fear that the oppression of paritipatory folk activities will continue.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 12:19 PM

The above message seems to have gone and been replaced with this one.

Question time for Kim Howells MP Mel McClellan - HOST - 278th post - 19 Jun 2002 16:54

Hi All. I'm renaming this already active thread to catch your attention. If you've been keeping up with the 'Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show' topic, you'll know that Kim Howells will be interviewed on the show soon. Howells is the government minister behind the controversial PELs (Public Entertainment Licences) legislation which has been a source of much debate within the folk community and on this board, under various topic titles.

The main bulk of the info here is under the title 'Are PELs killing live music?' but there's an item on the Folk & Acoustic news page which gives a quick overview of the situation, together with a fetching pic of Dr Howells himself.

If you want to send a question which you'd like Mike to put to Mr Howells, email Mike at his normal BBC address (you can find it on the website in the Mike Harding Showpage) before Tuesday 25th Jun

Mike Harding E-mail Address(es): mike.harding@bbc.co.uk


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 02:04 PM

Is this man killing folk music?... News on the BBC Folk music website.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/folk/news/index.shtml


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 02:15 PM

The following is a little puzzling, I think they are referring to the recent court ruling, rather than the "two in a bar rule".

The rule has allegedly led to the closure by local councils of several long-standing folk clubs and sessions since it became law earlier this year.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 07:46 PM

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/entertainment/music/newsid_1694000/1694054.stm

The above link is refreshing Dr Howell's expressed view of folk music. One man may not be able to kill folk music, but this one is giving it a right good kicking.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 07:52 PM

Talking to yourself again, Shambles?

Maybe you should see a doctor


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Grab
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 07:47 AM

Frankly I disagree with Shambles - the man was obviously joking. And is there any reason he *should* like all types of music? no-one here at Mudcat will say a good word for rap music, but if he'd used that as an example instead then he'd be getting your wholehearted support and be getting a slating from the DJ crowd instead. But in spite of that, he's working to improve matters. Shambles' letter from Ronnie Bridgett says that although you will need a license to have musicians playing, that license will come for free along with a license to sell alcohol, which doesn't seem restrictive to me.

The original quote:-

Mr. David Heath (Somerton and Frome): Is it not ridiculous that, in the unlikely event of Michael Jackson and Madonna teaming up to do a gig down the local pub, they could do so, yet three people singing Somerset folk songs would not be able to do so? 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?

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.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 08:02 AM

Point well made, Graham


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: pavane
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 08:25 AM

What about licencing for premises which do NOT sell alcohol? Churches, village halls, private premises, schools, colleges and so on?

And has anyone compiled a list of performers (NOT just folk) who started their careers on the Pubs & clubs circuit?


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 09:06 AM

Yes of course he was joking. That was not the kicking I was referring to, it was the context in which and why he was making those comments that was and is far more important. Which was to avoid a tricky moment, as he is and was then the man responsible for protecting and promoting all forms of music.

As I my MP has brought to his attention in early 2001 the interpretation that local authorities were using to harrass participatory folk events, His answer was that the reform would deal with this. If that were the case, there is still no sign of it halfway through 2002.

Close examination of the proposals will show that nothing will change except that even a single performer will need the optional entertainment element of the new premises licence, set centrally at a much increased level and all music making that is not totally spontaneous and proved to be un-rewarded, will be prevented without it.

On the 27th February Commons debate it was stated that the DCMS would see if guidance could be provided to local authorities. No such guidance has been issued and this enforcement, against the expressed wishes of Dr Howells is still continuing.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 09:27 AM

Hamish Birchall has sent the following correction to the Radio 2 site.

I don't mean to sound overbearing, because I know how confusing the law in this area can be, but the R2 website news item trailing Kim Howells' interview on PELs is inaccurate and needs correcting. This section is the problem:

'...The so-called 'two in a bar' rule requires pubs and clubs to have a Public Entertainment Licence for performances involving more than two people. This includes musicians playing in informal pub sessions. The rule has allegedly led to the closure by local councils of several long-standing folk clubs and sessions since it became law earlier this year. Musicians Union representative Hamish Birchall will also be giving his views on the issue.'

