AIF ‘concerned’ with new parliamentary bill

Crowds at Glastonbury Festival 2010 by Sara Bowrey
Crowds at Glastonbury Festival 2010 by Sara Bowrey

Festival organisers are watching with interest as two new bills working their way through Parliament could have repercussions for those putting on live events.

The Live Music Bill could remove a lot of red tape, as it includes plans to allow pubs to host gigs for 200 people or fewer without having to apply for a licence, although they may have to end earlier.

At the same time, The Police Reform & Social Responsibility Bill, which aims to “rebalance the Licensing Act in favour of local communities, authorities and the police”, contains proposals that would make it easier for people to object to temporary events licenses, and would also allow councils a much wider scope in attaching conditions to the granting of licences.

Music industry professionals are hoping to raise their concerns to the House Of Lords, with some worried that the two bills will prove contradictory, with one promising de-regulation, while the other could put more obstacles in the way of staging festivals and live events.

Claire O’Neill, General Manager of The Association of Independent Festivals, said: “We are incredibly concerned that changes to the bill will be passed with a ‘one size fits all’ approach that could be a further blow to UK festivals and music events.

“Festivals are one of the few places that people come together to celebrate and enjoy life in a relatively incident free environment, certainly compared with town centres on a Friday night. We urge the House of Commons Committee to reconsider those aspects of the Bill that will be detrimental to this positive social and cultural phenomenon.”

The Police Reform & Social Responsibility Bill goes through the second committee stage in the House Of Lords today (Tuesday).