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UK Government to license Morris Dancing

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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Jul 03 - 06:41 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall

The Government has defeated the small events exemption proposed by Opposition Peers.

The Lib Dem/Conservative alliance crumbled in the House of Lords this afternoon. The Government won by 145 votes to 75. The reason for the turnaround was that during behind the scenes horse trading late last night, the Government offered an outright exemption to morris dancing, and a marginal concession for unamplified live music.

This appeared to satisfy the Lib Dems who decided to vote with the Government. The letters to all Peers from the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Local Government Association opposing the exemption were also influential.

There were powerful speeches in support of the exemption from Baroness Buscombe, who led for the Conservatives, and Lord Colwyn. Significantly, Lord Lester of Herne Hill, the guru of human rights law, also spoke out strongly against the Government position. He warned that it was, in his view, disproportionate interference with the right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention.

He contrasted the level of licensing control with the exemption for big screen entertainment (as did Lord Colwyn, and Baroness Buscombe). He speculated whether Lord McIntosh, the Government spokesman, would in a court of law still say that the Government's position was proportionate.

Lord McIntosh did not answer that point, but said the Government had made a commitment to review the new Licensing Act 6-12 months after the Transition Period - which means in about 2 years' time. He also announced that a 'live music forum' would be set up by the DCMS to encourage maximum take-up of live music under the new rules.

As a formality, the Commons will ratify the Government amendments (probably next Tuesday 08 July) and the Bill should receive Royal Assent by 17 July.

So what will the Bill mean for live music?
It is anyone's guess whether it really will lead to a significant increase in employment opportunities for MU members, and/or new venues allowing amateur performance. A positive outcome will depend to a great extent on the proactive efforts of musicians, performers unions, and the music industry, to make the best of the new law.

What has been achieved?
When the Bill was published it proposed a blanket licensing requirement for almost all public performance and much private performance. All performers were potentially liable to criminal prosecution unless taking all reasonable precautions to ensure venues were licensed for their performance.

Lobbying has led to:

A complete exemption from any licensing requirement for regulated entertainment provided in a public place of religious worship.

A similar exemption for garden fetes and similar functions, provided they are not for private gain.

An exemption from licence fees for village halls and community premises, schools and sixth form colleges.

An exemption for the performance of live music (amplified or unamplified) anywhere, if it is 'incidental' to other activities such as eating and drinking (but not dancing, or another licensable entertainment).

An exemption from licence conditions (but NOT the licence itself) for unamplified live music in places such as bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants (i.e. where alcohol is sold for consumption on the premises) between 8am and midnight (subject to review, if, for example, this gives rise to problems for local residents).

A limitation on licence conditions for amplified music in pubs, bars etc (subject to the same review procedure above), restricting those conditions to public safety, crime and disorder only.

A complete exemption for morris dancing and similar, and any unamplified live music that is 'integral' to the performance.

An exemption from possible criminal prosecution for ordinary performers playing in unlicensed premises or at unlicensed events. Now only those responsible for organising such a performance are liable, this includes a bandleader or possibly a member of a band who brings an instrument for another player to use. There remains a 'due diligence' defence, however (taking all reasonable precautions first etc).

A clarification that at private events, where musicians are directly engaged by those putting on the event, this no longer triggers licensing (however there remains an ambiguity that if entertainment agents are engaged to provide the band, this does fall within the licensing regime).


In spite of all this, the Bill does mean 'none in a bar' is the starting point of the new licensing regime. Any public performance of live music provided to attract custom or make a profit, amplified or not, whether by one musician or more, is illegal unless licensed (other than in public places of religious worship or garden fetes etc).

In the opinion of leading human rights lawyers, like Lord Lester, this remains a disproportionate interference with the right to freedom of expression - whatever the Government may say about how easy or cheap it is to get the licence. The point being that there is and never has been evidence of a problem sufficient to justify such interference. Why add new rules where there are enough already?

The Bill for the first time extends entertainment licensing across all private members clubs, and registered members clubs. It also captures private events, such as charity concerts, if they seek to make a profit - even for a good cause.

The Bill creates a new category of offence for the provision of unlicensed 'entertainment facilities', which would include musical instruments provided to members of the public for the purpose of entertaining themselves, let alone an audience.

However, the 'incidental' exemption could prove to be quite powerful, but that will depend to a great extent on how local authorities choose to interpret the provision. The Guidance that will accompany the Bill may become particularly important on that point, and others.

This is by no means an exhaustive analysis of the Bill's provisions for live music, but should serve as a summary.

My sincere thanks to all who have kept pace with these developments and lobbied their MPs, Peers and the press.

My thanks to Hamish.


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Jun 03 - 12:21 PM

The following is a plain-text version of a joint letter which EFDSS, the Morris Federation and the The Society for International Folk Dancing sent to all Labour MPs yesterday.

-----
Mark Gibbens, Development Officer, English Folk Dance & Song Society
[ Tel 020 7485 2206 | Web www.efdss.org ]





**Licensing Bill - small events exemption - live music

As the national representatives of folk dance and music in England and Wales, we ask that you support the small events licensing exemption for the performance of live music reinstated by the House of Lords on Thursday 19 June 2003.

If the DCMS and the Government have concerns about any negative implications of the exemption we would ask that they seek to work constructively with the Opposition to improve it, rather than simply overturning the amendment.

The principle of the exemption is to encourage live performance in venues of all kinds, and to restore proportionality to the Bill. If any place can be fitted with big screens and a PA to provide broadcast entertainment, or a stage, lighting and PA for stand-up comedy, without licensing under this Bill, there is no justification in requiring the licensing of almost all public performance of live music. These apparently arbitrary exemptions are one reason why 12th Report of the Joint Committee of Human Rights, published on 13 June, has warned again that the Bill is potentially incompatible with the right to freedom of expression.

The Government has yet to take this fully into account, and in our view a small events exemption is the best way forward.

**Folk dance and drama

From remarks made by the Government in the House of Lords last Thursday, it is clear that the Licensing Bill will do nothing to protect traditional dance and drama from unnecessary regulation and red-tape - in fact it adds the disincentive of criminal prosecution for the organisers of unlicensed performances.

Current legislation provides grey areas which in effect allow small-scale and informal folk arts activities to take place at the discretion of the landowner or local authority. However, the Licensing Bill makes it very clear that entertainments licensing is required for any public 'performance of dance' or a 'performance of a play', in 'any place'. The Bill also adds criminal liability for anybody organising such activity which is not licensed.

Government assurances that spontaneous performances will not be licensable and that Local Authorities will be encouraged to license public spaces for entertainment ring hollow. Nearly all folk dance displays which take place are a regular, planned and vital part of peoples' cultural experience, which will not be considered spontaneous by Licensing Authorities. To suggest that thousands of public spaces at which small-scale folk dance and drama take place each year be covered by Premises Licenses makes a mockery of the Government's stated aim to remove unnecessary red tape and it is likely that organising folk dance will become a criminal offence in many of these spaces.

The Licensing Bill needs amending as soon as possible to ensure that folk dance in England and Wales does not require unnecessary entertainment's licensing, and we urge the Government to consider the following amendment:

Unamplified community dance and theatre in the open
[XX] (1) The provision of entertainment consisting of the performance of a play or a performance of dance is not to be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment for the purposes of this Act where:
(a) the entertainment takes place wholly in the open air, and
(b) the entertainment itself, or accompanying music is not provided in whole or part by means of, or with the assistance of, electrical or electronic amplification, or made more readily audible by such amplification either in the place where the performance is occurring or in any other place, and
(c) the entertainment ceases no later than 11.30pm.
(2) Nothing in this paragraph shall be read as rendering invalid or otherwise affecting any provision of, or any regulation made under, any other legislation that applies to the entertainment or the premises on which the entertainment is to take place.

Please do all you can to ensure that the Government makes the most of this opportunity for increasing access to and participation in the arts, and that the Licensing Bill serves to support our traditional art-forms and not undermine them.


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jun 03 - 09:34 AM

The full Lords debate on 19 June 2003 can now be seen on the following.

http://tinyurl.com/et2l

Is the following the best that the Government can offer?

>Snip<

19 Jun 2003 : Column 951

Lord Redesdale: I gave the Minister notice earlier of a particular question about the provision of folk dance. I know that it falls outside this amendment. However, I have had a large number of representations from the folk dance world. Kim Howells, his right honourable friend in another place has definite views on folk dance. However, I would be very grateful if the Minister could give some indication over how temporary event notices will work in relation to Morris men so that they may be reassured in carrying on their activities.

>Snip<

19 Jun 2003 : Column 951

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I can say something nice to the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, about morris dancing. He will have heard, as I have, the moral law that only two things are absolutely forbidden incest and morris dancing.

I want to make it clear that when morris dancers arrive at a pub unannounced for example, on the way back from another event and have a pint in a pub garden, and start dancing, there is no need for an authorisation of this kind.

They would not be providing entertainment that fell within the definition of the provision of regulated entertainment. No genuinely spontaneous activity I say this to the noble Lord, Lord Colwyn, as well whether it is singing, dancing, or playing a musical instrument, will be caught by the Bill.


So if a coachload of lap-dancers and stippers stopped off in your local on their way home, and proceeded to perform - they would not be caught by the Bill either. Or presumably drugged-up young dancers on their way home from their rave?

I am not sure how you can ever genuinely claim it is spontaneous, to get all the members of a Morris side dressed-up with musicians ready to play. But should you advise in advance that you are to perform anywhere - this will be illegal without a licence.......

Where are the words and the word spontaneous - in the Bill that support what the Noble Lord says is the case?


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 May 03 - 05:47 PM

How about a massed Morris demo?


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 May 03 - 07:42 AM

The English Folk Dance and Song Society are hardly the most radical body in the land, things must be indeed serious if they are permitted to issue such a letter.