Corrections/clarifications

1 The 'two in a bar rule' first became law in the Licensing Act 1961, not 'earlier this year'! Prior to 1961 there was no two performer exemption in primary legislation for liquor licensed premises from what was then called a 'music and dancing licence'. However, due to case law precedent (Brearley v Morley, 1899) landlords who simply allowed two, or possibly more, customers to make music for their own amusement during the course of an evening were not required to hold a music and dancing licence.

Until the early 1980s PELs were granted by magistrates and fees were set centrally at purely nominal levels. Over-zealous enforcement of the two in a bar rule did happen occasionally, but because the fees and conditions were reasonable there were relatively few problems.

The widespread closure of local gigs began in the early 1980s when PEL responsibility was handed to local authorities and legislation was amended to allow them to levy so-called 'cost recovery' PEL fees (a principle enthusiastically promoted, apparently, by Ken Livingstone when he led the GLC). In London and many other areas fees rose steeply. In 1982 the Rank Organisation, hit hard in many of its entertainment premises, sought to cap these fees by judicial review. They failed. PEL conditions, set at councils' discretion and only challengeable using a costly appeal to magistrates courts, became increasingly onerous. I have documents showing that as early as 1984 Musicians Union officers were complaining to local authorities about the loss of work for members. As fees rose, so local authority enforcement increased - triggered more often than not by tip-offs from landlords jealous that a competitor might be hosting live music without paying their 'bung' to the council.

In February this year the Appeal Court (London Borough of Southwark v Sean Toye, Administrative Court, 21 February 2002) tightened the interpretation of the two in a bar rule. It decided that Parliament intended the 'rule' to mean that only the same two performers could be allowed throughout the course of the evening in liquor licensed premises without PELs. This strict interpretation had been enforced by London borough councils for some time. The Court decision means that it now applies nationally. The Court also decided that the use of MIDI files during live performance in liquor licensed premises requires a PEL. The two in a bar rule stipulates that any combination of live performer with the 'reproduction of recorded sound' is outside the exemption and requires a PEL.

2 The two in a bar 'rule' applies to any premises licensed to sell liquor under the Licensing Act 1964. This includes restaurants, hotels etc. The Home Office estimated the total number of such premises in England and Wales is 111,000.

3 Clubs, if operated as private members clubs, are exempt from PELs and the two in a bar 'rule'. However, they can only admit members who have been registered at least 24 hours beforehand. The recent busts by local authorities (Belper) were achieved by the council and local police sending in undercover officers who succeed in gaining admission on the night. The practice of sending in undercover officers to put innocuous music-making under surveillance appears now to be widespread. I can provide some of the evidence if you need it.

4 I am an 'adviser' to the Musicians Union. Strictly speaking I should not be described as a 'representative' - I am not an elected official, although I am an MU member of long standing.

All the best
Hamish Birchall
Adviser to the Musicians Union on public entertainment licensing reform


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 10:08 AM

Killed by the PEL system for details of continuing local authority enforcement action.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 01:42 PM

dera Mr Howells,
Please can you stop picking on folk music people and making them get a license? there is not many of them and they never cause amy trouble, folk music is nice and and you should encurage traditional music.Thanks
Yours Sincerley
John Evans (John from Hull)


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 06:54 PM

http://www.culture.gov.uk/new_responsibilities/liclaw.html The White Paper.

http://www.freenetpages.co.uk/hp/trg/SCoFF/session.htm Session Harrassment.

http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=1182 House of Commons Early Day Motion 1182.

http://www.faxyourmp.com/ Fax Your MP.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 07:17 PM

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. You can judge for yourself whether Dr Howells or Mr Bridgett are trying to inprove things.

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 (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: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 07:01 PM

Background and questions for Mike Harding to ask Dr Howells.

Dr Howells will want to spin the proposed reforms as the answer to all our prayers. As this has been ready for some time and we do not yet have this legislation now, and will still not have it for some time to come, I feel the questions should concentrate on the current situation.

The folk activities in particular that have been affected during Dr Howells's stewardship of them, the ones that remain at risk and what Dr Howells intends to do now to protect them. I feel he must be made to face, comment on and must take action now to stop 'silly' local authority enforcement now, before it is too late, whatever the proposed reforms may eventually do.

