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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Deregulated Entertainment

Before taking her first steps into the legal world, this Kat provided thirsty audiences with beverages in small independent music venues and occasionally put on shows. Musicians would pile in for soundcheck in the afternoon, sit around for five hours and play to, in the most part, appreciative peoples. Beer was spilt, ear drums were burst and the seeds of legends were sown. It was a happy, albeit sticky, time.  The realities of putting on gigs, however, were not always so carefree. The overwhelming fear that no one would attend, having a knock on effect on the ability to pay the band, could quite often be allayed by the appeal of a particular venue. The licensing arrangements were indeed something of a nightmare, but no more. On Monday 1st October, the Live Music Act 2012 amending the Licensing Act 2003, came into effect in England and Wales. No longer will performances of live amplified music in on-licensed premises and workplaces with a capacity of up to 200 people require a specific license (between the hours of 8am and 11pm). Better still, there will be no audience limit for performances of unamplified live music in any location.

The deregulation of live performances in small venues is being heralded by most as a boost for musicians and the wider UK economy. In a Department for Business, Innovation & Skills press release, Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians said:
We all know how important live music is to both working music professionals and to those just starting out in their career. The previous regime made it increasingly difficult to put on live music gigs and saw all kinds of venues threatened with fines. 
Now, musicians will be free to earn a living and hospitals [live concerts in hospitals? Doesn't sound beneficial to convalescence], schools and other venues including pubs will finally be able to put on live concerts without have to seek permission to do so from a council.
Noise and safety implications have been raised by some, perhaps overly, concerned individuals and groups. But for this Kat, it is one area that was deserving of deregulation.


Anonymous said...

I was once advised that piano players will always find work. I've never learned to play the piano but your post gives me comfort in these times of austerity that if the world stops filing patent applications, other options are more likely to be available.

Anonymous said...

It's worth noting that this legislation only applies to England and Wales, not the whole of the UK.

Richard Bridge said...

The present deregulation is almost as wrong as the Act was.

Trust me - I know how hard it is to run a rig even in a small venue. Great inside (but funny when I, at the age of 64, get to tell people a third my age "If it's too loud you're too old") - but a pain in the arse if you are trying to get your child to sleep half a mile away. And when the noise is talentless karaoke singers (I do that too from time to time if drunk enough) there is no cultural validation.

Amplification should be subject to licensing: pre-licensing. It is too late to try to get the local council once the racket starts. I was recently at the blessing of the wedding of some friends. We had small amps in a private party in a barn and doing mildly reinforced folk and similar music - and we were being materially handicapped by recorded rubbish coming across two or more miles of fields from near Shi**ingbourne. Weekend. Council shut.

Conversely, without amplification there is no need for any sort of licensing regime, except, maybe, for peacocks and bagpipes, or touring troupes of Japanese drummers - but face it, these are rare in this country whereas powerful jukeboxes, 200 watt (audio) big screen TVs, and karaoke are not.

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