The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS -“improving the quality of life for all”) has just put out recommendations, taking the Live Music Act further in the direction of liberalisation and de-regulation. These things go in cycles. There are new civil servants involved, and quite rationally, they see the sense of unpicking the disproportionate and unnnecessarily restrictive powers given to Local Authorities by the 2003 Licensing Act, an Act for which their predecessors – who used to bang on about the link between live music and public disorder – were responsible, and which made music in small venues suffer.
The document is “Entertainment Regiulation. DCMS Consultation response.” and was apparently out on Monday. (Who knew?) Insomniacs and anoraks are welcome to try the full document HERE. This is the key paragraph:
89. It is clear that the audience levels need to be adjusted to address the concerns that have been raised by respondents. Most entertainment activities that are licensable will be deregulated up to an audience threshold of 500 people, save for indoor sport, which will have a higher audience ceiling of 1000 people. Music activities will be deregulated up to audiences of 500 people in prescribed circumstances. There will also be a small number of controlled exemptions which will not have an upper threshold imposed.
90.The argument for a performance end time has been made persuasively, and an end time of 23:00 will apply to any deregulated activities.
Incidentally, you have to stand back in admiration of the neat tactics of the actors Union Equity: they asked for an exemption for up to 5,000, thus making the final proposal look very modest. The source here is para 36, in which, by contrast, the Musicians Union (correct me if I’m wrong) appear to be asking for a 200 exemption – something which the Live Music Act had already granted. Uh?