Supporting Musicians'and their LIVE MUSIC
3rd July 2007
From: Alan White
As a live music enthusiast, often visiting the keyboardnews web site to catch up with the latest news - and now in posession of the Government's response after signing the e-petition, I seriously question whether the Government is actually listening. I wholeheartedly agree with everything that's been published on your web site to date. Thank you.
Doing a little surfing to help pass the time and, hopefully show my support, I have found some news which I hope you will be interested in sharing:
In a BBC London News report in May - jazz drummer Hamish Birchall said "The Act is being objected to because of the number of criminal law sanctions against live music".
Jonathan Moberly of the Foundry bar in Shoreditch, East London said "the Act criminalises music" and "makes no distinction between a piano player and an orchester or a sound system".
The Govermnent claimed in 2003 that the Act would be simpler and cost nothing extra - but it was criticised in a report last year by the Better Regulations Commission who said "the actual experience of licensees going through the new process was often far from the streamlined, simplified, efficient and less costly process that the Act led them to expect".
Jazz Trumpeter, Henry Lowther, last year LOST a season of gigs at the Garden Cafe in Regents Park because, under the new Act, the Royal Parks are no longer exempt from having entertainment licensing.
If only more live music enthusiasts would let Keyboardnews know if they have been directly affected, we would have more evidence to prove to the Government that there is a major problem - and give them greater cause to "think again".
Licensing laws in Scotland are simpler to understand and implement. Perhaps the Government should look at how they deal with this?
We owe a great deal of gratitude to all those who are lobbying for change. Thank you, Keyboardnews. I hope you find my contribution helpful.
Incidentally, after The Concert for Diana at Wembley, there were no reports of binge drinkers causing problems. Of course, security was at a higher level for obvious reasons but, at the end of the day, the whole event went well for William and Harry and for the millions of people around the world, too.
30th June 2007
From: M Holland
I have been following with interest all the articles on the keyboardnews web site relating to the Public Entertainment Licensing Act and, as one of the 79,900 members of the public who signed up to the e-petition calling for music and dance not to be restricted by burdensome legislation, I have found some other very useful support.
Lib Dem MP Don Foster - Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary has published a statement as follows:
"The Government must re-exmine licensing regulations in the light of public concern over the damage current laws are having on live music.
The sheer scale of this petition shows the depth of public concern. Live music in a pub is an essential part of Britain's musical heritage so why something as innocuous as providing a piano in a bar should be deemed an offence is beyond me.
The Government claims that there has been no affect on the industry but their own research shows that 40% of smaller venues have lost any automatic entitlement to provide live music. The Government must take note of people's concerns and seek to help the industry grow by REPEALING such bureaucratic legislation.......".
In my opinion, this Act is very difficult to decipher and interpret with any accuracy as to what we musicians can and cannot do - so I think that the Government should draw up a "PEL Quick Reference Guide - What You Need To Know", notifying the British musicians, venue propriotors and the public at large (a) when they are going to publish it in the National Press (b) on what dates, and (c) the Can's and Cannot's explained briefly, accurately and in plain English. This way, we would all have a clearer understanding of this ludicrous and unfair legislation and not run the risk of being fined £20,000 or a prison sentence if we get it wrong.
In any event, I agree with Don Foster. This Act should be repealed".
23rd May 2007
From June Clark
Re: Public Entertainment Licensing Act (2003)
Have just received a response from my MP whom I met with on 4th May:
"I was pleased to meet with you to discuss the problems with Public Entertainment License laws. As I said at the time, I sympathise and feel that if changes are not made to the current stifling regime, the emergence of potential new stars will be discouraged and the ability of people to enjoy live music across the country will be reduced.
Accordingly, I have written to Tessa Jowell MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, asking her to review the Government's policy on this issue. As agreed, I have sent her a copy of your very thorough report and also asked her to comment on its content. I will write to you again when I have heard further".
8th May 2007
From June Clark
Subject: PEL Update
I met with my MP yesterday afternoon to discuss issues, handing him two copies of a document listing 12 key issues - requesting answers to questions - as to why this legislation needs to be urgently reviewed.
He is in full agreement and will be writing, with a copy of my document, to Tessa Jowell for her response and answers. It may take a while, but then these things always do!
He also asked for this quote to be published by our local Newspaper:
"Peterborough Organ & Keyboard Club is an excellent example of local community at it's best. This is an excellent Club and it is regrettable that venues are being hampered because of silly regulations imposed by recent licensing laws".
Wouldn't it be nice if the Government could recognise that when they have got something wrong, they hold their hands up and admit it!
A local paper has also looked into the e-Petition and will be writing a feature, hopefully in next week's issue. This particular paper puts a huge amount of effort into "entertainment" - as much as 4 pages every week on what's on and where in and around the Peterborough communities.
With vey best wishes and kind regards,