Can those that have them, please also ensure that our MPs all receive a copy of the above letter from EFDSS?

And that they receive a satisfactory reply or continue writing to our MPs until they do?

I think this is our only chance.

Please do something before it is too late.


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 May 03 - 02:02 AM

The following from Mark Gibbens.

Again - sorry for the length of this!

EFDSS has now written to all 16 MPs on the Standing Committee discussing the Licensing Bill, to set the record straight after Kim Howells implied we were now happier with it. The letter (text pasted below) has also been sent to key members of the House of Lords, a few other MPs not on the Committee, and the Joint Commission on Human Rights.

Please feel free (read "strongly encouraged") to use the text of this in letters to local MPs.

Best wishes,
Mark.

-----
Mark Gibbens, Development Officer, English Folk Dance & Song Society
[ Tel 020 7485 2206 | Web www.efdss.org ]
--- Original Letter ---

Sent to: Bob Blizzard MP, David Crausby MP, Mark Field MP, Jane Griffiths MP, John Grogan MP, Nick Harvey MP, Mark Hoban MP, Kim Howells MP, Kevan Jones MP, Fraser Kemp MP, Jim Knight MP, Martin Linton MP, Malcolm Moss MP, Adrian Sanders MP, Graham Stringer MP, Andrew Turner MP, Lord Redesdale, Baroness Buscombe, Viscount Falkland, John Bercow MP, Peter Pike MP, Mark Hendrick MP, Barry Sheerman MP, Hugo Swire MP, Jean Corston MP & Professor Feldman.


RE: Folk Arts and the Licensing Bill

I am writing in response to some comments voiced in the House of Commons Committee which is currently discussing the Licensing Bill. The implication seems to have been made that somehow the Government has eased the fears of the folk arts community concerning the Bill.

The English Folk Dance & Song Society (EFDSS) has been engaged in talks with the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) for several weeks, but to date we have had very few of our concerns addressed by the Department, and many of our questions have been left unanswered. It is for this reason that we are concerned we are being misrepresented to a certain degree in the House of Commons debate.

Dr. Howells was reported in the 8 May Hansard to have said, "I have had lengthy meetings with representatives of all the large morris, folk song and dance groups, including wassailers, storytellers and mummers. I took them through the Bill and they were much happier at the end of it than they were when we began."

As far as EFDSS is concerned, this is absolutely not the case. We were very grateful to the Minister for a meeting with us on the 3rd April, and that he has opened the door to further discussions between ourselves and the DCMS. But in reality, we remain worried by the legislation and have not received adequate answers to the specific questions we raised.

I would therefore like to reiterate our principal concerns to assist discussions in the remaining few days of committee stage.

*Folk Dance in the Open on Public Land*

As EFDSS understands it, folk dancing in the open on public land is not currently licensable, except in Greater London. Under the Licensing Bill, regulations will be extended to cover folk dance on public land - in fact in "any place", according to the Bill's definition of a premises.

We have had great difficulty in trying to make this simple point to the DCMS, who have supplied us with somewhat misleading responses.

A DCMS statement made to us on 24 April asserted,

"Folk dance in the open on public land is already licensable in Greater London and in the parts of the country where the local authority has adopted the appropriate parts of Schedule 1 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982."

However, when EFDSS sought the advice of independent licensing experts, Chris Hepher and Dr. Colin Manchester, we found that the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 extends only to those entertainments held on private land. Furthermore, our attention was drawn to a statement made by the 1982 Home Office Minister, Mr Timothy Raison, who remarked that "the controls extend only to entertainments on private land, because in practice there are already means of controlling events which take place on land which is not in private ownership".

Dr. Howells painted a very different picture to the House of Commons to that which he painted for EFDSS at our meeting with him. The House of Commons was told,

"They [EFDSS et al] were worried that they would suddenly have to apply for licences for performances that take place in public on the side of roads and so on. Such activities are not licensable. They will not be affected."

However, when EFDSS met with the Minister on the 4th April, we were told that such activities will be licensable and that our only recourse would be to work with the DCMS to encourage local authorities to ensure that all public spaces are licensed. Certainly, our own reading of the Licensing Bill is that folk dance taking place on public land is caught, though it seems that even the DCMS are unsure of exactly what the reality is likely to be.

To clarify our position, we still feel strongly that the Government has not made an adequate case for extending entertainments licensing to cover folk arts on public land. This position seems to be strongly supported by Mr Timothy Raison's 1982 statement, above. As a result, we feel that to work with the DCMS to encourage Local Authorities to licence all public spaces for folk dance would be at best an exercise in damage limitation, but would not do much to address the fundamental problems posed by the legislation.

*Folk Club*

EFDSS has warned the Government that many folk music and song clubs which are currently not covered by entertainments licensing might become so under the new Bill.

Many such clubs currently operate as private, members only clubs where attendees have to join at least 48 hours before benefiting from any entertainment. By doing so, we believe there is no requirement for them to have a Public Entertainments Licence. Under the proposed Licensing Bill, there will be no such get-out, and the majority of England's 400 folk clubs could become licensable.

I am sorry to have to say that since first submitting this concern to the DCMS in February, EFDSS has had no answer. In view of this lack of response, EFDSS can only reiterate its earlier questions:

As we understand it, the Health and Safety at Work Act, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, and the Environmental Protection Act all currently provide adequate controls for small scale music and dance performances.

1.How does the Government feel that folk clubs will be affected by the Licensing Bill?

2.Why is current, subsisting legislation deficient with regard to folk clubs?

3.What is the pressing social need to extend entertainments licensing regulations to cover folk clubs when broadcast football matches and loud recorded music in pubs remains exempt?

4.Does the Government feel that folk clubs are an acceptable casualty in the pursuit of its other licensing objectives?


*Recommendations*

*Automatic Small-Scale Entertainment Permission Included with Premises Licence.*

EFDSS feels that if an automatic permission to host small-scale entertainment was included with a Premises Licence, then such activities could be covered by a degree of Local Authority control without requiring additional costs or conditions on the part of the premises owner. We believe that a definition of "small-scale entertainment" shouldn't be difficult to draw up, but should certainly include unamplified music and song, as well as folk dance which is accompanied by acoustic music.

This is not so much an attempt at making folk arts a special case, but more a recognition that there is no evidence to suggest that such activities pose a greater risk to the public than the normal business of a premises.

As with the "two-in-a-bar" permission, the DCMS has argued that such a rule would encourage the majority of venues to stick at the "ceiling" created by a permission with any kind of "cut-off point". In other words, if venues had an automatic permission to host, say, 6 unamplified performers included with their Premises Licence, why would they ever bother asking for more?

Of course, this argument is contradicted by the DCMS's other mantra, that it will be free and easy for venues to "tick the box" and get full permission for public entertainments.

But more importantly, the Government does not appear to have supported it's argument against an automatic permission with any evidence about the likely behaviour of venue owners. It is unlikely that all venues will ask to host entertainment at the time when they apply for their premises licenses, or if they do some might be asked to make improvements to the venue which they can't afford. An automatic permission would allow a balanced level of cultural activity to take place at any venue which is open to the public, not because there is never a risk to the public, but because there is no evidence of risk beyond that posed by the normal running of a premises.

*Exemption for Folk Dance and Drama in the Open Air*

Small-scale folk dance in the open does not require licensing as public entertainment any more than an informal cricket or football game in the open. Moreover, it is likely to be significantly damaged by being made "regulated entertainment".

EFDSS cannot accept the argument, made by Dr. Howells in a recent letter to the Morris Federation, that there is ... [no] justification for treating public land outdoors in a different manner to other places since the issues of safety etc for performers and spectators are no different to those on private land or indoors. Of course the safety issues are different: on a village green or public park there is unlikely to be any risk of structural weakness in the dance floor, the risk of fire is practically nil, and at all but the biggest events there is little or no risk of inadequate emergency exits.

We also note with some disappointment that whilst discussing amendment No. 383 on 8th April, the House of Commons Standing Committee decided that it was impossible to create a definition of folk dance that could cause it to be exempt from entertainments licensing. Dr. Howells said, "Defining this sort of activity is fraught with difficulty and provides grounds by itself for rejecting amendment No. 383."

We feel that it would be quite possible to arrive at an exemption for folk dance and drama which would reflect the fact that such activities pose little or no risk to the public. If the Government feels strongly the need to extend entertainments licensing to cover public as well as private land, an exemption for folk dance could use as a basis the fact that it is almost always accompanied by unamplified instruments.

An exemption worded along the lines of 'a performance of dance in the open air which is accompanied by live, unamplified music', would seem to address many of the concerns of all sides. Without amplified music, any dancing in the open is necessarily limited to the immediate area of the musicians, and is highly unlikely to cause a public nuisance.

Likewise, an exemption for folk drama such as mummers' plays and pace-egging could easily focus on their non-amplified and non-staged nature, without the need to define "what is folk" - something even EFDSS finds tricky!

It is also possible to imagine amendments which would focus on measured noise levels, or the number of people present in the audience. Either or even a combination of these factors could easily be used to distinguish between folk dance in the open and other forms of entertainment which the Government has said it wants to licence, such as the "rock concert on a village green".

As long as any exemption avoids treating folk arts as a special case, and focuses on the the fact that there are some activities which simply do not require licensing control, exemptions for small-scale community dance and drama in the open should not prove impossible to the Government's skilled legislators.

*Ability for Local Authorities not to require licenses where inappropriate*

The majority of folk arts events in England are small-scale and simply do not require licensing as forms of public entertainment. The Government has shown absolutely no evidence to the contrary, and anybody who has seen a morris team performing in a town square, or has been at a pub while a folk session is taking place, would understand that the only purpose that entertainments licensing can serve in such situations is to generate revenue for local authorities.

