From: GRAHAM CLARK [graham647_at_btinternet_dot_com]
Sent: 27 December 2008 10:44
Subject: Re: FW: The Licensing Act 2003 is destroying live music in Kent and East Sussex
Dear Beau,
Thank you for this information.  I have several people I will forward this on to but, in the meantime, let me try and bring you up to date.
The Government handed over responsibility to a group entitled "The Music Forum" to guage and report back any positive or negative aspects of the PEL Act.  The results of the No 10 on-line Petition were that more than 79,000 musicians and enthusiasts called for immediate action for review - to help keep musicians in employment.  The Music Forum met in the Spring this year and they reported that the Act had had had NO adverse affect.  However, they made several recommendations, 2 of which were - (1) To fast track Local Authority licensing applications, and (2) to trace and use a heavy hand with those Local Authorities who were delaying or making it difficult and complicated for those who had applied for a licence - and that was basically it.  I wonder how many members of the Music Forum have lost work due to this Act?  My guess - none.  What a waste of public money.
Nothing has been done even though this Country lost 40% of its venues when the Act became law in 2005.  My own MP worked tirelessly to get some action - he had solid support from both Conservative and Liberal MP's and Ministers - and I am still waiting to hear from him.  The promise that Gordon Brown made about "listening to the people" was a lie.  4 paper Petitions mysteriously  went "missing" in The House of Commons before the on-line petition went "live".  I sent e-mails to Dominic Cronin (the author of the Petition - living in Holland) thanking him for organising the on-line petition and, guess what, he never bothered to respond.  I also contacted a number of media organisations - again with no responses.
Now you know the reasons why I retired from this campaign. I and many others were up against a solid brick wall.  Nothing was going to change.  Perhaps someone living in this country - a well known musician, perhaps  - could take up the cause.  I was staggered - but not totally surprised - to see the graph showing the decline in Kent & West Sussex.  It is happening everywhere, unfortunately.  Perhaps a large, peaceful demonstration should be organised and aimed at No. 10?  These days, that's when the Government and media start to take notice of the drastic situation the Government has imposed on musicians and venue owners as a result of ill thought through legislation based on incorrect facts  The Government stated that the key reason the legislation was put in place was due to so many fires and possible loss of life - the National Statistics Office failed to keep accurate records.  For me, this Act is all about the sale and consumption of alcohol.  The PEL stealth tax (1 of more than 100 already in existence) just adds more fuel the burning fire where musicians are the losers in all this.   The Musicians Union went along with the Government because they wanted to be "in touch" with the PEL Act.  I rest my case!
Meanwhile, thank you for contacting me and may I take this opportunity of wishing you all the best for 2009.
Yours in music,
June Clark

--- On Fri, 26/12/08, Dr. Beau Webber <J_dot_B_dot_W_dot_Webber_at_kent_dot_ac_dot_uk> wrote:
From: Dr. Beau Webber <J_dot_B_dot_W_dot_Webber_at_kent_dot_ac_dot_uk>
Subject: FW: The Licensing Act 2003 is destroying live music in Kent and East Sussex
Date: Friday, 26 December, 2008, 9:46 PM

Dear June,
I know you have retired from this particular fight, 
but could I ask you to forward this to addresses where it might do some good ?
 This is the data I have extracted from Kent gig archives, and the conclusions I have reached. 
 If this email reaches you mangled, there is a version on the web at :
      Dr.  Beau Webber 

We are losing music pubs and music-friendly Landlords at a frightening rate
- and the evidence is that the Licensing Act 2003 is responsible.

KentFolk Music web page

I have been saying we are losing music pubs and music-friendly Landlords at a frightening rate for a while, but now I have some hard numbers - and hard numbers they are to swallow - but if all things remain equal (and they never do), we could have no live music in Kent by 2012.
I have been doing the KentFolk web page since the year 2000, and the fall off in gig numbers is very evident from my data - but my research gets in the way some months, and that causes scatter in the numbers, so for good figures I went to Chris Ashman of and asked if I could data-mine his Gig Archives :
"Hi Beau, I would suggest that you should look at our lists also in the light of the number of venues that are prepared to pay to promote their events rather than expecting bands to act like "rent a crowd". ...... We can say without doubt this is the worst period we have seen for Kent bands since we started supplying the media in 1981. "
So I pointed my programs at his gig archive, and this is the graph I get; I plot the number of gigs per week in Kent and East Sussex that are listed on over the years Summer 2004 to Christmas 2008 :

Are Kentish Live Music Gigs Coming to an End ?
Are Kentish and East Sussex Live Music Gigs Coming to an End ?

At first look we have a quite a lot of scatter, then we can see that in fact some of the variation is a regular dip of some 20 or 30 gigs per week over the Christmas weeks, which makes sense.
But the main feature is that a steady live-gig-rate of about 70 per week has been about halved. What has caused this ? - we can line-up events on this time-graph with major events that have recently happened :
  1. The Credit Crunch - starting late Summer 2008 into Autumn - There is a definite dip, but surprisingly the graph seems to have gone up again by Winter and the time of the regular Christmas dip - perhaps people are in need of compensation, and live music is a good option?
  2. The Smoking Ban - came into effect 1st July 2007 - Possibly there is a slight dip, but I do not believe there is any statistically significant change.
  3. The Licensing Act 2003 - came into force on 24 November 2005 - We see that what was a regular and fairly steady live music gig-rate of about 70 per week has turned within a month or two into a steady and apparently uniform slide towards zero.
Now I am not one of those who found no merit in the Licensing Act 2003 - I agree the licencing fee takes most of the possible profit from the gigs I sometimes put on, but I do get a piece of paper that makes the gig legal.
However what is totally unacceptable is that it would seem that for the publicans and musicians the scheme is unworkable, such that if everything is equal - and it won't be - we can expect no live music over the Christmas weeks next year (2009) - down from a recent 40 to 50 gigs per week over the Christmas period - and before the end of 2011 live music gigs will be effectively over or too far away to drive to.
There is an urgent need to get this data to those who can make a difference, and also your real stories about publicans who are being thrown out and musicians who are losing their trade - this data is unequivocal :
    - The Licensing Act 2003 is destroying live music in one of the most musically active counties in the UK.  
Dr. Beau Webber