Live Music Act in force 1 October 2012

Posted: Thursday, 13 September 2012 @ 13:36

The Live Music Act comes into force on 1 October. The government (Department for Culture Media and Sport) has also issued a draft Guidance  for consultation by 28 September, so the Guidance will only come after the new provisions are in force!! A new revised statutory Guidance is due to be laid before Parliament on 31 October 2012.

So what are the changes?

Firstly, note that the Act only applies to live music. So playing recorded music by DJs and other types of regulated entertainment will still require a licence and will be subject to conditions.

Dancing: where a venue has a Premises Licence to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises and for dancing, and has a permitted capacity of no more than 200, any licensing authority imposed conditions relating to the dancing will not have effect unless they were imposed as necessary for the prevention of crime or disorder or public safety, or were imposed on a formal Review.

This is not new. But what will remain a bizarre anomaly is that any recorded music played to accompany the dancing will still be  and will be subject to licensing authority imposed conditions, and as any conditions are most likely to be about the music, I see little achieved by this provision.

Only dancing to live music or unamplified music which qualify as set out below will in effect be free of conditions.

Live Music:

1) Amplified live music: live music in premises authorised to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises satisfying the capacity limit of 200 will not be considered regulated entertainment in the first place, and will not therefore require authorisation under a Premises Licence or a Temporary Event Notice, if it is limited to live music between the hours of 8 am and 11pm (longer if a special celebration has been declared) and the premises are open for the sale of alcohol. Also note that amplified live music in workplaces for no more than 200 people will not require a licence.

But conditions can be imposed on a Review of aPremises Licence as if it was regulated entertainment. 

2) Unamplified live music: between 8am and 11pm it is not deemed regulated entertainment at all, whatever the capacity of the premises, and whatever type of premises, whether licensed or not, and so again no conditions can be enforced unless it is on a Review, which of course only apples to premises with a Premises Licence.

If a Premises Licence does authorise live music, any conditions will not have effect as far as live music satisfying the capacity limit and hours is concerned, unless again they are imposed on a Review of the Premises Licence.

And note the position with beer gardens. The draft Guidance makes it clear that only beer gardens included within the Premises Licence-identified as such on the plan filed with the Licensing Authority, will come within the new regime for live amplified music. If they are not, they can still be used for unamplified music between 8 am and 11pm without a licence.

Entertainment Facilities:  finally, an opportunity has been taken to abolish the often confusing requirement that entertainment facilities themselves have to be licensed as regulated entertainment . So it will no longer be necessary to be licensed just because you have a dance floor and amplification, or perhaps a stage. It is the entertainment itself which may need an authorisation, unless it is small scale live music only or unamplified music, as described above.

If you need any help in understanding this new world of music and dancing licensing please give me a call.

Nigel Musgrove
Licensing Law Specialist

Tel: 0845 003 5639

For free advice on this topic please call us on 0845 003 5639.

This blog is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor is it intended to be a complete and authoritative statement of the law, and what we say might be out of date by the time you read it. You should always seek legal advice to confirm whether or how any information in this article applies to your particular situation. We offer a free telephone consultation to discuss your particular circumstances.


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