However, it is our experience that local authorities do not pick and choose when it comes to legislation. In fact, it is surely their duty to apply the law to the letter. We believe that local authorities will be extremely unlikely to allow folk arts events which they know about to go unlicensed. Mummers who have traditionally performed at the Red Lion in Cerne Abbas found last year that they were not allowed to stage their play in the pub because the local authority had become aware of the event and had to enforce the letter of the law. The suggestion that the authority might have been able to turn a blind eye to small-scale events that should not need licensing was dismissed by Jill Haines, chairwoman of the West Dorset District Council. On the Radio 4 Today programme, she stressed that the authority "could not turn a blind eye" to any licensable events.

Given the difficulties clearly faced by Local Authorities in interpreting legislation, coupled with the "one size fits all" approach which the Licensing Bill takes, EFDSS would like to suggest an amendment to the Licensing Bill which allowed local authorities, where appropriate, to decide that a particular event, though technically licensable, could be given discretionary exemption from entertainments licensing on the grounds that it clearly doesn't need licensing. Local Authorities may well want to seek the advice of local fire and police services before taking such a decision, but if they were allowed by law to rule in this way, many small-scale folk arts events could be protected from being licensed out of existence.


In summary, I must stress that EFDSS remains very concerned about the effects of the Licensing Bill on the folk arts. The DCMS has provided practically no reassurance to date, nor have they explained why any of the activities we are concerned about will not be affected by the Bill. Furthermore, they have provided no evidence to support their case for extending entertainments licensing to catch most folk arts activities.

I hope this letter has provided you with some helpful advice as regards amending the Bill to ensure that England's traditional arts are not adversely affected by it.

I am of course available should you have any further questions.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Gibbens
Development Officer, EFDSS

'Phone:      020 7485 2206
Email:      mark.gibbens@efdss.org

--- Letter Ends ---


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 15 May 03 - 12:59 PM

I sent the Echo story to my MP and received the following:

Message subject: Just a very common story

This is to advise you that your email has been blocked and will be deleted by the Houses of Parliament in due course since we believe it has inappropriate content. The intended recipient has not received the email.

In the event that you believe the email has been blocked incorrectly please contact the intended recipient directly to discuss its release.


This action rather makes my point, I think. *Smiles*


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 15 May 03 - 09:16 AM

The following is about dance anyway.

Not an uncommon story this one. Another live music venue is lost for reasons nothing to do with the reasons claimed for preventing the application.

Will the Bill change this?

Dorset Evening Echo 14 May 2003
By Emily Pykett emily.pykett@dorsetecho.co.uk

Pub boss says she will appeal rejection of licence application.

LAPDANCE LANDADY IN VOW TO BATTLE ON.


Controversy over lapdancers and strippers performing in a rural pub is rumbling on. The landlady of the Royal Oak in Bere Regis, Elizabeth Jayne, vowed to appeal against Purbeck District Council's decision not to grant her a public entertainment licence after an outcry from local residents.

Around 60 people, including clergymen, protested at a heated meeting of the licensing committee in the Drax hall yesterday, and produced a petition bearing 503 signatures opposing the plans.

The council, which received 11 letters of objection, also heard that the West Street pub, was not high enough, the stairwell was not wide enough and the car park too small for a public entertainment venue.

After councillors voted unanimously not to grant the licence, Mrs Jayne. 55, said she would not give up the fight.

She added, I'm going to appeal to the magistrates courts to overturn the decision because I am not applying for a licence for lap dancers and strippers, I am applying for a public entertainment licence. "Lap dancing was just something I thought might be required for hen and stag nights, and I would not be holding more than six of these a year."

Mrs Jayne, who has the support of a rival petition signed by 230 sympathetic customers, said "It is very frustrating that the villagers are being so bloody-minded about it. They claim I am bringing the village into disrepute. "Sleepy old Bere Regis wants to stay in the 16th century."

But villagers also said they would dispute any appeal. Mum-of-three Alison Bennet, 40 who runs a community drop-in centre opposite the Royal Oak, said: We are very pleased with the result. "We realise there will be an appeal butt we won't just leave it at that.

"We are a village in the heart of Thomas Hardy country where people side by side, year in year out, with great community spirit. "It could damage village life forever and people won't stand for it. "The pub already advertises sexual cocktail drinks called things like Multiple Orgasm and Sex On The Beach. "It is simply not acceptable."
   
No one from Purbeck District Council was available to comment.


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 May 03 - 12:47 PM

I think that your members also have a role to play here in talking to the licensees of pubs where they regularly perform and making them aware of what the Bill will require in relation to regulated entertainment and what they would need to do to ensure the activities you carry out and the places in which you perform (such as the pub garden or car park) are included in the application for a premises licence.

I rather like the bare-faced cheek of the buck passing on this one.

For no good reason except the Government's pride and stupidity, the Bill prevents the culture, Howells claims to encourage and the responsibility is passed to the dancers.........


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 May 03 - 07:16 AM

I thought it may be an idea and timely - to bring these up again, to remind us that Dr Howells is a man of many words - non of them very reliable.

From a letter of 04/09/02 from Dr Howells to Rt Hon Chris Smith MP.

We recognise the importance of having a reliable definition of what constitutes a public performance and it is clear that if a musician or other performer is accepting money for a performance then it would be regarded as a public performance.

Similarly, it can be argued that any performance by unpaid performers, which was publicised with the expectation of bringing in extra customers and consequently extra revenue to the licensee would meet the definition of public performance.

If a member of the public engaged in a spontaneous rendition of a song on the piano, inviting a sing-a-long [sic], it would not be considered public entertainment.

I must reiterate, however, that even where a performance is regarded as public, the main current deterrent of an exorbitantly set licensing fee would no longer be available and there should therefore be greater freedom for all musicians and singers.

[Of course the statement that a 'spontaneous' redition of a song (even Happy Birthday) on a piano, would not be considered as public (or regulated) entertainment is totally wrong AND misleading.

A piano (that can be played) is a entertainment facilty requiring advanced permission as part of a Premises Licence.

So despite this incorrect and misleading statement made to a fellow MP, under the Bill the traditional piano singalong is now not possible.


AND

Mike Harding: No, just sessions and singarounds, people just playing for their own fun.

Dr Howells: No, they certainly wouldn't and I'm very keen that we should make sure that that facility is there. There shouldn't be a problem. As long as money isn't changing hands, then there's no /reason why they should have to have a licence.


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 May 03 - 07:05 AM

The following from Mark Gibbens.

I apologise for the length of this, but I hope it will be useful.

In summary, Kim Howells recently wrote to John Bacon of the Morris Federation with the intention of addressing some of the concerns about morris dancing and the Licensing Bill. What The Minister declines to mention in his letter is that it was also agreed at our meeting (on the 4th April) that he would answer any other questions we left with his civil servant, Dominic Tambling. We submitted several such questions, which were all repeated from earlier representations dating back to February. We're still waiting for the reply to those.

But before the Minister's letter, I have forwarded a response on it from Hamish Birchall.

Best wishes,
Mark Gibbens, Development Officer, English Folk Dance & Song Society
[ Tel 020 7485 2206 | Web www.efdss.org ]

From: "Hamish Birchall" Subject: Morris dancing - open spaces - Minister's latest letter

The Minister's arguments for extending criminal law sanctions over Morris dancing in the open on public land - unless licensed - are utter drivel.

It is ridiculous for him to suggest that 'issues of safety etc ... are no different to those on private land or indoors'. Of course the safety issues are different: on a village green or public park there is unlikely to be any risk of structural weakness in the dance floor, the risk of fire is virtually nil, and at all but the biggest events there is little or no risk of inadequate emergency exits.

Contrast the Minister's arguments with the Government exemption for big screen broadcast entertainment: a pub (or any building or open space) can be packed with boisterous crowds jumping up and down - no entertainment licensing required. Remember also that the performance of dance is exempt from entertainment licensing in places of religious worship, at non-profit-making garden fetes and similar functions.

During last year's World Cup, Bar Oz in Corn Street, Bristol, had to conduct an emergency evacuation because exuberant fans watching a match on the first floor caused ceiling plaster to rain down on customers in the ground floor bar. This was reported in the licensed trade press at the time. The government is aware of this and has concluded that separate safety legislation covers such risks.

The DCMS has also received written representations from the Association of Chief Police Officers who wanted televised sporting events to be included as licensable public entertainment on crime and disorder grounds. The Government rejected ACPO's recommendation. With that in mind, the Minister's suggestion that Morris dancing should be licensable because it carries public nuisance and safety risks would be hilarious if it was not clear that, on this occasion, it is not one of his famous jokes. I would suggest that the Government has no evidence that small-scale dancing on public land warrants increased criminal law sanctions.

It is preposterous that the licensing of village greens and similar places for such activity should be at local authority discretion, and indeed that even if they do licence them, a further permission from the local authority would be required by Morris sides before any non-spontaneous performance. As for spontaneous dancing being exempt, on 24 April I raised this with a legal adviser at the DCMS and the Local Government Association. The DCMS did not reply to my email, but Trish O'Flynn of the LGA did.

The LGA's view, of course, is more relevant than the Minister's since LGA's members are responsible for enforcement. Here is the relevant section of the exchange:

HB:    '... Let's assume that under the new regime the landlord of a typical small pub had been granted an authorisation on his premises licence to continue to host the solo and duo musicians that he has been putting on for years without a PEL. However, he did not seek permission for "a performance of dance" because he believes this
only applies to the sort of performance described by the Minister [i.e. not spontaneous - also in Committee Howells specifically stated that people dancing for their own amusement did not fall within the definition of a 'performance of dance']. Does this mean that this landlord would not be committing an offence to allow pub
customers to clear away the chairs for an impromptu boogie to a CD playing on a jukebox, or one musician playing a song?...'

LGA:    '... my understanding is that he would be committing an offence as Sch.1 para 3 provides that the provision of facilities for public dancing i.e. the cleared dance area would require a licence.'


