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So, I'm involved in a few local town festivals this summer, and we were having a debate about what we are going to use main stage for, we normally have a band, but someone was complaining about the new laws saying we'd have to apply fro licence to have a band performing?


Anyone got any insights, where can I find the details?

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In fact you should always have applied for a licence, it's just how you do it has now changed (oh, and the penalties for not doing so).


Talk to your local council.

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I'm fairly sure that up to a certain number of people (500?) all you need is a temporary event notice (T.E.N.). This can cover anything previously covered by public entertainment / theatre / cinema / alcohol licenses and costs £21 from my local council.


Over 500 people and it gets much more complicated and expensive.


The licensing department at your local district/borough council will tell you all you need to know.

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I'm fairly sure that up to a certain number of people (500?) all you need is a temporary event notice (T.E.N.).

A TEN might be the way to go but they have a load of restrictions on them not limited to just the number of people.

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The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is the government agency responsible for licensing - the have a fair amount of information (including application forms) on their website: DCMS Website.


In general you need a licence for any of the 'licensable' activities to which members of the public are admitted:

  • Performance of a play
  • Exhibition of a film
  • Indoor sporting event
  • Boxing or wrestling entertainment
  • Performance of live music
  • Playing of recorded music
  • Performance of dance
  • Other entertainment of similar description

There are two basic types of licence relating to events: a premises licence and a temporary event notice (TEN). Premises licences are designed for longer-term regular events and are usually issued to venues. The application process is fairly extensive - as a guide, it took approximately 3 months last time I did one. The forms are simple, but the supporting paperwork takes the majority of the time. Once you've got a licence, it doesn't need to be re-applied for each year as long as it isn't revoked and you keep paying for it!


Temporary Event Notices are much simpler and are designed to be used for one-off events. They can be applied for by anyone (although there are restrictions on the number that you can apply for in one year, the number applied for for each venue and if the sale of alcohol is involved). They require a minimum of 28 days notice but will essentially allow you to host an event for up to 499 people (remember that this includes performers, crew etc.) Events held under a TEN can last for up to 96 hours but there must be a 24 hour gap between consecutive TENs.


The standard warning with either of these licences is that you need to be aware of the penalties that apply if you're found to be in breach of your licence terms. Many of the changes to the law in this area were to ensure that individuals could be held responsible rather than companies - i.e. understand what you're getting in to before signing the form!

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