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Old 07-03-07, 06:03 AM   #1
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Default 2003 Licensing Act UK - any stories to share?

I've been having to research an issue concerning the Arts and I chose to look into the new Licensing Act and how it's affecting small circuses and Street Performers

So...I was wondering if any UK Street Performers out there have had any problems due to the introduction of the 2003 Licensing Laws and, if so, would you share some stories with me?

Thanks very much!

Last edited by Azi; 07-03-07 at 07:57 AM.
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Old 07-03-07, 07:25 AM   #2
Peter Voice
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Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Are you talking about pub/ liquor licensing?
Every-one should watch their drawers!
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Old 07-03-07, 07:57 AM   #3
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The new Licensing laws cover Alcohol, Entertainment and Late night Refreshment.

What I'm looking at is the entertainment side.

so if you're putting on a play, organising a gig, dancing...anything like that then you need to be licensed. Either as a venue or an individual.

Licenses are applied for and taken care of individual County if you travel a lot and put on shows in venue that aren't licensed (in a Circus, for example, where the grounds don't need to be licensed) you have to apply to every county you go to for a seperate licence.

I think I've explained that right...

Understandably, this can cause many problems. And it's not just the travelling performers that can hit problems.

I've been trying to find out about people who have had problems due to the introduction of the new laws.

I know that Ashton Court Festival in Bristol, for example, were nearly bankrupted by the extra costs of the new licenses (on top of other unforeseen expenditures)

Oh yeah...and I probably should have made it more clear that this is in the UK. Sorry!
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Old 07-11-07, 10:01 AM   #4
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This is what I'm hoping to submit as my argument. Comments?

I have had an interest in Circus for many years now, instilled in me by my set-dad and his own, various little circus-related hobbies. I would be taken along to any shos that happened to pass near by us, and was captivated and intrigues by the wide range of skills on display beneath the big top; from the traditional to the contemporary. This growing interest lead me to dabble in some circus skills myself, including Poi and Diablo.

When I first heard about the introduction of new licensing laws back in 2003, I remember not really taking much notice of it all until it became apparent just how much the chance in legislation would affect travelling performers, with some smaller circuses worrying that they may have to shut down and stop touring altogether.

Having stayed with a small tuoring circus, myself, and met so many people in the business, it really concerend me that this one small change in legislation could potentially cripple the traditional British Circus industry.

There's three main problems, really, that face the circuses with the new laws. Due to the large amounts of different counties that circus visit during one tour, most circuses would have to apply for, on average, 40-60 seperate licenses at around 600 per license. This means that, on average, circuses will have to be paying out around 24,000 per year. There's also the complex beaurocracy involved with applying for all these licenses when none but the biggest circuses are able to have a specific office-space with staff dedicated to dealing with that amount of admin. Finally, the complete lack of flexibility is a major problem for a touring circus. By their nature, circuses need to be flexible; if the weather conditions are too bad to get onto a site or too perform in the bigtop safely, or a competitor has exhausted the market for a circus show in a certain area, the circus needs to have the flexibility to be able to move to a better site and with a licence in place that only covers a specific site for a specific time the circus can't have the kind of flexibility that they need.

Many of the core components of circus performance, including Juggling, Tumbling and Rope Dancing have their roots going back over two thousand years, and the beginnings of the modern circus that we know today lay in england in the 1700's, making the circus very much a British tradition. A tradition that would be greatly missed.

And it's not just the circuses that are getting hit. It is reported that Ashton Court Festival, not-for-profit a music festival held in Bristol, nearly had to cancell for the first time on 15 years due to lack of money. A statement on their website said that -

"Following a year of being hit by increased costs, the future of the Ashton Court Festival is in serious jeopardy...In 2006, the extra costs incurred by the new licensing regulations, plus the ₤8,000 bill for graffiti damage and the ₤11,000 bill caused by people vandalising the estate, have left the festival owing over 100,000. As an independent and not for profit organisation we are entirely reliant on sponsorship and gate income to survive, so there is no margin for error."
"...the controversial new Licensing Act has increased our licence fee from about 1,000 to 16,000"

Thanks to local support and a lot of fundraising and donations, the festival has been able to go ahead this year. Conformation of their License was given only on the 2nd July; less than two weeks before the Festival was supposed to happen!
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