Since 1976 the Government has had a duty under Article 15 the International Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) to take progressive steps to ensure that everyone can participate in the cultural life of the community. It is impossible to reconcile that principle and obligation with the increased regulation of live music and dancing in the Licensing Bill. I think it also likely that over-regulation of public dancing, as with live music, is incompatible with Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention.

Hamish Birchall

From: Kim Howells
To: John Bacon, President, Morris Federation
Dated: May 2003

Thank you for coming to meet me with your colleagues from the other Morris dancing organisations, the English Folk Dance and Song Society and other folk groups. We agreed that it would be helpful for me to set out the general position in relation to Morris dancing and other folk activities under the Bill.

Public performances outdoors are of course already licensable in Greater London and in some other places where certain legislation has been adopted or applies or byelaws have been made. The Bill will introduce consistency throughout England and Wales and this does mean that in some areas activities which are not currently subject to licensing will be caught.

The Government does not believe that there is any justification for treating public land outdoors in a different manner to other places since the issues of safety etc for performers and spectators are no different to those on private land or indoors. Ministers have always been clear that the Bill is deregulatory in some ways and regulatory in others but that the overall effect is deregulatory. What the Government wants to achieve is better regulation.

The Government will be encouraging local authorities to obtain premises licences authorizing the provision of regulated entertainment for public open spaces on which many performances take place where they are able to do this. No additional licence would need to be obtained by the organisers of the entertainment for the provision by them of regulated entertainment on premises covered by such a licence for the entertainment it authorises, although the consent of the local authority holding the licence would probably be required. Local authorities would, however, be able to refuse permission for example to performers who might cause nuisance to local residents if that was considered appropriate.

I think that there is an important part to be played by the folk arts community here in encouraging local authorities to think now about the areas of public land for which they might obtain a premises licence and how they might make these available to performers.   I suggest that your members should contact their own local authorities, and those in areas where they regularly perform to discuss this with them. You might also consider talking to the Local Government Association about how they think your aims might best be achieved.

It was suggested that the exemption for incidental live music which the Bill now includes could apply to dance and theatre but an exemption cannot apply where these activities are put on specifically to entertain the public and are not therefore incidental. The live music exemption will work in situations such as a piano player in a corner of a restaurant playing background music, but if the public are attending with the intention of being entertained by musicians then the entertainment is not incidental. Spontaneous dancing will be excluded from the new regime so a group of Morris dancers who spontaneously decide to dance at a pub will not be subject to the licensing laws.

If, however, it is arranged in advance with a publican, for example, that Morris dancers will be performing at the pub for the entertainment of the public, or Morris dancing becomes a regular event at the pub, then this will be a licensable activity. It is appropriate for Morris dancing to be a licensable activity in the same way as other similar types of entertainment because it can raise similar issues of for example public nuisance and safety.

I think that your main concern in this area was that there are many premises where you believe performances currently take place without public entertainment licences even though they are probably required. You are worried that in future these premises will not agree to host such performances, either because they do not want to apply for a premises licence to authorise the provision of regulated entertainment because of potential costs or because they will not be aware that they need to do so.

We would, of course, expect premises where folk activities such as Morris dancing happen regularly, such as pubs, to apply for the appropriate authorisations when converting their existing licence with variations, if necessary, to a premises licence.   The Department intends to take steps to ensure that existing licensees are aware that they will need to apply for an authorisation to provide regulated entertainment under the Bill, perhaps by means of a leaflet.

We would be happy to talk to you to help inform our thinking about what such a leaflet might say in respect of entertainment and folk performances more specifically and how best to raise awareness of the requirements for authorisations. We will also make clear that licensing authorities will only be able to attach conditions to licences, following relevant representations, where these are necessary to promote the licensing objectives, including public safety, and will not be able to attach swathes of standard, and sometimes costly, conditions as some do at present. Including in an application for a premises licence to authorise the supply of alcohol an application to authorise occasional performances by folk groups such as Morris dancers should not therefore lead to increased costs for a licensee.

I think that your members also have a role to play here in talking to the licensees of pubs where they regularly perform and making them aware of what the Bill will require in relation to regulated entertainment and what they would need to do to ensure the activities you carry out and the places in which you perform (such as the pub garden or car park) are included in the application for a premises licence.

The system for permitted temporary activities will also be of benefit to your members if they are performing in places which do not have premises licences or club premises certificates authorising the provision of regulated entertainment of the type you provide.

Temporary event notices can be given for one off events such as traditional fairs. This is a light touch system that requires no more than a notification to the local authority and the police so long as the limits provided for in Part 5 of the Bill are complied with and the police do not raise an objection, which they can only do on the basis that the event would undermine the crime prevention objective.   

These notices can cover events lasting for up to 72 hours where a maximum of 499 people attend at any one time. Non-personal licence holders will be able to give five such notices in a year and personal licence holders fifty (a personal licence is a licence granted by a licensing authority which authorises an individual to supply alcohol in accordance with a premises licence). Only five notices may be given in respect of any particular premises within a year, though I have agreed to consider an amendment tabled in Committee in the House of Commons which would increase this limit.

There is no limit to the size of the area that can be covered by a temporary event notice or premises licence and a notice or licence can cover, for example, a town square, part of a park, one street or a number of streets. The precise area covered by a licence or notice will depend on the details of the place to be used given by the applicant or premises user when making the application or notification.

Finally, I encourage you to continue to discuss the Bill's statutory guidance with officials if you have further concerns regarding Morris dancing and other folk activities.

I am copying this letter to those who attended our meeting.

Dr Kim Howells


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 10 May 03 - 07:37 PM

hELoo, i stiol think theyn should fubc off and get lost, if morriiss dancing was gageroius then i under stand there moaning, but it isent.john
ps, i will do some morriss dancing rifght now, and if the goberment peoplol domnt like it , then thgey can just kiss my fat arse.jihn
aniother ps=i am morris dancing right now.john


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 May 03 - 05:51 AM

Standing Committee 8 May 2003

Judge for yourself if Dr Howells actually answered the following question or just whittled away (and was allowed to), yet more precious time.

Mr Moss: Can the Minister say that, having explained the Bill and its implications to various groups, in the main they are now satisfied that the requirements are not too onerous and expensive, that they can live with them and that they will not curtail their activities, which are an important part of rural life?

To go back to something that I said this morning, if we are to make new law, let us make sure that it improves the situation, rather than it imposing more regulation and making life more difficult. That will lead fewer people to say that the new law is too much hassle and they cannot be bothered with it.

I speak sincerely about the rural community. I know more about it than about the urban community. A great deal goes on in the rural community—we will come to that in the next series of amendments—and if the requirements of the Bill are too heavy, they will impinge on the day-to-day activities of many people in the rural environment, to the detriment of our culture and our society.

I tabled the amendment as a probing amendment to ascertain whether there had been contact with those who will be affected by the Bill. Such contact has indeed taken place, and I am grateful to the Minister for talking to those people. I know that in any event he has an open-door policy for anyone who wants to talk to him, and that is a good thing. I also sought clarification of the implications for various groups in the event of a non-advertised situation.
(snip)

Dr. Howells: I shall come to that. I am sure the Committee would want to know that it was this Government who ended the ban on dancing on Sunday, which had been in place for 200 years. So there is an upside, and we are not intending to crush culture in every respect.

Amendment No. 383 would not exempt folk music and dance from the requirement for an authorisation under the temporary event notice system. Instead, it would remove the requirement for the person giving the temporary event notice to provide information about the licensable activities to be carried on at the event in question, where those activities involve
''folk music or folk dance performed in the vicinity of the premises in the open air''.
Column Number: 447
The only benefit to be derived from the amendment would be a negligible reduction in the effort required of the person giving the notice. That must be measured against the potential for larger-scale activities that could give rise to concerns relating to the licensing objectives. The hon. Member for North-East Cambridgeshire is right to point out that that would not always be the case, but he mentioned an example in his constituency. The amendment would deprive the police of the information necessary for them to judge the implications of an event for crime prevention.

The hon. Gentleman asked a number of specific questions. One of them was about morris dancers stopping off at locations that they may decide on as they go along. During my conversation with morris dancing groups, I was told that they drive around in their minibuses and when they see a good spot—it may be by a beautiful oak tree or where there are lots of people—they stop and dance. It would be extremely difficult, if not absurd, for them to have to seek some kind of permission to do that, and we are not saying that they should do so.

The onus will be on the premises user to ensure that he or she possesses the necessary authorisation for activities to be carried out. For example, that would apply to the festival in the village that the hon. Gentleman mentioned, the name of which I missed.

Mr. Moss: Whittlesey.

Dr. Howells: On the main evening of that festival, several thousand more people than usual may be in Whittlesey. Special permissions may have been sought for extensions, and events may be taking place at pubs and other places. It is important that the organisers of such events and the performers are well versed in what is required of them, that they are able to do those things well and that they have a good relationship with each other. As I tried to explain to the hon. Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Turner), common sense is required, and I am sure that there have been examples of festivals that have been blighted by the lack of it, but I am unsure whether we can legislate for that in every respect. Often, sheer bloody-mindedness can damage an event that may be enjoyed by 75 per cent. of the town.

When morris dancers decide to perform on a particular day, I am reliably informed by them that it is likely that they will alert the authorities to the vicinity where they will be, especially if their performance is likely to be a big event that draws lots of people.

There is nothing to stop the local authority from licensing large stretches of public space such as streets, roads or greens so that entertainment can be performed there. During my conversation with the morris dancers, I discovered that many local authorities have done just that.

There has never been a problem with that, and we do not envisage that any will arise in the future. Morris dancers who perform on roads may be providing regulated entertainment, but the expectation is that in many such cases the local authority will have obtained a premises licence, which will enable them to undertake those activities, and even to enjoy a drink.

