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Killed by the PEL system

04 May 02 - 04:53 PM (#704389)
Subject: Killed by the PEL system
From: McGrath of Harlow

I think it would be useful to have a thread where details of sessions and clubs killed by the Public Entertainment Licence system in England could be posted.

By that I mean that it'd be better to save it for that purpose, and argue out the points of law and the appropriate ways of campaigning etc on another thread. A special thread might be a handy way of collating the information about specific examples.

(Maybe cases where attempts to start up sessions or clubs have run up against these requirements would fit in here as well as existing sessions and clubs forced to close.)

The immediate reason for this thread is that a long standing bluegrass session in The Cock in Stansted Mountfitchet, a few miles from where I live, has had to stop, because the local council has decided to arbitrarily apply the existing law.

The landlord was happy for the session to continue, and looked into the possibility of getting a PEL - but it turned out that this would have required various expensive alterations (though the numbers in the bar during sessions is never as high as it is on some other nights, so public safety cannot be an issue here).

Anyway, last Sunday was the last occasion for the session, which has been going on once a month for at least the last seven years and probably a good bit longer. Friends saying goodbye to each other, and a lot of bitterness felt towards the politicians who are responsible for this happening. A sort of "American Wake," as they used to call them in Ireland

Maybe a few letters to the British Tourist Authority about this might be in order. Here is a site with the address in various countries.


04 May 02 - 06:30 PM (#704437)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

This does appear in the other threads but will be of most use here.

Belper Folk Club has recently been 'raided' by the police.

We had Sensible Shoes booked who are a three people group. We have been running the club as a membership club, but we have been making people members at the door.

Two people came to the gig and I made them members, they bought tickets and stayed for about a quarter of an hour.

Paul, the landlord, had a call from the police a few days later, and he said that they wanted to meet with us, and him.

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

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

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

-- Marianne Elliott


04 May 02 - 06:33 PM (#704439)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

Message By: Mick Woods

Once again the "Two in a bar law" rears it'e ugly head. I help run a small folk club once a fortnight, in a pub in Greenwich, SE London. Last year the landlord received a letter from the council telling him that, they had visited his premises and witnessed three musicians playing. The letter warned him that he could face up to 6 months in jail and a £20.000 fine for allowing this sort of thing to take place in his bar.

We have since tried to ensure that there are only one or two musicians playing at any given time during our session. Last week the landlord received a letter from the council saying, that they had again visited his pub and witnessed several musicians playing. This time they stated a time - 8.50pm. As our session does not start until 9pm what they witnessed were various musicians "tuning up".

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


04 May 02 - 06:47 PM (#704447)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: McGrath of Harlow

Last year a session (primarily for English music) which had been running for a couple of years in the Welsh Harp in Waltham Abbey had to close because the pub didn't have a PEL, and the authorities had leaned on them. (It is suspected that this may have happened because another publican in the town made a complaint, fearing the session might result in the pub taking some of his custom.)


04 May 02 - 06:56 PM (#704452)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

We all like to go to pub sessions where local musicians and singers can share in the pleasure of making folk music. Unfortunately some environmental health departments have viewed this as requiring a Public Entertainment Licence (PEL). What this means in practice is that the landlord can get a phone call from the council saying that a licence is needed if the sessions are to continue and although this is not usually expensive, there's often a catch.

The local authority grants a license only once the premises satisfy certain conditions - usually a fire certificate which in turn requires changes to the building such as illuminated fire exit notices, separate power supplies, etc. These changes can escalate the cost of compliance from perhaps a hundred pounds to thousands. Breweries are understandably reluctant to part with this sort of money when there is no chance of increased attendance: it's the customers who are participating! Bottom line - sessions close.

In Oxford, before Christmas, one local session at the Old Ale House pub was the subject of a complaint and this prompted the environmental health department to require a PEL or the session would have to stop. We decided to investigate this and see whether or not we could reach a sensible agreement with the council. First we checked up on the law.

The 1982 Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act says that "public dancing or music or any other public entertainment of like kind" requires a licence with an exemption being made if the number of performers does not exceed two. So two people singing is not a problem but if a third joins in a licence is needed. This has achieved notoriety as the "two in a bar rule" and has caused problems for working musicians for years. Not only that, but councils are not at all consistent in the way they apply the rules. In some parts of the country, they have been using the rule as a way of raising revenue because they can set the charge for the licence as high as they like.

This is now all set to change with the preparation of a new licensing bill which will include an entertainment licence automatically as part of the premises licence. The "exemption" will disappear but that doesn't guarantee that music sessions will be safe. With the exemption removed, the conditions which normally apply to the issuing of licences will be determined by local councils - they could simply inherit the old conditions and we could find ourselves in a similar difficult position.

In April 2000, local authorities were issued with guidance from the Home Office about how to handle applications for PELs. They were told not to apply blanket conditions and especially, not to insist on additional conditions which duplicate regulations that already exist. That means that councils can no longer simply insist on a Fire Certificate because if the pub is already safe for customers, it is safe for a participatory music session as well. Unless they are able to show otherwise. The "two in a bar rule" applies to the number of performers, NOT the number present, and therefore cannot be invoked on the grounds of safety.

We put out a notice on the internet to see if the situation had arisen in other parts of the country. Emails flooded in listing sessions that had been closed down, folk clubs which had to close after years of successful activity, sessions which were pounced on as soon as they started. Lots of heat all round.

We decided to approach the local council and the environmental health officers to see what could be done. We circulated local councillors with a description of the problem explaining what damage it did to folk music and the opportunities for participation. We also phoned the environmental health department. The response was very positive. They said they were not trying to shut down the sessions or restrict access to folk music but that where a landlord had already obtained an entertainment licence, they would complain if others were not also expected to comply. The environmental health officer I spoke to was very reasonable and it was clear that they were in an awkward position. If they failed to act, someone would be on their backs.

We asked for an opportunity to make a representation to the Health and Environment Committee and started a petition of all those who were involved in the local sessions. Although given an assurance that our item was on the agenda for the meeting, somehow we were relegated to the end where members of the public are granted the opportunity to speak to the committee. Once the issue was explained, the following was agreed by the meeting:

· The committee did not want to be in conflict with musicians and singers over this issue · The committee wanted to support folk music in pub sessions not close them down. · The sessions could continue without any action being taken by the environmental health department · There would be no threats of prosecution · The officers would draw up recommendations to classify the sessions as participation events and that they would therefore not requires licences. They would bring these recommendations to the next meeting (March) · Before the new legislation comes in, the committee will listen to representations from local musicians and singers to make sure that there will be no problems over licensing issues.

We have been very encouraged by the response of the local council so far. We still have to get a suitable recommendation from the environmental health department but there is every indication that they are trying to be helpful rather than restrictive. If this turns out well, it could be used as a precedent for other sessions who run into difficulties with local authorities. Whilst not all local authorities will react in such a positive way, this does seem to be a reasonably effective approach to the problem.

We would like to thank all those people who provided us with information, advice, signatures on the petition, and general encouragement, and the local councillors for advice on how to approach the relevant committees.

If you need to get hold of further information about any of the above send me an email on BLloyd1@aol.com and I'll send you whatever links I have.

Bob Lloyd Oxford Feb 2001

Footnote:
Oxford City Council Health and Environment Committee decided, after the officers waved case law at them, to stick with the status quo over sessions - i.e. more than 2 people needs a licence. Never mind the fact that the case law dates from 1793 and conflicts with European law. Basically they went back on on what they said in February.

Bob Lloyd Oxford April 2001


04 May 02 - 07:00 PM (#704454)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

I heard on the radio coverage of the recent council elections, the opinion expressed that 'a stick in bucket' was about as much use as your local councillor........They may say that, I couldn't possibly comment.


