The Live Music Bill Jumps Another Hurdle

A House of Lords Private Members’ Bill, the Live Music Bill, has passed another hurdle. The Bill had its report stage and third reading on 20th January in Parliament. Now, it will have a few tweaks during Consideration of Amendments stage before it is given Royal Assent, and thereafter law.

Since the introduction of the Licensing Act 2003, all premises who wish to play live/recorded music other than background (a CD or something similar) music are required to have an entertainment licence to do this. This has led to a lot more bureaucracy and frustration for premises who wish to play music. There is of course the other-side of that fence, where this Act has stopped people from being disturbed by music at all hours.

This bill is sort of halfway house, as the Bill seeks to amend the Licensing Act 2003 by partially deregulating the performance of live music and removing regulation about the provision of entertainment facilities. Its purpose is to:

  • remove the licensing requirement for un-amplified live music taking place between 8am and 11pm in all venues, subject to the right of a licensing authority to impose conditions about live music following a review of a premises licence or club premises certificate relating to premises authorised to supply alcohol for consumption on the premises ;
  • remove the licensing requirement for amplified live music taking place between 8am and 11pm before audiences of no more than 200 persons on premises authorised to supply alcohol for consumption on the premises, subject to the right of a licensing authority to impose conditions about live music following a review of a premises licence or club premises certificate;
  • remove the licensing requirement for amplified live music taking place between 8am and 11pm before audiences of no more than 200 persons in workplaces not otherwise licensed under the 2003 Act (or licensed only for the provision of late night refreshment);
  • remove the licensing requirement for the provision of entertainment facilities; and widen the licensing exemption for live music integral to a performance of morris dancing or dancing of a similar type, so that the exemption applies to live or recorded music instead of un-amplified live music

As you would expect, The British Beer and Pub Association has welcomed the news. However, will this change to the Licensing Act be welcome in all communities? I guess we will have to find out when this Bill becomes Law.

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