Mr. Turner: I fear that the Minister is going back slightly towards his brief. He has been generous in expecting local authorities to exercise common sense, but now he is saying that he would expect the local authority to have obtained a premises licence.

If a carnival is held in Ryde, is the local authority expected to obtain a premises licence for the route of the carnival—first, because there will be a marching band and, secondly, because the marching band will collect money and, therefore, be marching for profit?

Dr. Howells: The local authority will almost certainly have ensured that it was acting within the law in giving permission for the carnival to take place. That may have involved several different actions.

The hon. Gentleman will have to find out from the Isle of Wight authority precisely what it does to accommodate the carnival.

Different demands are put on different areas. For example, Europe's biggest carnival, which takes place in Notting Hill, is an enormous event that involves many different actions by various authorities. The carnival that I go to every year is the Pewsey carnival in Wiltshire—a wonderful event. It is a much simpler business, but it is not easy to organise, either. For a start, it goes on for three days and sometimes even longer, but the local authorities are well used to it. As I have tried to explain to the Committee, we are not about to do anything to discourage local authorities from understanding the importance of such cultural events, not simply as an expression of cultural identity but because they are often economically important to the area.


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 May 03 - 03:57 AM

The following from Mark Gibbens, posted on the EFDSS list.

I cannot believe the dishonesty here.

On Thursday 8 May 2003, in the Standing Committee, Kim Howells said:
I have had lengthy meetings with representatives of all the large morris, folk song and dance groups, including wassailers, storytellers and mummers. I took them through the Bill and they were much happier at the end of it than they were when we began. They were worried that they would suddenly have to apply for licences for performances that take place in public on the side of roads and so on. Such activities are not licensable. They will not be affected.

In the meeting between EFDSS and the three morris organisations, Howells and his legal advisors said that folk dance in the open outside pubs is already licensable (which is itself not true) and that our only recourse is to work with the DCMS to ensure that local authorities license public spaces (something which can only be considered damage limitation with no guarantees).

EFDSS was certainly not reassured by Howells' meeting with us, though I cannot speak for the morris organisations. Rather, we got the feeling that he was very skilled at whittling away our precious hour by waxing lyrical about the Government's intentions - in other words, not much substance but plenty of spin.

I'm glad that Howells seems to have got over his former habit of ridiculing English folk arts at every possible opportunity, but it is at best a huge exaggeration to claim that he has addressed our concerns. For the record, EFDSS has had not even a formal acknowledgement of our report, Regulating the Folk Arts (submitted in February) by the DCMS, let alone an attempt to answer the questions it raised.

I shall be writing to the Standing Committee at the earliest possible opportunity to let them know the extent to which we have been misrepresented.

Best wishes,
Mark.

Mark Gibbens, Development Officer, English Folk Dance & Song Society
[ Tel 020 7485 2206 |
Web www.efdss.org ]


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 May 03 - 02:45 PM

Mr Turner (snip)
- They go in for short events—in some cases, the shorter, the better—
Mr. Kevan Jones (North Durham): Especially with morris dancing.

Mr. Turner: I want the hon. Gentleman's deprecatory remarks about morris dancing put on record.


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 May 03 - 09:32 AM

Read the next exciting instalment in full.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200203/cmstand/d/st030508/pm/30508s01.htm


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 May 03 - 09:20 AM

Standing Committee May 8

Mr. Moss: I beg to move amendment No. 383,
in clause 98, page 55, line 28, at end insert 'except where the licensable activities involve folk music or folk dance performed in the vicinity of the premises in the open air,'.


This is an attempt to revisit some of the discussion under schedule 1 on certain forms of entertainment, in particular morris dancing, folk music and the like. Clause 98 seemed to provide an opportunity to slip in an exemption from the licensable activities referred to in the first line of the clause.

The Minister has already made it clear that licensable activities include not just alcohol, but entertainment and late-night refreshment. I wondered whether we could exempt folk music and/or folk dance performed in the vicinity of the premises and in the open air from the details that need to be part of a statement of a temporary event notice. That might get round some of the difficulties that we are still being told about by those who are involved in such activities.

Dr. Howells: I shall tread carefully, given the adult and fascinating debates that I have had with representatives of the folk music industry. I have thought a great deal about the matter over the intervening period, and I always worry about the definition of folk music. Does some kid singing about the fact that he can't get no satisfaction in the late 20th century constitute a reflection on the quality of his life at a certain point in history? Is that any less valid than somebody who sings about canal boatmen, and the problems that they suffer because they cannot reach their sweethearts, in the 19th century? I always worry about such distinctions, not because I am doubtful of the validity and beauty of folk music—

It being twenty-five minutes past Eleven o'clock, The Chairman adjourned the Committee without Question put, pursuant to Standing Order.

Adjourned till this day at half-past Two o'clock.


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: DMcG
Date: 07 May 03 - 07:58 AM

You're clearly not a civil servant ET - you don't seem to realise words mean what they want them to mean! "The Government does not intend to require the licensing of any type of entertainment ..." That's enough of a loophole for them, because Morris inside pubs now does require a licence.
:-(


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: GUEST,ET
Date: 07 May 03 - 07:52 AM

On the Governments new DCMS website under Licensing, Entertainment, Frequently asked Questions is the bold statement

The Government does not intend to require the licensing of any type of entertainment not already covered by the existing public entertainment licensing laws.

If this is so how come "premises" is extended to any place and the clause in the 1964 Licensing Act that excempted entertainment wholly or mainly outdoors (such as Morris) is brought back in?

Since DCMS is no longer speaking to me does nyone know how to raise this profile particularly with Morris and Sword Dancers etc?


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 May 03 - 03:01 AM

Given the appearence of a fine energetic Morris Side on Saturday night prime TV (Jools Holland BBC 2 May 3rd), this may be good time to refresh this thread and the threat presented to all traditional dance, by our Government's Department of Culture, Media and Sport.


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 10:49 AM

The following to my (poor) MP.

Labour MPs who wish to trust in the advice given to them by official advisors (who have an agenda and wish their advice to be correct), stand to be compromised, if they do not question this advice. An official line of defence (or excuse), that events were already covered by the current legislation is not the same thing as taking the opportunity to present us with true deregulation and the sensible entertainment licensing we are so badly in need of.

If the whole Bill is such a nutritional sandwich, then can you please examine it, eat it or arrange to test it first? Before blindly voting to expect us to be the guinea-pigs that find out exactly how the poison, that you are fully aware it contains, will affect us?

As the hoped for increase in the entertainment licensing take-up figure, also remains an untested and risky gamble, why the indecent haste to make it, when there are sensible alternatives? But most of all - why does the clear, blatant dishonesty continue, when it is so obviously and unnecessarily damaging, both your Government and Party?

As demonstrated in the following - the advice that forms the plank of the inadequate Government defence of this over-regulatory, inconsistent, illogical and dishonest Bill, is simply factually incorrect.

The following is a copy of letter from Mark Gibbens of EFDSS to Dominic Tambling of the DCMS.

>Dear Dominic,

This morning I received clarification on the situation for folk dance (in fact any folk arts) on public land from Birmingham University lecturer and author of Entertainment Licensing Law and Practice, Colin Manchester (see below). He appears to verify EFDSS' understanding of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 that folk dance on public land is *not* currently caught by entertainments licensing, except in Greater London.

I would like to draw your attention particularly to the statement by the then Home Office Minister Timothy Raison, "the controls extend only to entertainments on private land, because in practice there are already means of controlling events which take place on land which is not in private ownership".

In the light of this clarification, do you still stand by your statement, "Folk dance in the open on public land is already licensable in Greater London and in the parts of the country where the local authority has adopted the appropriate parts of Schedule 1 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982."?

Surely a government that was serious about the words "consistent" and "deregulatory" would make it a priority to bring London into line with the rest of the country, rather than extending London's extra regulation to everywhere else?

Best wishes,
Mark.<

--- Original Message ---
From: "Colin Manchester"
To: Mark Gibbens
Sent: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 07:34:49 +0100
Subject: RE: Folk dance on public land, and entertainments licensing

Dear Mark,

My understanding is the same as yours and there is a statement by the Home Office Minister at the time the 1982 legislation was passed to the effect that the controls only extend to activities on private land.

I refer to this in my book on Entertainment Licensing Law and Practice and I have copied and pasted the relevant section below:

"2.19 By para 4(1), 'an entertainment to which paragraph 3 applies shall not be provided except under and in accordance with the terms of a licence granted under this paragraph by the appropriate authority.' An entertainment to which para 3 applies is any public musical entertainment which is held wholly or mainly in the open air at a place on private land in an area in which paras 3-4 have effect(1).

The purpose of this provision is to enable local authorities to exercise some measure of control over open air pop or rock concerts or festivals held in their area(2). Control extends only to those entertainments held on private land and does not cover ones which take place on public property.

During the course of the legislation's passage, the Home Office Minister Mr Timothy Raison remarked that 'the controls extend only to entertainments on private land, because in practice there are already means of controlling events which take place on land which is not in private ownership'(3), although it was not stated what those controls were.

Land is private, for the purposes of the licensing provisions, 'if the public has access to it (whether on payment or otherwise) only by permission of the owner, occupier or lessee.'(4) Thus a licence may be required for concerts staged in areas to which the public generally have unrestricted access, such as parks, if access is restricted and a charge for admission made.

In the case of concerts held in parks, it is likely that the concert will be held wholly in the open air, but the licensing provisions also cover entertainments held mainly in the open air. Thus concerts held in football stadiums, a not uncommon venue for such entertainments, will fall within the provisions of paras 3 and 4.

(1)       Paragraph 3(1).
(2)       See HOC 98/82, App A, para 4: 'its primary aim is to regulate pop festivals, but outdoor concerts and other outdoor entertainments in which music is a substantial ingredient could also come within the provisions.' Whilst music at pop or rock concerts or festivals will feature live performances, it should be noted that there is no requirement in either para 3 or 4 that the music is performed live.