05 May 02 - 01:31 PM (#704789)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: McGrath of Harlow

Refresh (now after the elections with new councillorsa especially it might be a good time to get on to them andntry to get them on side - but that's maybe a suggestion for a discussion thread and I think it'd be good to keep this as a thread for posting details of actual cases of PEL abuse.)


05 May 02 - 06:23 PM (#704936)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

UK catters can be of use today. For such discussions as 'sticks in buckets'.


05 May 02 - 06:59 PM (#704956)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

The following is an example of "ordinary people" making music (presenting no noise hazard), in pubs, being placed at risk by this being classed as public entertainment and the problems caused even when the licensee agrees to apply and pay for the PEL.

"It is not open to the authority to disapply the legal requirements to hold a PEL in respect of one particular type of entertainment. This Authority has a duty to apply legislation fairly and impartially".

The above was expressed in the report to the 05/06/01 Social /Community Committee meeting of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.

However, this is exactly what the panel of members have subsequently done, in imposing their non-standard condition to the Cove House Inn's second PEL at the hearing set up for this on 05/12/01. It could be argued that the panel making these distinctions is the proper thing to do. But for this to happen the activity needs first to be put at risk by being classed as a public entertainment and run the risk of the case not ever being presented to such a panel.
Should - the licensee just stop the activity and not apply for a PEL.
Or-
If an application is made and not objected to, for then the panel will not need to be set up.

This was an attempt at a common sense distinction reflecting a wider more balanced view that did not appear to be an option for the council's officers, whose condition, imposed by them alone to the first PEL was. - The Licensees are permitted to hold one outdoor charity event each year, which must cease no later than 6.00pm. This effectively prevented any other outside entertainment, not presenting any noise hazard (except for the once a year event).

After the expiry of the first PEL and when this was seen to have prevented Morris Dancing and non-musical entertainment, this was changed for the second PEL to outdoor musical events. This would still have prevented the regular Morris Dancing of course.

The members, to their credit, did not accept the officer's recommendation. The panel has attempted to make a common sense distinction between electrical amplified music and music which is not, and it remains to be seen how practicable this will prove to be.

The second non standard condition is as follows- "That no electronically amplified music shall be performed outside the premises with the exception of a single event for charity per year, and that at this event the music shall terminate at 11.00pm."

The panel was asked for the level and extent of any possible future noise hazard to be addressed by the appropriate noise legislation rather than impose a non-standard condition to the PEL. However, these old objections on the basis of noise from residents living some distance away, were still accepted as valid without this measure and the above non standard condition was applied to the second PEL.

The above reaffirms the risks presented to customer's musical activities (that have never received any public complaints, noise or otherwise), by the activity being described as public entertainment, its participants as performers and being caught up in a process under legislation never designed for such a purpose.

The officers do not appear to care if they prevent music that is clearly not public entertainment or noise.

From the report for the original hearing scheduled for 09/05/01. Backgound, "As a result of the Licensing Manager witnessing an unlicensed performance of public entertainment at the premises, the licensee's were invited to apply for a Public Entertainment Licence."

For the noise concerns, were old ones that had been dealt with and unrelated to the above reasons for the application being made, but were responsible for the hearings being required and resulting delays and expense. These noise objections were only resurfacing because the customers had been described as performers in a public entertainment and the procedure then required that the public were asked to write and formally comment on the PEL application.

If the council's officers had been instructed not to consider members of the public making music for their own enjoyment as performers in a public entertainment, the risk to the activity, uncertainty, expense to the taxpayers and bad publicity for the borough could have been avoided.


08 May 02 - 08:56 AM (#706627)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: Snuffy

This has just been posted today on the Tradtunes list:

Two weeks ago at the regular Tuesday session at the Cricketers PH in Greenwich, London, we welcomed Rod Stradling as guest of honour to receive a cheque from the Greenwich Traditional Musicians Cooperative (!) towards his work on producing field recordings on CDs.

Unknown to everyone there were unwelcome guests in the pub in the form of London Borough of Greenwich Licensing Officers. The Council subsequently wrote to the the landlord advising him that there were more than two "performers" and since some customers were "tapping their feet to the music" he was providing an unlicensed "entertainment".

So, after 10 years it looks as if this very popular, well attended and useful session will be temporarily suspended and perhaps even come to a permanent end as a result of a petty enforcement of the current PEL regs.

Of course there are other issues involved but we hope to protest against this ruling to the usual suspects (Local Councillors, Council CEO, MP, MU etc.) since the Council admit they have no tested definition of "performer" and we reject the the foot tapping ruling as facile and dangerous.

Is there any other current experience of the PEL problem which might help us?

Doug Adams

WassaiL! V


08 May 02 - 01:39 PM (#706793)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

Refresh


09 May 02 - 09:40 AM (#707351)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: Dave Bryant

It's sad news about the Cricketers session - it was a good one - my sympathy to Douggie et al.

Are other forms of music (ie Pop & Jazz etc) having as much trouble as the Folk Scene or are we being picked on because because we're considered a minority interest ?


09 May 02 - 10:48 AM (#707387)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: McGrath of Harlow

I don't think there's any evidence that it's folk music as such that's under threat. And we shouldn't be suggesting there should be any special exemptions for us - pub piano singalongs or jazz night are in the same boat as we are. It'd be helpful to have information about any other type of informal or semi-formal live music, in pubs or elsewhere, being shut down posted here as well.

(I suggest the discussion about the ins and outs is best done in another thread, such as UK catters be useful TODAY - that way this thread here serves as a handy collection of actual cases, which is what politicians and such always say they like to have when they are lobbied over an issue of principle.)


09 May 02 - 12:07 PM (#707430)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

It's not only folk and jazz gigs that get it in the neck from local authorities.

On Wednesday 1st August 2001, a performance by the Con Tempo string quartet, due to take place at Waterstones bookshop in Hampstead, was prevented at the last minute by Camden council - because the venue did not hold a public entertainment licence (PEL). Technically even one musician's public performance is illegal in any premises (other than pubs and on-licensed venues where up to two performers are allowed without a PEL).

Camden's press office confirmed yesterday that its licensing department intercepted a promotional flyer from Waterstones on 26 July. Waterstones' Hampstead manager, Francis Cleverdon, had only days to warn pre-booked ticket holders by phone that the live music might not take place. Even the quartet itself was unsure whether or not the performance would be allowed. They turned up on the night in full concert dress, instruments in hand. Tickets for the event had sold out a week before. But as 100 guests, including VIPs, took their places, the cancellation was confirmed. A CD recording of the Amadeus quartet was played instead.

The live music was to follow a reading from 'Married to the Amadeus: Life with a string quartet' by Muriel Nissel, wife of Professor Siegmund Nissel, one of the founder members of the legendary Amadeus quartet. Professor Nissel himself also gave a talk. The members of the Con Tempo quartet, originally from Bucharest, are currently in their third year as Foundation Chamber Music Fellows at the Royal Academy of Music. Already reckoned as among the best string quartets in the world, Con Tempo has won numerous international prizes, performed for Prince Charles and the Pope, and will record a CD and various radio broadcasts later this year.

Camden's interference does not sit well with recent public statements about its PEL enforcement policy. A letter published on 15 June by the Hampstead and Highgate Express, sought to 'correct any misleading impressions by recent press coverage' about Camden's interpretation of the 'two-in-a-bar rule' in pubs and restaurants. It also made broader claims.

