Live Music and Other Deregulation

Live Music and Other Deregulation

The Licensing Act 2003 which came into force in 2005 created a concept of regulated entertainment. Schedule 1 of that Act listed the activities which required licensing and for which a Premises Licence had to be sought. Some smaller venues fell shy of the cost and bureaucracy of applying for a Premises Licence in respect of entertainment. The result has been that there has been something of a barrier to the staging of low key live entertainment which falls within the definition of regulated entertainment.

The Licensing Act 2003 did create the “duo in a pub” exemption but few understood this convoluted piece of legislation which was aimed at allowing musical entertainment by a group not exceeding two in number without the need for the activity to be licensed as regulated entertainment.

So at the same time as the Government is looking at more regulation in respect of alcohol (indeed a number of measures have already been imposed) there is a tide turning in favour of liberalisation of the red tape around regulated entertainment.

This short article focuses upon live music.
The Live Music Act 2012 came into effect on the 1 October 2012.

This deregulates amplified live music (including karaoke) so long as the activity meets the following criteria:

  • It is between the hours of 0800 and 2300 hours
  • It occurs at venues that are either licensed for alcohol or are work places.
  • The audience will be not more than 200 per room.
  • Any conditions in a Premises Licence to the contrary do not have effect but the Local Authority can exert control if the activity causes a nuisance by reviewing the Premises Licence and re-imposing conditions.

There is also deregulation in connection with unamplified live music where the criteria are substantially relaxed as follows:

  • Between 0800 and 2300 hours.
  • At any location.
  • With no audience cap.

As with amplified music any existing conditions to the contrary on a Premises Licence do not apply. Again as with amplified music the Local Authority can still review and re-impose conditions in the event of problems.

Further the Live Music Act 2012 removes the requirement to licence entertainment facilities per se. These were always undefined but were understood to be things such as a microphone, a piano, a stage or a dance floor.

In this field look out for the following:

The Licensing Act 2003 (Deregulation of Entertainment) (Amendment) Order 2013 which comes into force on the 27 June 2013 which will liberalise the law in connection with plays, dance and indoor sports.

Also there are further proposals to extend the above audience caps in respect of live music from 200 to 500, further deregulate recorded music and to liberalise regulation for community premises, hospitals, nurses and schools. It is suggested that enabling legislation will be enacted as early as April or May 2014.

Further advice and assistance in connection with alcohol and entertainment licensing please contact Nigel Pepper, Consultant Solicitor on 01785 211411 or email npepper@hmo.co.uk

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