As you can imagine there is a ton of legislation that covers performances, sales of alcohol, even parking the bus in a city centre. We’ve spent the last few months in many discussions about what we can and cannot do with the bus. Below are a few of the things you need to be aware of:
The Licensing Act 2003 & Deregulation Act 2015
The Deregulation Act 2015 became law on Thursday 26 March 2015 and introduced a number of important changes to the Licensing Act 2003. These included from the 6 April exemptions for some entertainments to be licensed under the Licensing Act 2003. These are explained briefly in the following list:
Live amplified music in on-licensed premises authorised and open for the sale of alcohol does not require a licence for audiences up to 500 (a 300 increase) until 11.00 pm. This includes beer gardens and terraces if they are included in the licensed premises. Live-music related conditions do not apply unless they are re-imposed at a Review. If a beer garden is not shown on the licensed plans then it is likely to nevertheless be a workplace which benefits from a similar exemption. Karaoke is considered live music. Live unamplified music does not need a licence anywhere and with no audience limit between 8.00 am to 11.00 pm.
Entertainment facilities (stages, karaoke machines, microphone stands, even electrical sockets) have not been licensable since October 2012. You may still see these ‘authorised’ on your licence if it has not been amended but they are no longer relevant to licensing.
Recorded music in on-licensed premises benefits from the same exemption as live music above, with the same audience limit. This covers DJs and discos and is a new development, as until now most recorded music above background level has been licensable under the Act. There is no equivalent “workplace” exemption. Background live and recorded music continues to be exempt.
Performance of Plays, Indoor Sporting Events and Performances of Dance
‘Plays’ could include Noddy at a holiday camp but also a themed “ghost story-reading night” with paid actors at a pub. ‘Performances of Dance’ includes any non-customer dancing that is intended to entertain an audience. Since June 2013, for audiences up to 500 (and in the case of indoor sporting events, up to 1,000) from 8.00 am until 11.00 pm none of these activities require authorisation under the Licensing Act. Lap-dancing and other forms of sexual entertainment on up to 11 occasions a year remain regulated under the 2003 Act (any more will usually require a Sexual Entertainment Venue licence).
The showing of pre-recorded films which are incidental to some other activity (for example, drinking, eating or playing pool) is not licensable. This will very much be dependent on the facts of each case but the real test will be, Is the showing of any pre-recorded film likely to undermine one of the licensing objectives?
Boxing & Wrestling
This activity remains regulated under the Act (and now explicitly includes mixed martial arts) apart from Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling.
More information on these exemptions can be found on the government website.
None of the exemptions affect the need to apply for copyright licensing or the requirement not to cause a noise nuisance.
Regulated Entertainment is a complex area and there are other minor exemptions – you should take legal advice if in any doubt.
What is regulated entertainment?
Regulated entertainment is one of the licensable activities and includes the following types of entertainment:
- Performance of a play
- Exhibition of a film
- Indoor sporting event
- Boxing or wrestling
- Performance of dance
- Performance of live music
- Playing of recorded music
If they take place:
- In the presence of a public audience for their entertainment
- Exclusively to members of a qualifying club, or
- In private and a charge is made with a view to profit
There are some exemptions where a licence is not needed for these types of entertainment. These are:
- Films for the purposes of advertisement, information, education. A film isn’t regarded as regulated entertainment if it is solely or mainly demonstrating a product, advertising goods or services or providing information, education or instruction.
- Film exhibitions in museums and art galleries. A film isn’t regarded as regulated entertainment if it forms part of an exhibit put on show for any purposes of a museum or art gallery.
- Music incidental to certain other activities. A performance of live music or the playing of recorded music is not regarded as regulated entertainment if it is incidental to some other activity that is not classed as regulated entertainment.
- Use of television or radio receivers. You don’t need a licence for a live television or radio broadcast.
- Religious services and places of worship. You don’t need a licence to provide any entertainment that is for the purposes of a religious meeting or service or at a place of public religious worship.
- Garden fetes. You don’t need a licence to provide entertainment at a garden fete or a similar function or event unless the event is promoted with a view to applying any part of the proceeds for the purposes of private gain.
- Morris dancing. You don‘t need a licence for a performance of Morris dancing or dancing of a similar nature or for live or recorded music that is an integral part of that performance.
As well as the exemptions listed above there have been various de-regulations to regulated entertainment which mean that you no longer need a licence for:
- The provision of entertainment facilities.
- An unamplified performance of live music at any place between the hours of 8am and 11pm.
- A performance of live music or playing of recorded music between 8am and 11pm at a premises that is licensed to sell alcohol on the premises before an audience of no more than 500 people.
- A performance of amplified live music at a workplace if it takes place between 8am and 11pm before an audience of no more than 500 people.
- A performance of a play, if it takes place between 8am and 11pm before an audience of no more than 500 people.
- A performance of dance, if it takes place between 8am and 11pm before an audience of no more than 500 people.
- Staging an indoor sporting event, if it takes place between 8am and 11pm before no more than 1000 spectators.
- A contest, exhibition or display or Greco-Roman wrestling, or freestyle wrestling between 8am and 11pm before no more than 1000 spectators.
There have also been some de-regulations that relate only to certain types of premises. These are:
- Local authority premises. No licence is needed for any entertainment taking place on the premises of the local authority as long as the entertainment is being provided by or on behalf of the local authority.
- Hospital premises. No licence is needed for any entertainment taking place on the hospital premises as long as the entertainment is being provided by or on behalf of the health care provider.
- School premises. No licence is needed for any entertainment taking place on the school premises as long as the entertainment is being provided by or on behalf of the school proprietor.
- A travelling circus. No licence is needed for any entertainment (other than films, boxing or wrestling) taking place at a travelling circus as long as it takes place within a moveable structure that accommodates the audience and as long as the travelling circus has not been located on the same site for more than 28 consecutive days.
- Community premises. No licence is needed for a film exhibition as long as it is “not-for-profit” and the audience does not exceed 500. The organiser must get consent to the screening from a person responsible for the premises and must ensure that such screening abides by age classification ratings.
- A church hall, village hall, community hall or other similar community premises that is not licensed to sell alcohol. No licence is needed for a performance of live music or to play recorded music between 8am and 11pm before an audience of no more than 500 people as long as the organiser gets consent for the performance from a person responsible for the premises.
Trading On The Bus – Refreshments etc
This is another fairly grey area but from speaking to B&NES Licensing Department they have said that if we wanted to sell refreshments on the bus whilst it was parked in a public place we would need a traders licence which they would not, for a number of reasons, grant us.
If the bus is parked on private property however and we have consent from whoever owns the property we are free to trade on the bus without a traders licence. If we wish to sell alcohol we would need to be either covered by the properties’ premises licence or apply for a temporary event notice (TEN). Luke is a personal licence holder so can apply for up to 50 TENS a year. The fee for this is £21 per event.
Parking The Bus in Bath
The bus is fully licensed and can be parked legally on any road. Bath however has a lot of restrictions in place and you have to speak to the Highways Department. There is a limited list of places that they allow vehicles to park in Bath but you need permission and they may charge a fee. We’re currently investigating this further and will update this page when we have more info.