Now venues where the audience will be 200 people or less will no longer need a licence to stage live music events.
It is estimated that this could see an extra 13,000 venues across the UK starting to host their own live music nights. Under the new Act, live unamplified music can also now be played in any location. The only restriction on the music is that it must only be played between the hours of 8am and 11pm.
The Live Music Act started life as a private member’s bill, designed to remove some of the restrictions put in place on live music by the Licensing Act 2003.
Not everyone is happy about the new Act, however. The Noise Abatement Society predicts a dramatic rise in complaints over noise.
There is some comfort however for any residents who are worried about noise, since the Live Music Act does not allow licensed premises to cause a noise nuisance. Other noise legislation, such as the Environmental Protection Act 1990, will continue to apply.
The Live Music Act has a number of mechanisms built in for the protection of residents, such as:
- If there is a review of the premises licence the Licensing Authority can apply conditions to it relating to live music, to apply even between the hours of 8am and 11pm;
- If the licence does not authorise live music the Licensing Authority can add conditions as though the live music were regulated entertainment authorised by that licence, again to apply between the hours of 8am and 11pm.
- The Licensing Authority can decide that live music at the premises is a licensable activity and live music can no longer be provided without permission on the Premises Licence or a Temporary Event Notice.
Of huge significance is the fact that the Act also removes the need to licence entertainment facilities completely – whatever the time or audience size. This means that dance floors, microphone stands and pianos made available for use by the public will not be licensable once the Act comes into effect.
The Act was designed to encourage musicians and live music being played in pubs, and not designed to cover karaoke, but karaoke is another form of entertainment that will no longer require licensing, as long as the other criteria of the Live Music Act are met.