The Arts and Politics - Examples - Restrictions On Live-music Venues - in The United Kingdom

In The United Kingdom

Further information: Licensing Act 2003#Impact on live music

Following the implementation of the Licensing Act 2003, the London Borough of Hillingdon cited "the interest of public order and the prevention of terrorism" as reasons for expecting promoters of live music events to complete the Metropolitan Police's Form 696. Though later clarified by a police spokesperson as not "compulsory", the perceived "demand" for the information solicited on such "risk assessment" forms motivated Jon McClure, lead singer with Reverend and The Makers, to post an electronic petition in the "E-Petitions" section of the official website of Gordon Brown, the UK Prime Minister, at Number10.gov.uk, in order to facilitate protest against what McClure alleges is "racial discrimination" occasioned by such bureaucratic constraints, which some have deemed "police authoritarianism". It begins: "We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Scrap the unnecessary and draconian usage of the 696 Form from London music events". By 11 November 2008, according to Orlowski, "A dozen London boroughs implemented a 'risk assessment' policy for live music that permits the police to ban any live music if they fail to receive personal details from the performers 14 days in advance." Orlowski points out:

The demand explicitly singles out performances and musical styles favoured by the black community: garage and R&B, and MCs and DJs. … However all musical performances - from one man playing a guitar on up - are subject to the demands once implemented by the council. And the threat is serious: failure to comply 'may jeopardise future events by the promoter or the venue'. … UK Music chief Feargal Sharkey … speaking to the Department of Culture Media and Sport's hearing on venue licensing today … 'Live music is now a threat to the prevention of terrorism'. … In response, Detective Superintendent Dave Eyles from the Met's clubs and vice office told us that 10,000 such Risk Assessments would be processed this year. He said they weren't compulsory: … 'We can't demand it - we recommend that you provide it as best practice. But you're bloody silly if you don't, because you're putting your venue at risk.'

By early March 2009, over 16,000 British citizens or residents had signed McClure's E-Petition, which remained open to potential signatories until 1 December 2009.

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