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Sun’s out, fun’s out(side)!

31st May 2023 by Sun’s out, fun’s out(side)!

Categories: What's New?
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Summer is here, and that means it’s time to enjoy live music outdoors with friends and a drink in hand, but, before you start jamming in the beer garden, make sure you know what consents or licences you need to legally provide entertainment to the public.

You mean, I need a licence to play music?

In most cases, if you are playing music to the public, or to make money, yes you probably will.

Firstly, you will most likely need to pay music licence fees to an organisation such as PRS or PPL for playing copyrighted music.

Secondly, amplified music, be it live or recorded, is generally considered “Regulated Entertainment” under the Licensing Act 2003. To provide regulated entertainment, you need a premises licence, or club certificate, just like you would to sell alcohol.

But we’ve already got a premises licence to sell alcohol…

 In that case, things may be a little easier. If your premises licence, or club certificate, permits you to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises, the Live Music Act 2012 says that you do not need to separately licence the provision of music (live or recorded), as long as the audience is 500 people or less and the music takes place between 8 am and 11 pm.

There is also an exemption for unamplified music, which is excluded from the definition of “Regulated Entertainment” under the Licensing Act 2003, as long as the performance takes place between 8 am and 11 pm. This means that purely acoustic (without electrical amplification) music (which could be a very loud steel band!), within these hours, does not need a licence at all, no matter how large the audience.

Let’s get the guitars out in the beer garden then!

Before you strum those guitars, keep in mind that even if you have the required licence, or none is needed, there are still things you can do to get into trouble.

Regardless of licensing, nobody is permitted to create a statutory nuisance (most likely to be noise related in this case). In such circumstances, a Noise Abatement Notice can be served.  This would usually specify a time to comply, during which an appeal can be made but in extreme circumstances, such a Notice can have immediate effect and if that is ignored, the amplification and other equipment can be seized.

Further, if complaints are made about a licensed premises, this may lead to a licence review, at which point the local authority can add conditions disapplying the Live Music Act (if you have been transferred the licence from a previous licence holder, this may have even happened before you became involved in the premises, so, unless you have checked your licence carefully, you may not be aware of this).

Lastly, keep in mind that the Live Music Act exemptions only apply within the licensed area of a premises, so check the plan and any potentially relevant conditions carefully, and be aware the conclusions are not always obvious.

If you or your business needs any assistance navigating the licensing regime for a premises (be it shop, bar, pub, club or event), please contact our team today or call us for a chat on 01202 377800 and we will be happy to help.

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