The requirement to obtain a licence should have equal application where recorded music is played in the open air on private land.

(3)       HC Deb, Vol 26, Col 1139 (2 July 1982).
(4)       Paragraph 3(2)(b).

Regards,

Colin Manchester


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 08:16 PM

Eric Blair's or as he is better known - George Orwell's 1984 language is alive and well in namesake Tony Blair's Government.

Where deregulation means more regulation and consistency means inconsistency and the civil servants at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport come up with the following justification for increased and unnecessary regulation for safe and harmless traditions like Morris dancing and sessions.

Ministers have always been clear that the Bill is deregulatory in some ways and regulatory in others but that the overall effect is deregulatory. What the Government wants to achieve is better regulation.

If so perhaps the name should be changed to the Department of Regulation, Regulation and Regulation?

For are we be asked to accept that if the sandwich is filled with rat poison but the bread is fresh, the overall effect of forcing someone else to eat it will be nutrition?

I think not, the only effect achieved by poison is poisoning.


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 07:46 PM

I have sent the following to my MP.

Mark Gibbens, Development Officer, English Folk Dance & Song Society
[ Tel 020 7485 2206 | Web www.efdss.org ]
Asked Dominic Tambling of the DCMS the following.

I appreciate that you are busy. However, I must press for a hasty response particularly on the question of folk dance in the open on public land.

There is a crucial point here - namely that such activity is not currently licensable, yet will become so under the Licensing Bill. Folk Dance in public spaces can require the *permission* of the local authority in a large town or city, though I don't know of any instance where permission has been necessary on a village green. But this is not the same as requiring a entertainments or premises licence. I have been forwarded several DCMS responses to questions on this topic from folk arts representatives, and each response seems at best to completely duck the issue.

I note that Dr. Howells has said in Committee, "We should be slow to impose additional burdens without justification", yet no justification has yet been made for imposing additional burdens on folk dance.

We are running out of time to make this point heard in Committee, so I would appreciate an urgent response to these two direct questions:

a) Does the Government accept the point that to catch folk dance in the open on public land within the Licensing Bill is to extend licensing to an activity which does not currently require a licence?

b) How does the Government justify imposing additional licensing burdens in the case of folk dance in the open on public land?


Dominic Tambling replied:

Folk dance in the open on public land is already licensable in Greater London and in the parts of the country where the local authority has adopted the appropriate parts of Schedule 1 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.


He is correct on one point: the legislation in London is different, and technically public dancing in 'any place' is licensable in Greater London.

But again this is licensing reform, so even if it is currently licensable, given the stated objectives of this so-called deregulatory Bill, where is the evidence of the risks presented by it, that mean it should remain so?

Where is the Government's logic? The situation is identical to the one that existed with churches. So logically, the choice should be exactly the same choice that was made for churches. The churches in London were brought in line with those outside London and all made exempt. So all dancing on public land in London should also be made exempt, to bring it into line with the situation outside of London........

Can the Standing Committee establish why the Government are proposing the exact opposite?

For Mr Tambling is completely wrong about the legislation on PUBLIC land outside of London. The adoptive part of this legislation to which he refers is paragraph 3 of Schedule 1 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982. This applies to performances on PRIVATE land, not PUBLIC land.

If a local authority adopts this provision (and almost all have), a PEL is required for public performance on private land (i.e. pub car park or garden).

But PELs are not currently required for open air events on PUBLIC land outside London.

So despite the deregulatory claim - yet more, perfectly safe and valuable cultural activity is to come under completely unnecessary and impossible to enforce licensing regulation. Can the Standing Committee establish why and what the evidence and justification is?

In the following, the DCMS at least agree that the Bill is increasing regulation, do you still support your Government's claim that the Bill is not? For there can be no question that for music and dance the overall effect of this Bill is a dramatic increase in regulation.

The Bill will introduce consistency throughout England and Wales and this means that in some areas activities which are not currently licensable will be caught.

However the claim that the Bill introduces consistency is illogical and reckless: As performance of dance in any place of religious worship (which could be in the open) will be exempt. As will performances of dance at non-profit-making garden fetes and similar functions. This is hardly introducing consistency.

The Government does not believe that there is any justification for treating public land in a different manner to other space since the issues of safety etc for performers and spectators are no different.

If they are no different, then all dancing on public land can be treated consistently and follow the Government's logic on the church U turn and be made exempt in London, as they currently are all across the country. Not by using the reverse logic and doing the very opposite by making all dancing on public land licensable as it currently is in London.

Given the above and the stated objectives of this Bill, if the safety of performers and spectators cannot be regulated except by permissions under the Licensing Bill, then clearly there should be no exemptions at all (especially for churches and TV sport).

Ministers have always been clear that the Bill is deregulatory in some ways and regulatory in others but that the overall effect is deregulatory. What the Government wants to achieve is better regulation.

Long live Sir Humphrey! That means trample and ignore the culture, let's have the regulation instead.

The Government will be encouraging local authorities to license public land so that folk groups would simply have to request permission to perform on it, as they often do at present. Local authorities would, however, be able to refuse permission to performers who might cause nuisance to local residents such as young people with sound systems if that was appropriate.

The DCMS say the Government is going to just ENCOURAGE local authorities to licence some public land.
Can the Standing Committee establish how with the Bill as worded is it possible to require (or refuse) a further permission for premises that are already licensed for public music and dancing?

Can the standing Committee establish the evidence and justification for increasing the regulation and terminally damaging our precious cultural traditions in a completely reckless and illogical manner?

PLEASE HELP....................


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: AggieD
Date: 24 Apr 03 - 06:42 PM

The Morris Federation (& I believe the Open Morris & probably The Morris Ring), has an insurance scheme for members. So that when we dancers start leaping about & accidentally beat a jobsworth from the local licensing authority over the head, we can be safe in the knowledge that this 'accidental' act of injury to the person is covered by insurance!


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 06:52 PM

Article in The Publican on fees.

http://www.thepublican.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=9283&d=32&h=24&f=23&dateformat=%25o%20%25B%20%25Y


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 11:46 AM

The following from Mark Gibbens

EFDSS met with Kim Howells and some of his legal advisors two weeks ago. One of the clarifications we sought was the situation for folk dance in the open on public land.

Sadly, the situation is even more worrying than below, according to what the Minister's advisors said.

Personal licenses will only be available to people who are organising entertainment *where alcohol is sold*. If you are just dancing (and not selling alcohol), you will need a premises licence - which is obviously not appropriate for a morris team performing in sometimes as many 50 "premises" a year.

We were told that the only option for such teams was to dance in places that are already covered by entertainments licensing. Teams will therefore be at the mercy of local authorities, some of whom may ensure their town centres and public spaces are covered by licensing. Realistically though, I don't hold out much hope that many public spaces will be licensed.

So it seems that even if Morris teams were to afford their own licensing, there will be no option open to them that would adequately cover what they usually do - as far as I understand it, and as far as you can trust a DCMS analysis. The Morris Federation were at the meeting with us and asked whether they could negotiate a PRS-style license that would cover all of their members. This suggestion was rejected by the Minister.
-----
Mark Gibbens, Development Officer, English Folk Dance & Song Society
[ Phone: 020 7485 2206 | Web: www.efdss.org/licensing ]


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 10:58 AM

I understand the bill has not yet been passed, and publicans have not yet been asked to apply under the new system, right? If you're talking about 5% under the old PEL system, then this would surely be because of the massive extra costs to do so, costs which no longer exist under the new system.

In the few areas where councils (unlawfully) use the current system as a 'cash cow' it certainly is a deterrent but as I pointed out, most of the PEL fees are NOT in fact set too high. For example West Dorset still charges just £60 for a full PEL. The real deterrent to a higher national take-up figure must then be another factor.

I suggest, and the licensee say - it is the hidden costs of application i.e. emergency exit lighting and other aspects that suddenly become essential when a PEL is requested. This will still be the main factor why many licensees will subject themselves to yet more contol and possible expense.

When pub owners are aware they can get something for nothing as far as entertainment licensing is concerned, I'd be amazed if those numbers didn't go up to the high 90 percents!

I hope you will be right but I doubt it and it still remains a risky gamble where we are the ones that stand to lose out. But I think even the Government would be amazed it they did reach that high a figure. They do not appear to be showing any concern if it should not do so.

But what exactly is a licensee without a PEL who has been providing currently exempt music - getting for nothing?
Well exactly what they were getting for nothing before - as long as they now pass the inspection with no additional and expensive conditions being imposed on activities which were always perfectly safe. Always assuming of course that they in fact apply.....

Isn't this the point? If every pub owner gets a Premises License "for free", ALL premises will become available for music-making. No more restriction of sessions, no more crack-downs from petty bureaucrats.

Then why take the gamble, why on earth make application for entertainment OPTIONAL????????

It will not be for free, as all pubs will be paying more for the new Personal Licence, the Premises Licence and the annual inspection charge - just to enable them to serve alcohol. The only places that will pay less overall are those who currently pay over the top for PELs. However, a lot of these are dancing nightclubs which only have a PEL to enable them to open late and do not provide any live music at all.

Granted, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the PRS sent round a "scare" letter to pubs with the entertainment element of the license. Organisations like this tend to do things like that.

The highest PRS fees are for live music so any pub that has applied to provide it, will get a vist from the PRS first. So by making the application the licensee is saying 'come and get me'.

Do you really still think 90% is likely? Even if you should be right, that still leaves 10% where one person singing is an offence. Do pubs really need to go through all the hassle, just to have us playing in them and will they be prepared to do so for more pain and very little gain?

If all pubs were now to be made safe for entertainment, the figure would be 100% and any figure less that this is incompetence on behalf of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

Some form of live entertainment (if limited) can take place now in ALL 100% of our licensed premises - instead if improving the scope of this entertainment - this Department will have gambled and suceeded in placing this all at risk - and why?