'I can assure your readers that the Council wishes to encourage aspiring young musicians rather than limit their opportunities,' wrote Robert Scourfield, Assistant Director of Environment and Consumer Protection. 'Camden clearly has a responsibility to enforce the existing law and aims to do so in a sensible and properly targeted manner. Our officers have many responsibilities and do not spend their time looking for unlicensed entertainment... The idea that the Council is over-zealous in its enforcement is based on the experience of two or three promoters in a handful of the many pubs and clubs in Camden which organise entertainment without any problems.'
ENDS
HAMISH BIRCHALL 21 Aug 2001


10 May 02 - 05:59 PM (#708480)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

A bit more info and an update on the Cricketer's situation can be found here http://greentrad.org.uk/


15 May 02 - 05:15 PM (#711093)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: McGrath of Harlow

Refresh


15 Jun 02 - 05:03 AM (#730414)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

A click on the above link will enable you to read the 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 rule should not be used to prevent ordinary people making music in pubs (or indeed tapping their feet).


15 Jun 02 - 07:25 AM (#730439)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

This is the letter.

From jane.blade@greenwich.gov.uk 12 April 2002

I write further to my letter dated 31 July 2000.

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.

I am sure you appreciate that a great majority of publicans pay licence fees and comply with licence conditions so they may provide this sort of entertainment to their customers. It is a constant source of dismay to these law abiding licensees to find certain other establishments in the borough providing public entertainment freely. The Council is always expedient in dealing with such matters and those licensees who repeatedly break the law are prosecuted.

I have enclosed an application pack for a Restricted Use Licence for your use. In my previous warnings you state the lease on the pub was shortly due to expire which is why you could not apply for a licence. Presumably this issue is now resolved so there is no further bar to you making an application. This licence will allow you to hold two events a week at your premises until 11.00pm and cost £320 for a year.

As you have been previously warned, the next step is for the Council to apply to the Magistrates Court to issue a summons against you. I sincerely hope this action will not be necessary. Your premises will be visited again and if further offences are found, legal proceedings may be instigated you without further notice.

Jane Blade Licensing Officer.


19 Jun 02 - 03:29 PM (#733110)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

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

Is BBC Radio 2 Folk and Acoustic news that Dr Howells is to appear on The Mike Harding show on 25th June (to be transmitted later). And their request for us to send in questions for Mike to ask Dr Howells.

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

I place notice of it in this thread (to refresh it, and), as I am concerned over their use of the word alledgedly.

I think the first hand accounts in this thread (to which I will be sending them a link to), may cause them to be a little less cautious.

The use of that word, is adding insult to injury, to the many people directly affected in this thread, which is not of course the full picture........Many are still trying to keep their heads down.


19 Jun 02 - 04:29 PM (#733153)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: McGrath of Harlow

Just sent my MP this fax:

Dear Mr Bill Rammell,

Recently I sent you a letter in connection with the matter of Public Entertainment Licences, and my concerns that the 'reforms' in the pipelines are only too likely to make an unsatisfactory situation even worse, unless there are significant changes in what is proposed.

You sent me an acknowledgement and I know that you will be replying in good time - this is not a hurry up letter. However I feel it is appropriate to apprise you of an incident in a local authority not so far away.

In a pub called The Cricketers in Greenwich a number of folk musicians gathered on St Georges Day (April 23rd) to make music together, with the consent of the landlord. Officers from the local council came along to observe, and later sent this threatening letter to the landlord, (Vince Marshall, The Cricketers PH, 22 King William Walk, London SeE10 9HU):

'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.

I am sure you appreciate that a great majority of publicans pay licence fees and comply with licence conditions so they may provide this sort of entertainment to their customers. It is a constant source of dismay to these law abiding licensees to find certain other establishments in the borough providing public entertainment freely. The Council is always expedient in dealing with such matters and those licensees who repeatedly break the law are prosecuted.

I have enclosed an application pack for a Restricted Use Licence for your use. In my previous warnings you state the lease on the pub was shortly due to expire which is why you could not apply for a licence. Presumably this issue is now resolved so there is no further bar to you making an application. This licence will allow you to hold two events a week at your premises until 11.00pm and cost £320 for a year.

As you have been previously warned, the next step is for the Council to apply to the Magistrates Court to issue a summons against you. I sincerely hope this action will not be necessary. Your premises will be visited again and if further offences are found, legal proceedings may be instigated against you without further notice.

Jane Blade Licensing Officer.'

For more details I suggest you visit this website: http://greentrad.org.uk/

I am not suggesting that you should do anything about this particular case. It is not in your constituency, and nor is it in a neighbouring constituency, as were the two sessions I mentioned (in Waltham Abbey and in Stansted Mounfitchet) which have been closed because of similar problems.

The reason I draw it to your attention is because it provides further evidence of the way in which the PEL requirements are currently used in an oppressive and restrictive way which interferes with a very fundamental human right, our right to make music when we meet together to socialise, which is an aspect of free speech.

Just read that letter again: '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.'

And the proposed reforms do nothing to make things better. Under the new regime, if a single person were to be playing a tune in a pub and that pub had not ensured that its licence included provision for musical entertainment, the landlord would be in trouble. If someone taps their feet while listening, that makes it entertainment, and defines what is happening as a performance, requiring a licence. (Which is already the situation in respect of coffee bars, for example - ever wonder why you never hear any live music in coffee bars these days?)

I'm sure there is no real intent on the part of the government to strangle informal live music. But that appears to be what is likely to be achieved.

The proposed reforms urgently need to be radically reshaped.All that is needed is to bring us into line with our neighbours in Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man. It's not exactly difficult - but it does require a little flexibility and imagination. I'm sure you've got those qualities in abundance, but I am afraid I am not so sure about some of your colleagues who have been responsible for drawing up the proposed outline reforms.

Yours sincerely,


19 Jun 02 - 06:54 PM (#733243)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: BanjoRay

That's a good one - nice and clear. Good luck with it.

Cheers
Ray


19 Jun 02 - 07:52 PM (#733289)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: McGrath of Harlow

I trust that people noticed that bit in the threatening letter: "I am sure you appreciate that a great majority of publicans pay licence fees and comply with licence conditions so they may provide this sort of entertainment to their customers."

The truth of course is that, as a Licensing Officer cannot help but know (which means she was in effect lying in what she wrote there), only a tiny minority of pubs have licences that permit music involving more than two performers. And after the "reform" no pub without a licence for music will be able to allow even one "performer". (The situation which already applies to coffee bars etc.)


20 Jun 02 - 02:13 AM (#733434)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

I like the bit where they admit their difinition of performer is not tested in court, but go ahead anyway. A bit like a boxer leading with his chin. They are pretty sure this lincensee is not going to risk going to court.

The following links are to threads about the Cannon at Newport Pagnall and The Bull at Stony Stratford.

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=47918


20 Jun 02 - 09:57 AM (#733616)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

Andrew Bishop, owner of Carlsboro electronics, the last British manufacturer of amplification equipment, has sent this tremendous open letter to his MP, Geoff Hoon:

Carlsbro 1960 - 2002

Thank you for taking the time to come to see me at the factory to discuss the business we are conducting in the Arab Countries and the latest situation regarding a recent Early Day Motion (EDM 1182).

As the owner of the last remaining British manufacturer of amplification equipment for musicians and singers, I write in the strongest possible terms to urge the government to change the law and allow more live music in England and Wales. Please remove the burden of the Public Entertainment License (PEL) and treat all forms of entertainment fairly. Here are my views in point form for clarity.

1. Live music venues are swapping stages for dining tables and installing video walls and recorded music systems in preference to live music as they do not have to apply, comply with or pay for a PEL.

2. As a nation we spend millions of pounds each year encouraging youngsters to play musical instruments and then prevent them expressing their skills by limiting the number of live venues in which they can develop their craft. Why give hope and take it away, the best method of encouraging children to learn is to give them an incentive.

3. In Britain we spend 20 million each year funding youth projects for live music bands are formed and then swiftly break up due to the lack of venues to play in.

