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The Licensing Act 2003 Report – MusicTank

The Licensing Act 2003 Report

14 May 2009

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Published on 14.05.09, this is the sixth report published since the inception of the Act.  Despite the Act being deemed an overall success, the report expresses concerns that the Act may be “hampering live music performances especially by young musicians, who often get their first break through performing live at small venues such as pubs”.  It also calls for the scrapping of the controversial Metropolitan Police’s Promotion and Event Assesment Form, Form 696.

DCMS Select Committee Chairman, John Whittingdale, commented: “The licensing requirements are still too bureaucratic and costly, particularly for non-commercial groups such as sports clubs, not-for-profit establishments and organisers of occasional events.  Our report calls on the government to relax restrictions in this area, which in some cases are unnecessarily draconian, and in others simply absurd.”

The report’s top-line summary with regards Live Music and Entertainment is as follows:

We are concerned at the linkage of live music and public order issues by the Licensing Act and its accompanying guidance, and we emphasise that music should not automatically be treated as a disruptive activity which will inevitably lead to nuisance and disorder.  We therefore conclude that the Metroploitan Police’s Promotion and Event Assessment Form, Form 696, goes beyond the requirements of both the Act and its Guidance to impose unreasonable conditions on events and that it should be scrapped.

To encourage the performance of live music we recommend that the Government should exempt venues with a capacity of 200 persons or fewer from the heed to obtain a licence for the performance of live music.  We further recommend the reintroduction of the two-in-a-bar exemption, enabling venues of any size to put on a performance of non-amplified music by one or two musicians.