Regulated entertainment can include:
- The showing of films
- The performance of plays
- The provision of live or recorded music
- The provision of boxing or wrestling
- An indoor sporting event
- The provision of anything similar to music or dancing
Provided that this entertainment is in front of a live audience consisting:
- a. Wholly or partly of members of the public,
- b. Exclusively for members of a club or their guests
- c. If not for (a) or (b) above where the event is with a view to making a profit whether the event is open to the public or a private event that is intended to make a profit even if the proceeds are donated to a charity. Where any charge is purely top cover the cost of putting on an entertainment (e.g. paying for a band at a wedding) then this is not with a view to a profit.
However there have been recent amendments to the Licensing Act 2003 and the following is an explanation of how these changes may affect you.
Entertainment licensing: changes under the Live Music Act
The Live Music Act 2012 extends the range of live music performances that can take place without a licence under the 2003 Licensing Act.
Changes to the 2003 Licensing Act. mean that you no longer need a licence for a range of live music performances that used to require one.
The Live Music Act 2012 amended the 2003 Act.
You no longer need a special licence to stage a live music performance if:
- it takes place between 8am and 11pm
- it takes place at a licensed premises or workplace
- the audience is less than 200 people
You don’t need a licence to put on unamplified live music any place between the same hours.
Live music that doesn’t need a licence
Examples of performances that generally don’t need a licence under the Act are:
- spontaneous singing - eg people singing along to recorded music in a pub
- incidental music - live music that is incidental to other activities that aren’t classed as regulated entertainment
- rehearsals and sound checks (unless members of the public are charged admittance for the purpose of making profit)
- DJ playing tracks (unless he or she performs a set which consists mixing recorded music to create new sounds)
The Live Music Act regulates live performances, not recorded music.
Checking if you need a licence
You can check with the licensing team if you need a licence for your live music event. You may need a Temporary Licence Notice (TEN) if you want to have your live music performance on an unlicensed premises.
If you wish to hold a live music performance at a licensed premises, you can check with the venue if they have the right licence.
Exemptions under the Act
Changes that the Live Music Act made to licensing under the 2003 Licensing Act are outlined below.
- It removed the licensing requirement for amplified live music taking place between 8am and 11pm before audiences of no more than 200 persons on premises authorised by a premises licence or club premises certificate to supply alcohol for consumption on the premises (at a time when those premises are open for the purposes of being used for the supply of alcohol for consumption on the premises), subject to the right of a licensing authority to impose conditions about live music following a review of a premises licence or club premises certificate.
- It removed the licensing requirement for amplified live music taking place between 8am and 11pm in front of audiences of no more than 200 people in workplaces not otherwise licensed under the 2003 Act (or licensed only for the provision of late night refreshment).
- It removed the licensing requirement for unamplified live music taking place between 8am and 11pm in any place, subject to the right of a licensing authority to impose conditions about live music following a review of a premises licence or club premises certificate relating to premises authorised to supply alcohol for consumption on the premises.
- It removed the licensing requirement for the provision of entertainment facilities.
- It widened the licensing exemption for live music that is integral to a performance of Morris dancing or dancing of a similar type, so that the exemption applies to both live or recorded music instead of just unamplified live music in that instance.
You no longer need a licence to put on live music in a workplace if the performance takes place between 8am and 11pm to an audience of less than 200 people.
Schools, colleges, village and church halls are all classified as workplaces, though the workplace exemption doesn’t apply if they have a licence to sell alcohol. But you can check with the venue if their licence allows for your performance.
Nightclubs and pubs
Amplified music is allowed in pubs and clubs for up to 200 people before 11pm. Any nightclub that puts on live music after 11pm needs a licence, even if they don’t sell alcohol.
Nightclubs still need licences for recorded music and the supply of alcohol.
Where conditions of a licence have changed under the Act
If the conditions of your licence no longer apply since the Act, there’s no need to have them removed from your licence or to have your licence reissued.
Breaches of the Act: who is held responsible
Someone commits an offence if ‘(a) he carries on or attempts to carry on a licensable activity on or from any premises otherwise than under and in accordance with an authorisation, or (b) he knowingly allows a licensable activity to be so carried on’.
If you’re only involved as a performer or participant of a live music event, you won’t be held responsible for any breach of the Act.
Noise regulations still apply to live music. Environmental health officers from your local council can still intervene if there are complaints about noise.
There is no limit on audience numbers for a performance of unamplified live music which doesn’t take place on licensed premises.
In all other cases, you’ll need a licence or Temporary Event Notice (TEN) if you’re organising an event that might attract more than 200 people - or where it’s difficult to restrict entry. You’re responsible for making sure the audience doesn’t exceed the numbers allowed, and you’ll be breaking the law if this does happen.
If you have more than one performance going on at the same time, you should make sure there’s a clear distinction between them - eg by holding them in separate rooms or on separate floors - so that it’s not treated as a single performance that might exceed the audience numbers allowed.
Live Music Act 2012: Home Office guidance on how to comply
The Home Office has issued revised guidance on complying with the 2003 Licensing Act , which reflects the changes to the law. Chapter 15 deals with entertainment licensing.
Licensing Act 2003 (Descriptions of Entertainment) (Amendment) Order 2013
This order came into force on 27th June 2013 and effectively deregulates the following activities between the hours of 08.00 and 23.00:
- performance of a play in front of an audience of 500 persons or less
- performance of dance in front of an audience of 500 persons or less (unless it is relevant entertainment within the meaning of Schedule 3 para 2A Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 - such as certain forms of sexual entertainment)
- indoor sporting events in front of an audience of 1,000 persons or less
Further, mixed martial arts will become licensable as boxing or wrestling entertainment as opposed to being an indoor sport.
There are further proposed changes to live music and recorded music and a further consultation is still expected in respect of proposals to partially deregulate community film exhibitions.
Contact the Licensing Section
Telephone: 01304 872295