4. In the course of a year we spend £50 million promoting Britain as a holiday location for overseas visitors. Gone are the days when the country can boast numerous live music venues depicting the culture of the nation. Most public places have little entertainment to offer. A mere 5% of public houses have a PEL.

5. Carlsbro employ 50 people and support 250 jobs in the local community. Our business is in jeopardy through lack of venues, reduced income to musicians resulting in no need to buy or replace equipment. British manufacturing is important to me and after 43 years we should be permitted to continue.

6. Drug usage in our inner cities continues to corrupt young children and cause distress to communities. Opening up live music venues and giving youngsters a reason to live through playing, listening and writing music is one method of giving hope to people less fortunate than you and I.

7. Music was our biggest export. Recognition was given to Sir Mick Jagger by the queen. He joins Sir Elton John and Sir Paul McCartney. Clearly the nation recognises what contribution these stars bring to the British Isles, but who is following these fantastic ambassadors for the UK? We must act quickly to encourage youngsters to follow these icons by giving them the opportunity to play, in public.

8. Record companies are reporting record losses. This is not due to internet fraud but a lack of new talent publicly exposed for the benefit of all. The lack of new talent is illustrated by Elvis Presely who has been dead for many years but is currently number one in the charts in the UK.

9. Parents need reasons to encourage cultural activities for their children. I am a parent and all my children play at home. We have no live music venues in my town so it is unlikely they will continue. We have invested significant sums in instruments and lessons and it saddens me to think they will return to the computer screen or the television in the years to come as they have little or no reason to continue to play music with their friends.

10. With 2000 music shops in the UK it is estimated that over 30,000 people in the music business will loose there jobs as the industry declines into recession. What hope is there of a future for British music with no outlet for talent. All of this because we encourage local authorities greedy for cash to prosecute musicians thus killing a once great British music business. We cling on to the music of the Beatles, Dire Straits and the Jam whilst the industry cries out for new blood to revive British tourism, industry and music for everybody.

Please copy this letter to anyone be they government ministers or members of parliament who listen to music and encourage everyone to support the EDM 1182. Let us hope Mr Blair will support musicians and remove legislation which prevents development of all forms of music.

Please help us.

Regards
Andrew Bishop
Owner
WWW.Carlsbro.com


03 Jul 02 - 06:36 PM (#741796)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull

I saw this on the Folk page of my local paper ( any spilling mitakes will by mine not the papers)
"When does three in a pub become a problem? Well all of the time, if you ask me....there'd be no atmosphere and youd have to stay for ages to get the beer drunk!
But seriously, it does become a problemwhen more than two entertainers sing in a pub at the same time.It can put the licensee in breach of the law unless they posesss a Public entertaiment licence.
I was intersted to read the summer issue of Folktalk, the folk listings magazine produced in North Linconshire.
It tells the story of Bridlington Folk Club, which meets at The Broadacres pub in Kingsgate, which it says "has become the latest in a long list of clubs to fall foul of the two in a bar law.
The story continus " In short the rule means that if more than two performers sing in a pub the landlord needs an expensive licence.
Some local authorities now claim that if the audience join in, they count as performers and in one mad instance a local authority decided that if the audience tap their feet it counts as performing.
Mad or what?....The real problem is of course, is it actively discourages the performance of live music and we have to gight even harder to preserve our musical heritage ..which is what the folk movement is all about.The solution as far as Bridlington Folk Club is concerned is to become a members only club, to join just call them on Bridlington (01262) 601413.
The club continues to meet fortnightly on Tuesdays evenings"

Foltalk by the way is full of handy lisings and can be picked up free of charge at many clubs in the area or you can send a stanped adressed anvelope to Folktalk, 57, Loyds Ave, Scunthorpe, DN17 1BY.


03 Jul 02 - 07:09 PM (#741821)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull

I hope somebody reads my above message, it took me ages to write all that ( I only type with one finger!).
When I first heard about these PEL issues, I was not really interested, i thought to myself, it's only happening down south, so it's nowt to do with me.
It appears I was wrong about that, I spoke to Bill Sables at the weekend, he told me his local folk club (Selby folk Club?) has been running happily for years but are now threatened with closure by the council because they don't have one of these licences. So it seems they are getting nearer, Selby is about 30 west of me and Bridlington 30 north of me.First they came for .... etc.
If anyone abroad is wondering were Bridlington is, it is about halfway between Hull & Whitby, there is loads of folk sessions singarounds in Hull, so I reckon there would be quite a fight if the council started causing trouble by demanding to see paperwork etc.We have just recently got a new Liberal Democrat council after years of labour, the leader of the council (Simone Butterworth) is a fiddle player, she lives near me and is one of my customers, so i will ask her for her views on this issue. Also the Deputy Prime Minister, The Right Honoroble Mr Prescott MP is one of the local MP's so I might send him an email.


03 Jul 02 - 07:37 PM (#741837)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

Thank you John. I read your message and much appreciate your efforts. Others will also, but this thread is for recording enforcement actions, so you may not read much encouragement here.

The key is to inform and keep on informing, about the actual events that are under threat, even though it appears that it is 'knocking your head against a brick wall'. The message has been slow to get over but it is starting to now and it must.

This was on the BBC Radio 2 Folk and Acoustic message board.

That covers top level BBC issues, I hope. On a different level, re the Mike Harding Show for instance, making your views known on the board really can be influential. It was the lively discussion on PELs that influenced the producer to look at the matter more closely and invite Kim Howells on to the show for interview

This 'lively discussion' was instigated by certain individuals, not unknown here on The Mudcat. The interview is to be on the 17th July Mike Harding Show. How much good this item proves to be, is largely up to us all.

Keep up the good work.


04 Jul 02 - 07:27 AM (#742068)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: Mr Happy

shambles + john from hull,

i was most interested to see the mail about bridlington fc & their getting round current law by making it members only.

is this only a regional/county loophole or could it be applied nationally?


04 Jul 02 - 09:20 AM (#742151)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: Hecate

We've gone members only - tis is only viable if you have your own room and can keep the public out. Entertainment that is not available to the public (ie the person trying to raid you) cannot, by defenition, be public entertainment. I've done a fair bit of reading around online, and as far as I can make out, if you can keep the bastards out, they can't do anything. It is hard turning people away, but I find reminding myself about the possible fines makes it easier to stay firm.

Being a small club, this is easy enough to police and maintain - it would be harder for larger clubs. It is also awkward when we got folkies from further afield, but not impossible - if in doubt, phone a club 48 hours in advance, that way they can sign you up as a member.


04 Jul 02 - 09:22 AM (#742155)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: Mr Happy

is it necessary to have a membership fee or can it be free like mc?


04 Jul 02 - 10:45 AM (#742215)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

Details and history of PEL issues at Tall Poppy Presents…Lee Lindsey & friends acoustic showcase Henry VIII Hotel, 19 Leinster Gardens, Bayswater, W2 3AN.

We run an acoustic music venue in Bayswater called Tall Poppy Presents…Lee Lindsey and friends. We rely totally upon industry sponsorship and the night is free to get in. Lee Lindsey and Jack Guy started the venue because they realised the London music scene was really lacking in great places to play original music where artists could have the opportunity to showcase their material to their friends and fans and the music industry. A place where they would be treated with respect and given a wonderful setting, stage and sound, in the atmosphere of like-minded people. The genre of music we promote is roots rock and folk pop which is in-keeping with the Tall Poppy Record label Jack and Lee have started.

The gigs began around Easter, 2001 in a pub in Richmond, which was near the Tall Poppy Office and Studio. After an extremely successful 5 weeks we were offered a wonderful opportunity to host the night in central London at the Henry VIII Hotel, Bayswater. It was a big move for us and we closed down for 6 weeks to put all our efforts into promoting it before our opening night. We cruised the London scene looking for talent, making sure we had a roster of acts that would impress our audiences and the international music scene for months. After a time we had people from all over the world and the U.K. hearing about us and emailing us with requests to perform from artists, management companies, agents, record labels, publishers, etc… Tall Poppy Presents was a success!

