The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin

Tuesday 18th May 2010 - Licensing In Limbo

Licensing remains in limbo almost two weeks since the general election.

A licensing minister has yet to be confirmed, and press reports yesterday suggested that the portfolio might be moved back from DCMS to the Home Office:

'Alcohol and entertainment' has today been reinstated on the DCMS website under the heading 'What we do' - which makes it sound like some funky new venue - but the link just takes you to archived content:

Meanwhile, The Stage today reports that Feargal Sharkey is hopeful that Lord Clement-Jones' Live Music Bill, which would create entertainment licensing exemptions for small venues, will be revived in the autumn:

And Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt is praised in the Daily Telegraph for reportedly promising, pre-election, that 'every child will have the opportunity to learn an instrument...' ['Music unlocks the key to childrens souls', Stephen Hough, 18 May 2010]:

Of course, under the Licensing Act 2003, most school concerts remain illegal unless the school is explicitly licensed for live performance. Private school concerts are caught if there is a charge with a view to profit, or just to raise money for good causes. Concerts open to friends are likely to count as 'public', and therefore licensable irrespective of any charge. Even the provision of musical instruments is potentially a criminal offence unless licensed as the provision of 'entertainment facilities'.

There has been no comment to date from the new coalition government on whether or not they will take forward the small gigs exemption consultation initiated by Labour.


Hamish Birchall