Monday, December 09, 2002

Do you have a licence for this hoe-down, sir?

The appearance of this on reminded us that it's been sat in our 'to be blogged' pile for a little while. You might remember a few months ago Billy Bragg and some of that lot campaigned against the law that, if more than two people sing in a bar, you need a licence. Well, his campaign has worked. The new proposal is that any live music must be licenced - way to go Billy.

Now, three points of view are represented here, but the one which we feel we must jump on is the claim that there are safety issues involved.

No, there are not. If you run a public place, you have to have the fire service come and check out that you're safe anyway. And its not like places doing live music are going to be suddenly any less dangerous because a bloke turns up with a tuba and a collection of Linda Rondstatt sheet music, is it? These places need a fire certificate; they need a licence from the royalties collection agency; if they're selling drink they'll need a licence for that, too. What is to be gained from bringing an extra layer of licensing down on them - except, perhaps, a new stream of revenue for local councils?

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