Since running these events, we have made every effort to abide by the rules and conditions set out by the venue and made sure that we showed consideration to the local residents in the area by keeping our noise levels to a minimum by having only acoustic performers i.e.; no amps, big drum sounds or electric guitars. In the beginning, at Henry VIII Hotel, we didn't know much about PEL Licence's only that they were hugely expensive and we'd like to apply for one if the nights' would prove successful and worth spending so much on. So upon investigating the implications of not having one after the Hotel had it's first visit from Westminster Council, we went to great lengths to ensure we could operate legally while the licence was in application. We believe it was a Francis Keagan that visited the first time after an anonymous allegation from the residents association regarding overcrowding of the downstairs restaurant and bar where we hold our Tall Poppy nights. He had a lengthy discussion with the Hotel manager about what we could and couldn't do within the confines of the law.

At this October visit Mr Keagan requested that the sign, telling people Tall Poppy was presenting live music every Friday night, be removed from the entrance hall of the Hotel and also the posters inside the lobby. He said this meant that we were open to the public. This request was implemented immediately. The Hotel then had a word with Lee and gave her details of the Westminster visit and of the possibility of being shut down unless we only have 2 people on stage for the whole night! Obviously we were extremely upset over this as we had being going from strength to strength for 6 months by now and we also had acts booked up for the next 6 weeks and each and every act we put on takes great measures in, firstly qualifying to get to play and then secondly, promoting themselves with their fans and within the industry. For them Tall Poppy is a lifeline and a special opportunity to be heard.

Lee got on the phone straight away to Francis Keagan to see if there was a way something could be worked out and explained to Mr Keagan just exactly what Tall Poppy Presents was doing within the music community and how important it was we kept the club open. She explained that for the most part we ran as an in-house (music industry) folk/songwriters club whereby musicians played for their friends and family and invited certain music industry representatives to hear their music. He told her many things, all of which Lee took notes on. After careful consideration and talking things through, Lee came up with the idea of operating as a 'member's only' club and Mr. Keagan explained how this would have to work, legally, and that Westminster would be satisfied that we were operating within the correct boundaries. We needed to assign a membership secretary - that was already in place, Alex Mann. We had to have membership details for 24 hours previous before they could enter. A bonafide member could bring in as many guests as he/she likes. We followed everything to the Tee and we thought our problems would end there. Unfortunately for us, they didn't. If you could take the time to read this detailed report, it will explain exactly what we, at Tall Poppy and the Hotel, have been through at the hands of Westminster Council's enthusiastic PEL clampdown.

 After being made aware that the Hotel didn't have a PEL License, we had to take steps to be able to run the club without one for the time being. After some research, we found that we were able to run the event how we wanted by holding it as a private event each week, with invited guests only, a membership scheme and no advertising.

 Despite the complications and difficulties we realised that this would cause, we realised that this was the only way we would be able to hold the event and have a variety of acts perform, as opposed to the PEL rules which state that any live music event of this nature that it open to the public can only have two performers at any one time on the stage, and they must be the only performers during that show.

 We managed to work the licencing problems out by informing our audience that we would be running Tall Poppy Presents as a members only club from now on. We emailed everyone to let them know that in order to attend they must bring their membership cards with them. For those without cards, new members, they must first apply directly to Tall Poppy Records for a membership card, which would only be issued 24 hours after they have applied. As well as this, we also held a strict door policy that means no one could enter the club unless they were already a member, or were attending as a guest of a member. We made people prove this by asking them which member (either a performer or visitor) had invited them and then verifying this by checking the guest lists.

All members that attended Tall Poppy Presents had to bring with them a membership card every time they attended the venue, or admittance could not be guaranteed. On several occasions we turned people away because they had come to see "what was going on" or had heard about the night through friends of people who had previously played at Tall Poppy. These people were asked to sign up as members and return next week with a membership card so they could be admitted. Despite the extent that we have to go to in order to enforce these rules, we have always bided by them to the best of our abilities.

Events of 9th November 2001

On the 9th November last year, we held an event at Tall Poppy Presents called "Secrets On Parade". This was held in association with the music organisation BMI which is an American affiliate of the PRS, and it is important to note that all the acts that were playing that night were Danish. This meant that over 70% of our guests that evening were from Denmark, many of which had come from the Danish Embassy and other Danish organisations based in London. The night was extremely busy and was attended by over 80 people, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to cope with volumes of non-English speaking people arriving in large groups at the front desk.

Alex Mann, our membership secretary, who was working on the desk at the time, reported that it was becoming quite hectic at times, with many people who had been invited as guests by the artists and BMI who were holding the party not understanding why they were being asked to sign in, how the membership card scheme worked, etc. Two men approached Alex during a busy period of the evening and he asked them whom they had come to see.

He was told "everyone" by one of the men, and it was assumed that he meant he had come to see all of the acts on that evening. Alex then asked: "have you ever been to Tall Poppy Presents before?" "No" was the reply. Alex decided to enquire further: "How did you hear about us?" (Here Alex was looking for a reply that might indicate that they had walked on off the street). The two men replied that they had found Tall Poppy Presents on the Internet. At this point, Alex assumed that the two men were with the Danish party and drew the conclusion that they had not fully understood the membership scheme. The desk was still very busy and Alex took the decision to ask the two men to sign the register and go into the venue.

Later on in the evening, Alex and Lee were asked to the front desk, to find the hotel owner and manager being interviewed by the two men that had entered the venue earlier. These men revealed themselves to be Richard Nash a co-worker of Westminster City Council. After interviewing the hotel owner and the hotel manager, and explaining to Lee Lindsey and Alex Mann what they would be doing next, and that we would be hearing from them. As requested, Lee contacted them the following week and left a message.

After this, the hotel became very concerned about running the event but we reassured them that we would tighten up our security measures even more.

Several months later, we received a letter asking Lee to attend a formal interview with Richard Nash at Westminster Council. She was cautioned that she should bring a solicitor and Lee's response was, '…how could Tall Poppy possibly afford a solicitor, being a non-profit making organisation?' Actually, not only does Tall Poppy not make any profit but it costs Lee out of her own personal pocket to keep the night running. Speaking with the Hotel owner, Lee was advised to go to the interview as asked and just simply tell the truth.

Richard Nash, in the presence of whom Lee later learned was Francis Keagan, spoke with Lee for about 7-15 minutes before turning on a tape recorder and proceeded to ask more questions on tape. Actually, it was difficult to remember what was exactly on tape and what wasn't – I suppose this was part of his tactics. She was questioned for over an hour regarding the policies of Tall Poppy, how the membership was run, why they were able to gain entry on the 9th November. The transcript from this interview shows that Lee was questioned intensively about the gig by both interviewees and the objective of the interview seemed to be to catch Lee out and get her to admit that Tall Poppy Presents was an advertised show that was open to the general public.

Since this interview, Tall Poppy Records and Henry VIII Hotel have both been issued a court summons and told to expect a fine of £3000.00 payable by both parties. The court summonses were not sent registered post but we were to respond within 7 days of receipt of letter? The court date was to be July 10th which I have been led to believe a very important day in The House of Commons relating to just this – PEL laws. We have, for now, left our part of responding to the summons, to the solicitors of the Hotel and both parties (Tall Poppy and the hotel) have asked for a different court date, hopefully when school goes back in the autumn as Lee wouldn't be able to attend as both her children have end of term activities on this date and Lee being a single Mum can't be in 4 places at once. We are waiting to hear from Westminster and the court.