On 16/07/01 I have supplied details to Dr Howells, via my MP, of the particular local authority enforcement of our unpaid participatory traditional tune session and their interpretation that we were more than two 'performers' in a public entertainment. This to be prevented without the premises obtaining a Public Entertainment Licence.

The officers were not aware, and when they were made aware in April 2001,of case law precedent in the licensee's favour, did not produce this to the members when receiving their retrospective endorsement for their actions. Brearley –v- Moreley was the case, where a licensee was found not guilty of providing unlicensed entertainment because customers were providing unpaid, their own music on a regular basis.

The officers (wrongly) stated to the members, in the report to the Social and Community Committee meeting 06/05/01.

"4.5 Historically the Courts have determined that a Licence is required not just where music is provided by paid performers to entertain the public but where members of the public themselves participate in music making. -
7.1 Having witnessed a folk music session involving at least four musicians at the premises Licensing Officers were satisfied that public entertainment was being provided in that the music was performed in a public area of the premises. The exemption for entertainment provided by two or fewer performers did not apply."


Dr Howells in a letter to The Rt Hon Michael Portillo MP dated 14/03/02 included the following, referring to the "two in a bar rule" he stated. "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 a public house."

The following question has still to be answered by Dr Howells, despite being asked via Jim Knight MP in a letter dated 16/07/01. "In the absence of any new legislation to deal with this, what measures under current legislation will the Minister now be taking, to ensure that local authority's officers will not view their responsibilities under licensing legislation to be more important than their responsibilities under cultural or other legislation?"

In his reply 14/08/01 he did include the following. "I appreciate Mr Gall's concern about the actions of his local council. However, it would not be appropriate for Ministers to comment on or intervene in individual cases as the methods used to enforce the relevant law is an operational matter for local councils and the police. It might be helpful if I explain the current law and the measures we propose in the licensing reform White Paper which affects entertainment on licensed premises."

It is clear that the White Paper proposals will not free these activities from the new licensing requirement. Even if this were to be the case, Dr Howells has been aware of the problems since early 2001 (if not before) and the proposed legislation is still not available, in late 2002, to deal with the local authority harassment of the valuable cultural activities.

The details of our session's enforcement were again presented, and details of the Belper folk club, to Mr Richard Caborn (for Dr Howells), in the Commons debate on the 27/02/02 (this was before the letter to Michael Portillo on 14/03/02).
Mr Caborn, on behalf of the Government, 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.


1. If no such guidance has been produced, why can this not be done?

2. Why are the DCMS just watching while these enforcement's continue to prevent ordinary people from making music together in pubs? Against Dr Howells statement that the rule should not prevent ordinary people making music together in pubs?

3. I think it would be safe to say that on this matter, local authorities have lost the trust of the public. As the Government are unable or unwilling to prevent the many examples of reckless actions of local authorities under current legislation, what constraints will be introduced to ensure that these will be proportionate under the proposed reforms, as the White Paper is rather short on the detail of how this is to be acheived?

4. What is the Government going to do now, to protect these folk activities, or do they agree with local authorities that these unpaid participatory activities are public entertainment, their participants are performers and that they should be prevented in all premises without PELs?

5. If guidance had been given to local authorities after the Commons debate on 27/02/02, would the letter from Greenwich Council, containing the following have been sent?

"Council officers visited your premises on Tuesday 23 April at 9.23pm and observed twelve musicians performing folk music. You are already aware that to have more than two performers at your premises on any day is a criminal offence. The definition of "performers" has never been tested in Court, but even if this was a jam session the Council's view is that these people were "performers". They were being watched by at least a dozen customers, who were tapping their feet to the music and thus being entertained by the performance."


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Jun 02 - 06:33 PM

Given the limited time available, the professional skills, even of Dr Howells, and many other factors, it is most unlikeley that this interview alone will change very much.

It is however an opportunity to show the Government, the feelings and wishes of the many people that do not find that listening to and participating in the music and tradition of the land, are their idea of hell.

I think that any opportunity to do this should be made the most of......... If only for the simple reason that the response will help demonstrate to our political leaders whether there is enough good PR or votes in it.

The MP's response to EDM 1182 indicates that our voice is beginning to be listened to, any chance to add to this should be made the most of.

There is not much time - The show's e mail address is given earlier in this thread.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 03:00 AM

Too late now!


