Live Music and Licensed Premises

It is not uncommon for pubs and bars to attempt to maximise their footfall by providing performances of live music for their customers to enjoy while sipping a pint or two. While this belated and not unwelcome heat wave continues, the temperature in these venues can sky rocket, particularly where the music itself is being enjoyed enthusiastically by those watching.

The understandably typical reaction of the operator is to open windows and doors at the premises to allow air to circulate and customers to feel more comfortable as a result. The noise levels created by many live acts and loud music then often cause a disturbance for neighbouring residents and businesses.

Many operators therefore find themselves lumbered with a condition on their premises licence stating that they must ensure that all windows and doors remain closed, or at least are not left open, during the performance of live, and in some cases recorded, music. This can leave operators struggling to attract customers where their premises are over-heating and they are unable to open doors and windows to combat the issue.

There are two primary ways in which to approach this problem:

  1. Variation to the Premises Licence

You can apply to the Licensing Authority to have the condition removed. This may or may not be contentious, depending on your surroundings and neighbours, but crucially it will be the local environmental health officer who will typically oppose the application or allow it to pass without comment.

  1. Rely on the Live Music Act 2012

The Live Music Act provides that where licensed premises provide amplified live music to up to 500 people (and up to 11:00pm), the conditions on the premises licence relating to the provision of live music will not apply. There is a similar exemption for unamplified music, but with no restriction on the capacity of the venue.

It is important to note that reliance on either of the above does not preclude local authorities from issuing noise abatement notices where nuisance is caused by the music.

If you have a query relating to alcohol and entertainment licensing, contact our Licensing Department on 0113 297 1875.