Because Tall Poppy Presents operates as a non-profit making organisation, we are not in any position to pay the legal fees to represent ourselves in court, and we are certainly not in a position to pay the fine that has been requested by Westminster Council. It is totally not fair to the Hotel that they cover our legal fees, nor do I think that they will in the long term. They have been extremely supportive of music and the arts and are involved in local and London cultural activities and to be bullied and persecuted like this is an outrage. They have spent an enormous amount of money so far in applying for a PEL license, buying our stage, the lighting, the beautiful backdrop curtains, helping the bands cover their costs to play at the venue, and most of all believing and standing by Tall Poppy when it was in its infancy.

We have approached a number of people who are supporting a change in the licensing laws for live music, namely Andrew Bishop of Carlsbro and Hamish Birchall of the Musicians Union, both of whom have been extremely helpful and supportive. We intend to continue down this route, and build up as much publicity as we can in order to raise awareness of the problems we have faced as a result of Westminster Councils actions. It is very important to note that the gig itself is held in the basement of the hotel, below ground level, in a room with no external lighting. No sound can be heard from the room at street level, and being an acoustic venue, we generally have a very respectful and considerate clientele.

Conclusion

We believe that we have never given Westminster Council a valid reason to intervene in the running of the venue, nor to question how it has been organised. Consider the following points:

 We have always intended, from the very conception of this venue, to obtain the correct licence in order to open this venue to the general public, and are now doing this.

 We have knowingly abided by every rule and guideline that governs the running of a music venue as a private club, including running a tightly regulated membership scheme with appointed secretary and not advertising the venue to the public.

 We operate a small, weekly acoustic club in an unobtrusive underground venue. This does not constitute noise pollution or otherwise cause inconvenience or discomfort for any of the residents of Westminster.  We have complied with every request made of us by either Westminster Council or the local Residents Association, i.e. removing advertising outside the hotel and in the foyer, keeping the doors of the venue closed when performers are on stage (despite the fact that nothing can be heard from street level anyway).

It is also important to consider the Arts and Culture initiatives undertaken by Westminster Council. Despite their apparent zealousness over cracking down on unlicensed venues, the council of Westminster had an office dedicated to supporting the Arts in Westminster. This is taken from the city councils Arts unit manifesto…

"…the aims of the Arts Policy are: To support, enhance and develop the infrastructure of arts provision in Westminster through investment, partnership, intervention, information and funding."


04 Jul 02 - 03:19 PM (#742366)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex

Membership keeps the open but you have to play strictly by the rules. You can't advertise specific events to the general public. Islington nearly got closed because of this after a guest sent a press release direct to Time Out and got a big spread.

A list of members only clubs in Essex and East London is available at clik.to/membership


04 Jul 02 - 06:20 PM (#742484)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: GUEST,banjoz

I read this entire string of messages today, July 4th, what we in the U.S. refer to as "Independence Day" or simply the 4th of July when we celebrate our "freedom", but originally this meant our independence from what was viewed as English tyranny - imposing taxes and various controls on the English colonists in America. How ironic that the tyranny still persists to this day in England, imposing laws that prohibit the freedom of singing and playing music in public establishments without the payment of a tax to the authorities. I feel so sorry for all of you who've been denied the right to the pursuit of happiness via music in the traditional way. In the 1770's some Bostonians dumped British tea in the Boston Harbor as a symbolic act protesting a tax on a basic foodstuff. Perhaps you could organize a dumping of musical instruments into the Thames to protest this ridiculous 2-in-a-bar rule, and taxation of acoustic music. I don't know if ridicule for the establishment will do any good on your side of the Atlantic, but it seems to help over here, as even politicians don't want to look like a horse's ass more often than necessary. Anyway, even if you don't organize your own version of the Boston Tea Party you're all welcome to play in our town (Vancouver, Washington, USA) without taxation. I haven't beeen thrown out of a bar for singing yet, and at least one of the city planners is a folk musician so we may have some insider influence. Best of luck to you all.


05 Jul 02 - 09:24 AM (#742829)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: Mr Happy

i asked some time ago if there was an exemption to the pel rules for churches- it seems there isn't.

how about schools- if they still sing hymns first thing in the morning at assembly- do they need a pel?

brings to mind the john cleese film 'clockwise' where all the headteachers are singing 'to be a pilgrim'


06 Jul 02 - 04:31 AM (#743266)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: GUEST

Dear Mr. Shambles,

You deserve all of the troubles you have foisted upon yourself. I will send a copy of this rambling statement to the Westminster Council. For example:

We operate a small, weekly acoustic club in an unobtrusive underground venue.

HUMBUG!!!

It was a big move for us and we closed down for 6 weeks to put all our efforts into promoting it before our opening night. We cruised the London scene looking for talent, making sure we had a roster of acts that would impress our audiences and the international music scene for months. After a time we had people from all over the world and the U.K. hearing about us and emailing us with requests to perform from artists, management companies, agents, record labels, publishers, etc… Tall Poppy Presents was a success!

You are pleading the victum, when YOU are the victumizer. Simply obey the laws and pay the fees.


06 Jul 02 - 04:57 AM (#743269)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: Bullfrog Jones

The only people being "victumized" here are the artists denied a chance to showcase their music and the people who want to hear it. The success of the venue doesn't alter the fact that's it's "small" compared to a concert hall or a West End nightclub, and the legislation should take that into account.
BJ


06 Jul 02 - 06:27 AM (#743275)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

Is it rather too easy to critcise the apirations of the poor chap who lies down in front of a tank?

The driver of the tank has only one duty and responsibility and can be excused (to some extent), if they run over our chap and his aspirations.

I suggest it would be better for us to address and critcise those who have the power to call off the tanks.

For our local authority officers are charged with many, often conflicting responsibilities, but many choose to claim the law means they have to drive right over people and their aspirations, as in this case.

The fact that it 'sounded like a public entertainment', was enough for the officers to try to entrap them as providing this, rather than aiding what would have been a great asset to the local public they are employed to serve.

The same attempt is being made to class unpaid informal sessions like those examples above, when the interpretation of the one law that the officers are using in isolation, has not been tested in Court. In the case of my council, for the officers even to tell the members that the law is clear!

The questions to be answered are:

Is the public well served by this strict enforcement of licensing legislation, in isolation of all of the council's other reponsibilities?

And how did it get this late?

If it is thought that the proposed reforms will change this, I see nothing in the White Paper that states exactly what measures are to be introduced to prevent this unbalanced, over-zealous approach and abuse of power entrusted to the employees of our local authorities.

It is the long entrenched power of these individuals that we must place under the control and wishes of the public they are paid to serve.


06 Jul 02 - 06:43 AM (#743278)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: McGrath of Harlow

Could I suggest that discussions about the ins and outs and rights and wrongs of the system could be carried out on a different thread - I think it is useful to have a thread specifically for recording examples where the PEL restrictions have closed down or stopped particular venues etc.

The things is, it is so easy for that kind of infiormation to be buried in discussion. The discussion is relevant, because there is an enormous amount of misunderstanding of the legal situation here, by the authorities as well as by us. But the kind of people who need toi be turned around on this are much more challenged when we can throw actual cases at them rather than logical arguments.


09 Aug 02 - 06:03 AM (#762458)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

For the past ten years I have appeared at Broadstairs Folk Week in a One Man Show at the Windsor Cinema. It is basically a stand up comedy show late at night (11-12.30ish).

There is no bar, there are stewards and all the usual safety features which you would require for a small cinema. My show takes place after a film showing when the film audience has left. It is ticketed in advance and open for sales on the night if there is space. It has around 80 seats or so.