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: sian, west wales
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 04:59 AM

So, when does it air?

sian


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 12:29 PM

Last suggessted date I saw was July 17th but I don't think that is final. They said the date would go up on the Radio 2 Folk and Acoustic website.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 12:10 PM

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/folk/news/index.shtml

Transmission date now confirmed.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 07:57 PM

"I believe that the quality of our arts and cultural industries, our creative talents are central to the task of recreating the sense of community.. I value too the folk group in the local pub in Trimdon Village." Tony Blair, Mansion House speech, 03 February 1997.

Does anyone know who the folk group in Trimdon village may be, how many of them and if the pub has a PEL?


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 08:44 PM

The folk group are Skerne, contact details available (via PM) if you want them.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Jul 02 - 08:24 PM

This from the BBC Radio 2 Folk and Acoustic website.

Kim Howells MP (left) will be appearing on the Mike Harding Show on Wednesday July 17th. Howells is the government minister behind the controversial PELs (Public Entertainment Licences) legislation which has been a source of much debate within the folk community.

The 'two in a bar' rule requires pubs and clubs to have a Public Entertainment Licence if performances involve more than two performers. Some local authorities claim that this includes musicians playing in informal pub sessions.

The rule has allegedly led to the closure by local councils of several long-standing folk clubs and sessions since it became law. Musicians' Union member and advisor Hamish Birchall will also be giving his views on the issue.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Mr Happy
Date: 11 Jul 02 - 03:48 AM

mr shambles,

many thanks & much gratitude for all your hard work & efforts re pels [repels?]

i posted a q a while ago about wether church music would be exempted-it is.

i was seeking precedents such as this which might be presented in dialogue with the powers that be.

a friend's daughter is going to cork [roi] soon with her high school's swing band.

this prompts me to ask, do school music activities,like choirs, bands and so on need a pel?

then there's other groups like amateur singers in choirs [non religious]for example the 'chester ladies male voice choir :-]'

and amateur dramatics societies who may perform the odd 'gilbert & sullivan' work. amateur operatics too


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Sir Roger de Beverley
Date: 11 Jul 02 - 04:10 AM

I was helping my local licensee to fill in a PEL application form that has been produced by our local Council and it says on there that - performances of an educational and charitable nature are exempt.

Since most folk clubs break even at best maybe we could claim on the charitable exemption, and we certainly could on the educational front.

R


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Jul 02 - 04:13 AM

There is a partial exemption to the licensing requirement for music as part of a religeous service (not dancing). Any other musical activity in a church, paid or otherwise would be considered as public entertainment and require a PEL. There is an oficial reply on the the subject, posted here somewhere.

The others depend on if the public have normal access to the premises where the activity is taking place. During normal school hours, the public do not have access. In the evening, a PEL would be required, if the public were freely admitted.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Jul 02 - 04:22 AM

Sir Roger

I think you will find that these performances are exempt from paying the fee, not the PEL requirement for the premises.

I hope you can prove me wrong.

Click here for the thread with the official reply, re churches


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 11 Jul 02 - 10:50 AM

Any chance of getting folk music officially recognised as a religion?

Seriously folks ... remember that campaign to get people to write "Jedi" in the "What Religion are you?" section of the last UK census? I remember reading that if they got 10,000 or above registered, then the government would be obliged to recognise them. Unfortunately, the next census isn't for another nine years...

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Grab
Date: 11 Jul 02 - 01:48 PM

Mike, what you read is an urban legend and is not true. The government has no obligation to recognise *any* religion it doesn't choose to.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: DMcG
Date: 12 Jul 02 - 12:31 PM

During normal school hours, the public do not have access. In the evening, a PEL would be required, if the public were freely admitted

So evening performances of the school musical will require a PEL if adults attend?

(By the way, I was amused by the quote from Tony Blair and a response that the details of the folk club he mentioned could be found via PM - accidental joke or deliberate?)


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Jul 02 - 01:56 PM

So evening performances of the school musical will require a PEL if adults attend?

Again it is not really clear. If a school puts on a concert and openly sells tickets to the general public, a PEL would be required. Parents being invited to watch their own children, probably would not.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jul 02 - 04:43 AM

On the BBC music news page, the photo of Dr Howells has the caption - Kim Howells: "A great champion of live music"

The words are his...............


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