The Live Music Forum


Monday 16th January 2996 - Licensing: more gig losses

Musicians have told me of further gig losses due to the new licensing laws (see below). In two cases I have been asked not to publish the venue's name because the owners do not want to risk antagonising their local authority when or if they decide to apply for a live music authorisation. In one case enforcement against an unlicensed 'two in a bar' gig was aggressive (threats of a £20,000 fine and possible imprisonment).

I have tried to find examples of venues that have started live music as a result of the new legislation. Despite rumours of several such places in the south west, in the end I was only given one name: the Dove Inn, Micheldever Station, Hampshire. However, when I phoned the landlord it turned out he had obtained a public entertainment licence and started the live music well before the new law came into force. He had simply converted this existing PEL into a live music authorisation under the new regime.

~ ~ ~

Reported gig losses:

London and Oxfordshire : Jazz singer Alison Bentley reports that licensing problems caused the cancellation at short notice recently of a one-off function in Flemings Hotel in Mayfair. More seriously, however, she has also lost a regular Sunday gig in a hotel near Oxford. Alison has asked that this venue remains anonymous for the present because the local authority has taken a hard line with the venue, and publicity may jeopardise a future application for live music.

Clerkenwell, London : pianist and composer Duncan Miller reports the loss of a weekly 'two in a bar' gig at a Clerkenwell bar. Again, the venue does not want publicity because of fears this could jeopardise the 'variation' live music application they are currently considering. The gigs had to be cancelled because of a misunderstanding between the licensee and Islington council during the licence conversion last year. This led to the venue failing to apply for live music authorisation.

Willesden, London : a monthly amateur big band gig at Cafe Gigi in the Willesden Green Library Centre has been cancelled. Brent Council told me that the venue used to have a public entertainment licence but did not renew it. I have not so far been able to speak to the venue's owner. According to musicians involved, the owner has been put off by the hassle of applying under the new regime. It is not clear, however, why Temporary Event Notices (TENs) have not been used to keep the gig going for the time being. However, where profit margins are small or non-existent, even £21 may prove to be a disincentive. The maximum 12 TENs allowed per premises per year would total £252.

Bath : trombonist Mel Henry reports that a regular duo gig at the Cafe Rouge in Bath has been cancelled 'temporarily' while they apply for a new licence. He adds: 'Goodness knows how long that will take!'

Hamish Birchall