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: Grab
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 09:05 AM

especially when only 5% of premises have currently applied for additional entertainment licensing permissions

I understand the bill has not yet been passed, and publicans have not yet been asked to apply under the new system, right? If you're talking about 5% under the old PEL system, then this would surely be because of the massive extra costs to do so, costs which no longer exist under the new system. When pub owners are aware they can get something for nothing as far as entertainment licensing is concerned, I'd be amazed if those numbers didn't go up to the high 90 percents!

As under the Bill, all premises (exept churches), will have to hold a Premises Licence and be inspected, why cannot ALL premises automatically be made safe for any music making? The premises can then choose not to exercise the option, or choose to exercise it at short notice at some future date, but the authorities will not then be able to ever claim that any premises will be made unsafe if one person should sing in them.

Isn't this the point? If every pub owner gets a Premises License "for free", ALL premises will become available for music-making. No more restriction of sessions, no more crack-downs from petty bureaucrats.

I can certainly see that the inspection step could be a problem - this would be the stage where the bureaucrap could get in. If you and Hamish Birchall are looking at keeping that consistent across the country, with guidelines and stuff, then good on you.

Say a licensee did not wish to pay PRS fees, they would be unwise indeed if they applied for the entertainment element of the Premises Licence.

How so? If they're hosting bands other than trad folk, then yes. But if they're only doing folk music, can the PRS get involved? For the PRS to shove their oar in, would they not first need to show that we were playing songs by their members?

Granted, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the PRS sent round a "scare" letter to pubs with the entertainment element of the license. Organisations like this tend to do things like that.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 06:47 AM

The following from Ric on the Action fo Music Yahoo email list.

I've spent most of the weekend at Gosport and played in sessions without a problem, most of them in premises with an entertainment
licence although we had 2 mega pub sessions without any hassle, both
advertised in the programme.Perhaps the fact that the bloke who
organises it is also on the town council was an influence.

A friend did approach a local pub before the festival started
about having a session on the premises, the licencee was keen but
when musicians turned up they were told the "two in a bar" rule
applied.

The Victory Morris dance programme 2003 contains the following
message;
       Licentious Acts and Other Pleasures

The demonstration of Morris you see before you is provide by
Victory Morris, a licenced member of the Morris Re-enactment Society,
The RING.

The RING was established shortly after the final phasing out of
the Morris from English tradition in 2003 ( following the Music
Licence Act 2003 which made it impossible to perform in any venue
without a licence ).The following year, 2004,the term "English" was
also phased out and the area became Europe (Nord), "Tradition" now
officially dates from 1957 and is primarily based around Elvis
Presley and Les Beatles.

The RING was convened to provide examples of Morris Dancing to
the general public, to demonstrate the dangers inherent in allowing a
native culture or tradition to survive unregulated.
   
    Points To Note in this Demonstation

1, The participants imbibe alcohol: This does not meet with Health
and Safety guidelines laid down by European statutes relating to
consumpion of liquids in vessels measured in archaic units of pints
and quarts.

2, The dancers inbibe alcohol and wave heavy wooden sticks around,
thus endangering themselves and hapless members of the public.This
contravenes European legislation regarding the conservancy of timber
and also breaks length-of-stick guidelines, the length being in
illegal feet and inches rather than the Euro-metre.

3, The dancers inbibe alcohol, wave heavy sticks around and then
sing.They do not sing songs recommended in the European Guidelines
Volume 3 appendices viii ( Ode to Joy, Marseillaise or Deutscheland.
Deutscheland Uber Alles ), but instead insist on Frog-bashing This
contravenes the Amphibians Conservation Act 2002.


4, The dancers are enjoying themselves.


Note: These dancers are licenced Re-enactors NOT real Morris- men (
as Morris dancing is now illegal) They will not therefore, under any
circumstances, under threat of losing their entertainment licence,
dance " Wreck of the Victory ", as this dance is still banned under
the Geneva Convention as being too much fun.


Other Re-enactment groups of interest are:
   "The Happy Birthday Band" , The Society of Spontanious Song.
"You Ain't Singing Anymore" , The Society of Football Crowd Re-
enactments.


excerpt from FOLK ENGLAND: An alternative Universe


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 07:20 PM

Anyway, the PRS issue is clearly unrelated to the Licensing Bill, present or future.

To you or I maybe. To a licensee who has to pay, the two are related.

Say a licensee did not wish to pay PRS fees, they would be unwise indeed if they applied for the entertainment element of the Premises Licence.

Again you can make a judgement but we have to accept that if these people do not apply - there will be no live music in these places and there is nothing that you or I can do about it.

If you had a suspicious nature, you may even believe that the need to specify that entertainment was to take place was only to enable PRS to know which places to approach...............

The PRS may well have argued that their job would be made more difficult without PELs or the optional enetrtainment element of the Premises Licence?


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 06:59 PM

"Unless the pub owner had made his application to host licensable entertainment at the same time as his application to sell alcohol"... which is free and requires no more than that the pub owner fills out the form correctly. Sorry, I don't hold too much sympathy for someone who lands themselves in the crap through their own incompetence.

I am sorry but if we are talking of incompetence, if the object is providing safe public premises, the question that must be first answered by our Government, and has yet to be, is why must all live music (except in any church), be risked by being licensed and subject to a (so-called) no cost OPTIONAL additional application?

I consider this to be incompetence, especially when only 5% of premises have currently applied for additional entertainment licensing permissions. And despite the cost of some of these being very high, it must be stressed that the vast majority of PEL fees, in most of the country are less than the cost of the proposed annual inspection charge of the new Premise Licence.

For this course runs the risk that the very thing the Department of Culture is set up to promote. Much of which is presenting no risk to anyone, and will not be able to take place, then or at some future date - if the premises do not choose to take up the entertainment option, on first application of the mandatory Premises Licence.

But if the application really was only a simple matter of ticking a box (which even Dr Howells is now qualifying by saying you will have to write a few sentences explaining the nature of the entertainment) and there was not the risk of councils demanding expensive alterations to provide music, why on earth should this permission be even be a requirement? And an OPTIONAL one, if the issue is safety?

As under the Bill, all premises (exept churches), will have to hold a Premises Licence and be inspected, why cannot ALL premises automatically be made safe for any music making? The premises can then choose not to exercise the option, or choose to exercise it at short notice at some future date, but the authorities will not then be able to ever claim that any premises will be made unsafe if one person should sing in them.

As the main safety concern associated with music making is over crowding - all premises could have a maximum safe capacity imposed on inspection for the Premises Licence first application, and the problem of not being able to hold music because an application was not made (incompetence or not), is very simply solved.

Schedule 1 of this Bill, the definitions of regulated entertainment i.e. what will be prevented without an additional licence, is just a simple and clumsy attempt to close all the loopholes which resulted in just a 5% take-up figure of the current PEL. If this licence alone really had ever ensured our safety etc, this may have been considered a laudable aim.

But no evidence has been presented to show that current and exempt live music making in many of the 95% of premises without PELs, has presented any risks that could not be dealt with by other exsisting legislation.

So the Government are simply prepared to gamble that more than 5% of premises will now willingly subject themselves to more council control and apply for the option to provide live music.

Be it incompetance or self preservation or whatever on behalf of licensees, if the majority of these premises do not choose to apply, and many are saying that they will not, then whatever judgements you may make, or lack of sympathy you may have - live music making is in big trouble. As the local authorities have shown the lengths they will go to in order to prevent any unlicensed entertainment.

Although due to a late change forced upon the Government, musicians taking part in unlicensed music making will not be criminals - organisers will now be.


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: Grab
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 02:56 PM

Shambles, the linking of PRS "licensing" and alcohol/music/dancing "licensing" is really confusing the issue. Hamish Birchall's email does make it clear that the two are separate, however I can't for see what point he's trying to make by mentioning it in that email, unless he's getting them to tighten up the wording. In a Licensing Bill for licensing alcohol and public entertainment, anything saying "is/is not licensed" should be pretty obviously to do with that license, although it's no bad thing to have the wording say this explicitly. I presume anglers aren't also complaining because it doesn't explicitly say that it doesn't cover fishing licenses as well? ;-)

Anyway, the PRS issue is clearly unrelated to the Licensing Bill, present or future. "Licensable music" as far as the PRS are concerned is that written by their members. In fact, to quote directly from the FAQ on the PRS website:-

(start quote)
What is your position on the Government's new Licensing Bill?

The new Bill proposes changes to Public Entertainment Licensing (PEL), which is quite different to the licensing that PRS and MCPS undertake. PEL is undertaken by local authorities and is, effectively, a permit to stage live music. A PRS licence is required in addition to a Public Entertainment Licence (and will continue to be so). Nothing in the Government's new Bill affects the way in which PRS licenses the public performance of music on behalf of its composer and songwriter members.
(end quote)

"Unless the pub owner had made his application to host licensable entertainment at the same time as his application to sell alcohol"... which is free and requires no more than that the pub owner fills out the form correctly. Sorry, I don't hold too much sympathy for someone who lands themselves in the crap through their own incompetence.

Doktor Doktor, re that "summer evening tour", I do have sympathy on that score. Could you get away with that by saying the location was the whole area, in effect being a moving event, and just move the event between pubs? :-) Of course, if you make sure that all pubs know they need to tick the right box on the form, then there'd be no charge for you at all.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 09:54 AM

The following From Hamish Birchall

I must apologise for a misunderstanding on my part concerning the
Government's intentions for private events that provide 'regulated
entertainment' in order to raise money for good causes.

I thought the Government had amended the Bill to ensure they were not caught.

This is not the case. The Government intends that these events will
be illegal unless licensed, except where the intention is simply to
recover costs. The MU website will be updated accordingly as soon
as possible.

