Twist, but don't shout!
Hyde Park in London has traditionally been the venue for some major music concerts from classical to rock. Last weekend it hosted a concert featuring Bruce Springsteen and Sir Paul McCartney and in their final rendition of “Twist and Shout”, the organisers pulled the plug and silenced two of the best known rock musicians in the world in front of an audience of 80,000.
And the reason for this debacle? Bluntly their time was up. Their premises licence issued by Westminster Council permitted the performance of live music only until 22.30 BST to protect local residents in the area from noise late at night. So in order to comply with the conditions on the licence, the plug was pulled and the microphones switched off. Failure to do so might have resulted in a review of the licence which could result in revocation, as well as a criminal prosecution leading to a maximum of 6 months' imprisonment and/or a £20,000 fine.
By way of background, local residents have complained to Westminster Council last year about noise disturbance at night no less than 130 times. A review followed and next year the number of concerts being held at Hyde Park is reduced from 13 to 9 and the audience attendance reduced from 80,000 to 65,000 and in some cases 50,000. This could lead to a funding gap of £1.5bn for the Royal Parks.
The licensing regime requires those holding regulated entertainment to promote the licensing objectives, one such objective is the prevention of nuisance. Opinion is divided as to whether this particular incident is good licensing control in action, properly balancing the interests of all concerned, or the actions of a 'jobsworth' in what the guitarist in the band called “a police state, and embarrassment to London as a cultural capital".
The moral of this story is that however big you are, conditions on your premises licence have to be obeyed and nobody is above having their licence reviewed. The right to call for a review should not be underestimated, and can be triggered by a local resident.
If you have any concerns about licensing, speak to our consultant expert Brian Hardie, on 01603 756426 or email at email@example.com.