My show was advertised in the programme and it appears that the PEL licensing officer went through the programme crossing out events that he said contravened the licensing laws. These included programmed unaccompanied shanty singers and morris singers in pub singarounds. My show was deemed illegal in his opinion and I understand he sent correspondence to the cinema outlining the penalties for contravening these laws.

The show will in fact take place at Broadstairs Museum - a new arts venue that has applied and been granted the appropriate licence.

Needless to say the opening ten minutes of my act will be directed towards this little Hitler who would serve the public better by removing all the burnt out cars up and down the Thanet Way.

Regards Doug Hudson


09 Aug 02 - 06:58 AM (#762486)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: GUEST

this little Hitler ????


09 Aug 02 - 10:55 AM (#762591)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex

Personal abuse towards those charged with enforcing the law, however stupid it may be, simply justifies the claim that live music attracts a bunch of thugs and needs to be controlled.


09 Aug 02 - 11:12 AM (#762596)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

The purpose of this thread is for first hand accounts od those who have suffered from this enforcement action. Their opinions may also be expressed in these also, undestandably, as they will be upset by their treatment.

You may well feel Peter, that these strong comments may be counter-productive but can you please express your views and comments in other threads, and leave this one free for its purpose, of listing and demonstrating the effects of these actions?


09 Aug 02 - 11:53 AM (#762613)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: Pied Piper

Peter from Essex. People who enforce unjust laws must take personal responsibility for their actions; "I'm only obeying orders" is not acceptable as an excuse. I assume you would have recommended that the Jews not make a fuss when the enforcement officer came round to hand out the Stars of David. The only way to make politicians listen is to grab them by the throat and squeeze (specking metaphorically). The freedoms that wee have today weren't given, they had to be fought for and people died in the struggle. It is not just are right to fight unjust laws it is our duty. Fighting for freedom tonight. PP


09 Aug 02 - 12:27 PM (#762625)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: GUEST,sorefingers

Well I'll be darned! I recall during my college years working on building sites and going off on friday and saturday with the Irish crowd for a p?? up and sing song. Now it did not matter who or how many had a squeeze box, piano or whatever, we did not care~! - and nobody ever stopped us, nor can I recall ever hearing of such a thing!

Folk clubs which charge on the door for entertainment are restricted by insurance and local bylaw so I am not surprised to be reading that. It always was that way.

Sessions, used be called Singsongs, and that is nothing new but really when there is disagreement about it we should find another pub!

Often unknown to revellers there are complaints from neighbours and these will cause the local authority to act. Fair is fair folks so when you want to get to sleep - maybe you work nights?- you should be allowed to!

Unreasonable meddling by local authorities can and does happen - often at the behest of a jealous competitor etc - and is shameful. Again finding another venue can help.


09 Aug 02 - 02:02 PM (#762672)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: HuwG

Pied Piper, I quite agree. Sometimes, I seem to find officialdom prefer to maintain the sometimes archaic or arcane letter of the law against those who are uncomplaining and law-abiding, rather than address proper issues of public safety or morals.

A pub near me has recently had a near-sqeak with PEL's; the licensing authorities were objecting even to an unamplified session involving four folk instrumentalist, and went to the extent of sending the Police round on the night of a cancelled gig, to make sure that an unlicensed session wasn't taking place. [By the way, the Boys in Blue were very polite and sympathetic about having to turn up.] The pub is now running under a probationary entertainments license. The purpose of the probationary period seems to me to be little more than bluster, designed to make sure that we know who is boss.

To be fair, a complaint had been made about noise by a nearby resident, but it was easy to prove that this was without foundation, if not actually frivolous.

Meanwhile, nearby clubs which are quite shocking shebeens dedicated to making youths drunk and penniless as quickly as possible, are allowed to remain open unchecked, in spite of noise, brawls and (in one case) a drugs raid which netted several hard drugs. Just along the road, two pubs a few yards apart operate competing karaoke machines. On busy nights, the noise is somewhere between awful and cacophonic.

I wrote a letter to the licensing authorities pointing out the above fact, which just stopped short of accusing them of moral cowardice and hypocrisy. I await a knock on the door at three in the morning...


10 Aug 02 - 07:44 AM (#762976)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: Pied Piper

Thanks for the support HuwG. I think that most of the people who take part in traditional music and organise events believe that the State was set up for the benefit of the majority. This is not the case States evolved from absolute tyrannies by slow effort on the part of the tyrannised. The process is far from complete and we must continue to fight for control of our lives. All the best PP


10 Aug 02 - 08:40 AM (#762982)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: InOBU

Hi Folks, rent the video of the old film from the late 40's early 50's Passport to Pimlico. When a small district of London finds itself to be Burgundian, and not English, the second thing they do, after declairing an end to the pub closing laws, is to end the PELs. With a sense of reverence, a fellow sits down at a piano and suddunly the crowd explodes in joyfull singing... then of course, in come the wowzers... those afraid of folks free to entertain themselves. Music is speach - protect it or the world becomes grey and sad... cheers Larry


11 Aug 02 - 06:01 AM (#763306)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

Talking of the Police. I asked my local force the following question.

I do not of course expect you to be drawn in to a political argument. But given your comment about not being able to say that there had been no complaints locally, and bearing in mind of course that this is a fairly recent introduction to the activities of licensed premises. Is it your view and can it be statistically demonstrated, that all live music making and only live music making, has presented instances of significant problems and incidents, that has not been presented by those attracted to, and associated with, the advertised showing of live TV sport in public houses?

Firstly it is my opinion that many times when officers are called to deal with 'incidents' at or around liquor licensed premises, those officers are concerned with ensuring that any breaches of public order or reports of other nuisance are containe, controlled and ultimately dissipated. This they may quite often not acutally determine the cause of any problem. However with noise nuisance complaints the cause is more obvious.

I cannot give any statistical information to indicate details in relation to the matter subject of your question as we do not keep such information.

But my second comment would be that I am not aware of any occasion when we have dealt with significant problems related to the ewatching of live TV spots programmes, whereas ther have been occasions when we have dealt with incidents relative to the playing of live music. I would add that for reasons of confidentiality I could not give you examples of premises in involved.

So there are no statistics and there is no evidence available from the police to the Government, even to establish if the 'incidents' the police refer to here were to LIVE music or noise from this or to noise outside the premises - but of course everybody knows that live music, and ONLY live music will cause wild public disorder.


12 Aug 02 - 06:30 AM (#763737)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: HuwG

The Shambles, I'm not sure whether the Police would recognise this as being within the sphere of "Public Order", but I heard on Radio 4 this morning that the [British] Advertising Standards Authority had upheld a complaint of offensive language and "inappropriate content" against an advertisement for a Live Football TV Channel.

Apparently, the advertisement featured a live broadcast from a pub where a match was being shown on a wide screen. When the picture on the wide screen was lost briefly, a torrent of foul language resulted, all of which went out on British Terrestrial TV before the 9 o'clock "watershed", when the odd mild oath is permitted.

Several public houses have lost my custom as a result of installing wide screens or showing almost continual live TV on ordinary screens (including, alas, one which still serves an excellent range of guest beers), as I find the noise and atmosphere (which sometimes verges on violence, if a favourite team is losing) in these places to be so distracting as to be intolerable.


12 Aug 02 - 10:24 AM (#763809)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: Blues=Life

(Guest:banjoz, your post made me want to add this comment. I agree completely with what you said.)

I'm new here, and I live in America.

Why do so many of you brits want to have folk music? Nobody with any sense needs folk music. Humanity invented these things called 'words' a while back - used reasonably, they work quite well!

please stop wanting 'the right' to play music, it makes me scared.

(Tounge firmly in cheek)

Blues


12 Aug 02 - 12:46 PM (#763890)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: GUEST,sorefingers

Dear Mr Blues=Life clearly like Mr Banjoist you have never lived in the UK.

