The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin


Tuesday 9th May 2006 - Licensing confusion: more gigs cancelled - and Jowell praises Purnell

Belper's annual carnival has been cancelled due to confusion over the new licensing regime.


Thanks to Roger Gall for this lead.

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Similar confusion has also led Sheffield licensing department to consider whether all sports grounds in their area must be licensed for entertainment. On Sunday 30 April 2006 a Chinese Lion Dance was performed at half-time during Sheffield United's match against Crystal Palace (attendance 27,120). No licence authorising the performance of dance was in force - and there is no exemption for 'incidental dancing'.

Picture of the Lion Dance here (all part of celebrations for Sheffield's promotion to the Premier League):,,10418~823895,00.html

It is possible that Chinese Lion dancing could be deemed sufficiently similar to Morris dancing to qualify for the Morris dancing exemption. It would seem at this stage, however, that Sheffield's licensing department do not favour this interpretation. 

More on this story later.

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Jazz gigs cancelled at Ray's Jazz in Foyle's bookshop, London

This message today from Paul Pace, singer, successful jazz gig promoter, and manager of Ray's Jazz:

'Sincere apologies to those who came to hear Ian Shaw perform with guitarist David Preston on Saturday at Ray's Jazz at Foyles. This event and the other in-store musical events booked during May were required to be cancelled at short notice due to licensing issues with Westminster Council. It is hoped that 'Entertainment Licensing' requirements will be deemed satisfactory and a programme of events re-established as soon as possible. Paul Pace, Manager, Ray's Jazz at Foyles, Foyles Bookshop, 113-119 Charing Cross Road, London WC2 0EB'

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But... Jowell praises Purnell In another DCMS press release issued yesterday (08 May 2006), Tessa Jowell said:

"I would like to thank James Purnell for all his work over the last year, particularly on successfully implementing the Licensing Act and playing a key role in shaping the White Paper on the future of the BBC. I wish him well in his new role."


This despite the recent strong criticism of the Act's implementation by a cross-party committee of MPs and the Better Regulation Commission. Almost all local authority licensing officers I have spoken to in the past few weeks have offered unprintable and disparaging comments about the quality of the legislation itself.

Hamish Birchall