When the Bill was in the Lords, the Government withdrew the Bill's
sub-paragraph that defined 'with a view to profit' as including 'any
case where that entertainment is, or those [entertainment] facilities
are, provided with a view to raising money for the benefit of a charity.

However, this did not alter the section of the Bill that renders private events licensable where regulated entertainment is provided if the event is 'for consideration and with a view to profit'.

At last week's first meeting of the new music advisory group for the
DCMS, clarification on this subject was sought from Andrew
Cunningham, who chaired the meeting.

His explanation went something like this:

if people sold tickets for a private event with the intention of making a profit or surplus (even if this is for a charity or
good cause), then the event is licensable.

However, if people were not charged with the intention to make a profit, i.e. they were simply asked to chuck some cash in a bucket if they felt like it, then the event would not be licensable.


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: GUEST,JohnB
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 12:39 PM

I will be suggesting our side write to some of those Email addresses too.
Thanks, JohnB.


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: Rara Avis
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 08:57 AM

Thank you, Shambles, for the addresses. I will write letters.


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 04:38 AM

You might be interested in this letter, which appeared in the latest edition of the Lute Society's newsletter Lute News.

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

In mediaeval times university men used to debate how many angels could
dance on the head of a pin. If only they had lived till now! The nice Tessa Jowell, and that clever Kim Howells (or should that be Kim Il Howe?) at the Department of Culture Media and Sport have finally resolved the matter, as follows:

Under the new Licensing Bill, currently before parliament, up to 500
angels will be able to dance on the head of a pin, without a licence from their local licensing authority, provided that, firstly, the performance is not to any extent for members of the public or a section of the public, or exclusively for members of a club which is a qualifying club in relation to the provision of regulated entertainment, or for members of such a club and their guests, or if neither of the above (i.e. even if the dance is private) provided that they are not dancing for consideration (that is, a payment
made by an audience to watch the angels dancing, to the angels, or to the owner of the pin) and with a view to profit (including the profit of a charity, if the angels are dancing for charity); secondly, provided that the head of the pin has not been provided for the purpose, or for purposes which include the purpose, of enabling the dancing to take place.

If these provisos are not met, or if in any case there are more than
500 angels, then a licence will be required: either a temporary events
licence, if the angels do not dance on the pinhead more than 5 times a year, or, if they dance more than 5 times, then the pinhead will need a fully-fledged premises licence, and a more substantial fee will have to be paid. Any angel attempting to dance on the head of a pin without a licence, under circumstances where a licence is required, could be liable to a fine of £20,000 or six months in jail, as could the owner of the pin.

Under an amendment recently tabled by the government, if the head of
the pin is located in a church, then no licence will be required, and if it is located in a church hall, parish hall, or village hall, then a licence will be required, but the licensing authority will not be permitted to charge for the licence.

If the angels are in a pub or bar, the pub landlord may install a
jukebox without seeking any variation from his original premises licence provided that the angels only listen to the music, and do not attempt to dance. If they have brought their pinhead with them, and begin to dance to the music of the jukebox, then both they, and the pub licensee will be committing an offence under the new law.

    There now! What could be clearer than that?

Mrs Trellis, North Wales


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 02:38 AM

I don't know what else to say except that these bans reduce the pleasure of the cultural experience and I'm so sorry that it's happening.

Thanks for the support and you don't need to say anything more here but it may be of some help if you make your views known to our Government and copy it to our media......

kim.howells@culture.gsi.gov.uk

letters.online@telegraph.co.uk

letters@guardian.co.uk

letters@thetimes.co.uk


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Apr 03 - 07:13 AM

Details of a concert on Brighton Beach with Fat Boy Slim.

http://www.meridiantv.com/artman/publish/article_1779.shtml


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Apr 03 - 07:09 AM

I am still trying to work out the point of Roger's post about PRS. The issuing of PRS licenses has nothing to do with local authorities' responsibility for licensing of venues and never has done.

Given certain noises about measures to deal with piracy creeping into thinking of the Bill at a late stage, it may well prove to have. But the point Hamish Birchall was making was a response to the DCMS claim that 'spontaneous' (however they define this) music was not licensable.

Difficult to see, if like every other licensable music the PRS have a fee set for it - that this form of music alone should not follow suit and be licensable also........................

This from Hamish.

The DCMS is factually incorrect in stating that spontaneous performances are not licensable.

They probably meant 'not licensable under the Licensing Bill', which is arguable, but that's not what they said.

And I wonder if they are aware of the scope of copyright licensing? If not, they should be. They should not be allowed to get away with claiming spontaneous performances are not licensed without adding 'under the Licensing Bill'.

I checked with PRS about the nature of the offence of performing copyright works without permission and in certain circumstances this can be a criminal offence.


And on the current law on outside events and Morris etc.

The discretionary element of entertainment licensing that applies outside London (Local Gov. [Miscellaneous Provisions] Act 1982) is whether or not local authorities adopt s.3 of Schedule 1, i.e. the power to licence entertainment events on private land (such as a pub car park or garden).

Most local authorities have adopted this part of the Schedule, which is why Morris dancing in such places is illegal without a PEL. The legislation does not apply to events in the open on public land, and that was why the Fat Boy Slim concert in Brighton did not hold a PEL.


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: DonMeixner
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 08:23 PM

WEll I just read this thing. I think it's about time you Brits stopped tell us that the government that runs the United States is a pack of idiots when you have got a full boat of them over there.

Don


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: Rara Avis
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 04:00 PM

Mumming, strumming, dancing with sticks, dancing while wearing antlers, colliery bands, music hall, panto. It's all part of your heritage and it is absolutely criminal that your government seems intent on licensing it out of existence. I've been trying to follow these PEL threads but, not being fluent in UK government mean spiritedness, they make my head spin. I adore spending my holidays in the UK and while I enjoy the beauty spots and churches and the like, it is the music and dancing that connects me to my past. There is something supremely satisfying to listen to songs as they've been sung for hundreds of years. Mind you, it's pleasing to hear the same songs updated so they resonate with today's culture but it's that connection back through history that is most meaningful. I don't know what else to say except that these bans reduce the pleasure of the cultural experience and I'm so sorry that it's happening. Good luck with your fight.


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: vindelis
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 02:36 PM

Have I missed something or is it simply a case of 'scrap the programme' and just turn up, dance to the empty chairs and then move on to the next 'venue'. Once apon a time, people (not all I grant you,thanked the ladies of Esperence Morris for keeping the tradition alive, while their husbands, fiances and boyfriends were fighting in the trenches. Was it all a complete waste of time?


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: GUEST,Cookieless Nickp
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 02:25 PM

Just in case Guest John B is panicking about all this talk of big money insurance, members of organisations like the Morris Federation are often able to have this as part of the membership deal. I don't think the Fed. has any restrictions on Canadian - or other non-UK - members although maybe someone more knowledgeable can drop in here


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: clansfolk
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 08:07 AM

Peter from Essex - many areas are now quoting us £10 million pounds public liability - not just local authorities/street entertainment, some large complexes, shopping centres, and even private fuctions!!! - that's as hired artists not buskers!!!

thank God for the MU!

Pete


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: clansfolk
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 08:01 AM

- Didn't use to need a licence per se, although pubs & festivals did and mass dance events that involve closing off streets always have involved a lot of negotiation with the town hall.


The new license proposals have not yet been passed - when you say "Didn't use to need a licence" did you mean prior to current restrictions and licensing???

Presuming the entertainment to include music and dancers - the current "Two in a Bar" rule applies on licensed premises (including car park, forecourt etc. In a public place - local bye-laws cover this under busking permission/license (charges vary as does permission and restrictions) furthermore if a collection is to be made a further license will be required (again charges/permission/restrictions vary from area to area and can of course be nil. Local licensing/permission for public entertainment will also (normally) be restricted to certain areas.


Pete


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 06:02 AM

For the benefit of GUEST 11@26 AM - local authorities normally require 5 million pounds public liability cover for street entertainment.

Alexis - the act as originally worded made every single performer in a choir, orchestra or dance troop criminaly liable if they personaly failed to check the status of the venue. The only serious "improvement" to come out of the debate is that this has been changed so that only the person responsible for taking the booking carries that liability now.

The expemption for "garden parties" should protect Bampton, assuming that that is what the act actualy says and not just DCMS spin. For the street dancing will it be possible to license the whole town as one venue or will each stand require its own license?

I am still trying to work out the point of Roger's post about PRS. The issuing of PRS licenses has nothing to do with local authorities' responsibility for licensing of venues and never has done.


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 02:54 AM

Seriously, how the hell will this affect us?

Well you have a year. Although it is not looking good, no one really knows at this stage what the situation will be then, for this Bill has still to go back to the House of Lords. So there is still time year to organise and to support the groups here by writing to your media and our media and both our Governments.

The point has been made that this Government minister is also responsible for attracting tourists to the UK, so will be more likely to pay attention to you, than they have been to us......The more concern expressed from overseas the better, it is ironic that our traditions are far more valued abroad that they are here.

The DCMS letter in the first post of this thread is interestingly and perhaps hopefully a response to a letter of concern from France.....


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: Troll
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 09:14 PM

Don't sweat it, JohnB. These dangerous idiots will probably ban all performances by foreigners as threats to "Traditional English Culture".
What do you want to bet that someone is in the pocket of the jukebox industry? Or the broadcast industry? Or both.

troll


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: GUEST,JohnB
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 12:58 PM

Our side Orange Peel Morris is planning a trip to England next year. We are located in Canada. Should we buy one way tickets to keep the cost down and rely on being deported back to the Colonies for Illegal Morris Dancing? Something which is NOT Illegal in Canada.
Seriously, how the hell will this affect us?
JohnB (planning spontaneous Morris for next May)


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Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
From: stevetheORC
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 11:32 AM

Totaly agree wid Guest, except they should also be flogged and hung at least twice a year until they learn the errors of their ways.

De Orc

*in Hiding again*


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