Often the Pub next door is exactly that! When they have a late night, Football, Christmas etc then as the neighbor you are a participant willing or no!

To be fair to the LAs in the UK rarely do they act except where there is complaint or serious fire/safety concern.

There may be cases where there is mixed reaction to inhouse giging, in fact in the USA one rarely - nearly never in my experience over 10 states - sees a spontaneous session like the UK. Indeed the opposite is the rule, the USA tends towards organised often badly attended jams where most of the audience are friends of the participants. In the UK one would not go to a Rugby house for a folk evening, nor to a Darts mecca for a Trad one.

The sessions I recall were hoots with crowds too big for the small bars where we would end up. They had the option to be fun, to be spontaneous, to play or do whatever one wanted to. Often I recall with great joy a friend who played a Tea Chest with Broom and String attached for a Bass! These were meetings of work weary people who simply needed to let off steam after a hard week. In the post war years skiffle and jazz were often played, indeed folk mostly took back seat to the louder stomping of other jams.


12 Aug 02 - 05:11 PM (#764011)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

I suggest the discussion about the ins and outs is best done in another thread, such as UK catters be useful TODAY - that way this thread here serves as a handy collection of actual cases, which is what politicians and such always say they like to have when they are lobbied over an issue of principle.)


13 Aug 02 - 01:19 AM (#764200)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

Links to PEL threads, all of them


14 Aug 02 - 04:17 PM (#765391)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: Blues=Life

Um, Sorefingers, I was trying to be ironic. I was paraphrasing the troll who started a thread with the post listed below. I'm sorry, I should have known Irony was going to far. I guess I'll just have to be like Steve Martin in Roxanne. See farther below.

"Subject: I'm scared of Americans and Guns From: GUEST,lizzie Date: 19-Apr-00 - 06:25 PM

I'm new here, and I live in england.

Why do so many of you americans want to have guns? Nobody with any sense needs a gun. Humanity invented these things called 'words' a while back - used reasonably, they work quite well!

please stop wanting 'the right' to own guns, it makes me scared

Lizzie"

"Oh, ho, ho, irony! Oh, no, no, we don't get that here. See, uh, people ski topless here while smoking dope, so irony's not really a, a high priority. We haven't had any irony here since about, uh, '83, when I was the only practitioner of it. And I stopped because I was getting tired of being stared at." -C.D. Bailes (Steve Martin)

Peace to all, Blues


20 Aug 02 - 02:43 PM (#768662)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

This from Hamish

A couple of weeks ago Barbara Golden of the Coventry Evening Telegraph ran a piece about local two-in-a-bar problems, tying it into the Musicians Union campaign, the level of MP support etc. She is interested in doing a follow-up article but would like another local 'peg'. If anyone in the area has experienced PEL difficulties her contact number is 024 76500 380.


04 Sep 02 - 02:40 PM (#776978)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

The following invitation from Pete Gibson.

Some good news for a change. Greenwich Traditional Musicians Co-operative are pleased to invite you along to our grand re launch on Tuesday 1st October at the Cricketers 22, King William Walk, Greenwich London SE10.

We have been given the go ahead by the landlord because he has now virtually completed all the work needed to obtain the PEL and has been assured by the local authority that once he submits his electrical safety certificate he will be granted an immediate licence. The PEL is for two nights every week and costs around £300 per annum.

To reiterate - the local authority were not originally prepared to issue the landlord with a PEL without substantial modification to the premises. They seemed to change their mind after much pressure from ourselves and our supporters including pointing out to them the relevant DCMS circular concerning duplication of pre-existing public safety requirements for ordinary licensed premises.

So a partial victory for at least those of us in the borough who want to run events such as ours and have a sympathetic landlord who recognises the benefit to both his own customer base and the community as a whole.

Let's hope that the eventual good sense of our local authority extends to others.

Please feel free to publicise this event as widely as possible. We need as much support as we can get.

Thanks for all your help. We will continue to support the campaign and not forget what we have had to go through.

Pete Gibson

Greentrad


04 Sep 02 - 02:59 PM (#776987)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: 8_Pints

Congratulations Pete!

I'm glad perseverance has been duly rewarded.

Good luck,

Bob vG


04 Sep 02 - 08:07 PM (#777155)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: Mr Happy

good luck also from me. the local session/come all ye in chester, run by colin matthews, who is lso editor of folk orbit[mag] has this month added a lengthy editorial speading the news about pels. many of our local folkie participants were unaware of this insidious threat, so hopefully there'll be more people adding their lobbying mps + spreading the word, pressure interest groups etc.


04 Sep 02 - 09:10 PM (#777190)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: Joe Offer

After spending three weeks in England, I can report that English pub sings are alive, well, and delightful. The incident at Greenwich is unfortunate, but it may give the PEL opponents the publicity they need.

Even if the PEL's continue, 300 quid for 104 sessions doesn't seem like a lot of money.

I did notice that some pubs don't welcome singers, and I suppose that's the way it should be. In one pub in Whitby, I mentioned that I was a singer, and the guy next to me politely pointed out the "no singing, no dancing" sign above me.

I just wish Shambles would figure out he should post his messages just once, instead of his habit of posting each message in three separate threads. That sort of practice is far worse for his cause than the Greenwich incident. Spam, even in the name of a worthy cause, is still Spam. That is my personal opinion, and not an official statement of Mudcat. I believe I am entitled to an opinion.

-Joe Offer-


05 Sep 02 - 12:29 AM (#777245)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: GUEST

THANKS JOE -

Shambles has certainly made a mess of his case over the past 18 months, losing more supporters than he has gained through his hysterics.


05 Sep 02 - 03:22 AM (#777307)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

It is unfortunate Joe that you and and few others do not appear have not actually read the posts you are so critical of.

This does not of course mean that you are not free to express a personal opinion of the current situation, based on a short if selected reading of selected pubs, completly ignoring most of the cases listed in this thread and the often expressed wish that opinions should be expressed in one of the 'countless' other threads (spread over 2 years.

I would suggest that it is your and others perception of this being 'my' cause, that is presenting you with a problem, one that they are happy to leave to the many others who are fighting it and need their help. Is it really such a dreadful thing sometimes to have re-read a message in a thread that you are interested enough in, to open?

Unless of course you are opening it for the sole reason of looking for something to complain about. Despite Joe's complacent reading of the current situation, there really is plenty to complain about without confining these complaints to petty personal issues.

Whatever small negative impact my posts may have, I hope that most catters wou;d feel that this are more than balanced by my positve contributions to the Mudcat over a long period, and the nature of the real threat.

Joe I have responded to your message here publicly, I will not do so again. Can I ask anyone who has a problem with me to please confine any personal criticisms about me, to personal messages addressed to me, and to now leave this thread for its purpose?


05 Sep 02 - 05:39 AM (#777352)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: Bullfrog Jones

Hear, Hear -- keep it up.

BJ


05 Sep 02 - 07:14 AM (#777373)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: Dave Bryant

It's good news that the session at "The Cricketers" may soon be going again - Linda and I looked in at the pub on Tuesday night and there were only 2 (non-folkies) in the whole place - instead of the crowd we would normally expect to see.


26 Sep 02 - 12:30 PM (#791823)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: GUEST,Pete Shaw

The monthly acoustic session at the Blue Bell (John Clare's old pub) in Helpston village got hit last night Wed 25.9.02 by Peterborough City Council. pete.shaw@(nospam)peteshaw.co.uk


26 Sep 02 - 01:47 PM (#791895)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: The Shambles

Sorry to hear this Pete. Could you post some more info here when you have it, and keep us informed?


26 Sep 02 - 04:13 PM (#791985)
Subject: RE: Killed by the PEL system
From: McGrath of Harlow

Here is Part 2 - so please post there. This thread is taking too long to load.