Live Music-is it all Singing and Dancing?

Posted: Monday, 8 August 2011 @ 17:16


The government and its predecessor have been under pressure to relax the heavy hand of regulation strangling the music scene in pubs, ever since the “2 in a bar” rule was abolished in 2005.

Before Westminster departed on holiday, proposed changes were thrashed out in the House of Lords, and will no doubt complete their journey through Parliament in the autumn.

So what will be the changes?

The original “Small Premises” provisions were confusing, and the latest changes are no less difficult to understand, but this is what is being proposed. It is likely to become law before the end of the year.
This will be the position:

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 regulated entertainment 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: what is new is that similar provisions for live music which are currently in place have been tweaked. In future, live music 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, if it is limited to live music between the hours of 8 am and 11pm (longer if a special celebration has been declared such as is likely for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012- the late May bank holiday wiill be on 4 June and the special Jubilee Bank Holiday will be on 5 June). But conditions can be imposed on a Review of the Premises Licence as if it was regulated entertainment. Clear isn’t it?

And yet there is more! If the music is unamplified and between 8am and 11pm it is not deemed regulated entertainment at all, whatever the capacity of the premises, and so again no conditions can be enforced unless it is on a Review.

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. Phew!

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

Blog by Nigel Musgrove
Nigel has been providing dispute resolution advice as a solicitor for over 35 years. As well as advising SMEs and business owners on disputes he also offers a specialist licensing law service. View profile
Call Nigel on +44 (0)1285 847 001 or by email
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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