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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
  • Any entertainment similar to live music, recorded music or dancing

To be licensable, one or more of these activities needs to be provided for the purpose (at least partly) of entertaining an audience; has to be held on premises made available for the purpose of enabling that activity; and must also either:

  • take place in the presence of a public audience, or
  • be provided exclusively for the members of a club or for the club members and their guests, or
  • where that activity takes place in private, be the subject of a charge made with a view to profit.

There are a number of exemptions and de-regulations to entertainment that mean a licence (or other authorisation) under the Licensing Act 2003 is not always required. You can find out more information at GOV.UK Entertainment Licensing.

The Live Music Act took effect in 2012 and since 2015 has also applied to recorded music.

This means that a licence is not required to stage a performance of live music, or the playing of recorded music if:

  • it takes place between 8AM and 11PM; and
  • it takes place at an alcohol on-licensed premises; and
  • the audience is no more than 500 people

Additionally, any existing licence conditions which relate to live music or recorded music remain in place, but are suspended between the hours of 08.00 and 23.00 on the same day where the following conditions are met:

  • at the time of the music entertainment, the premises are open for the purposes of being used for the sale or supply of alcohol for consumption on the premises;
  • if the music is amplified, it takes place before an audience of no more than 500 people; and
  • the music takes place between 08.00 and 23.00 on the same day

You also don’t need a licence:

  • to put on unamplified live music at any place between the same hours; or
  • to put on amplified live music at a workplace between the same hours provided the audience is no more than 500 people

It is important to note that there are a number of mechanisms available to protect residents in the event of issues occurring as a result of ‘de-regulated’ live and recorded music. For example:

  • Upon a review of the premises licence the Licensing Authority can determine that conditions on the premises licence relating to live or recorded music will apply even between 8am and 11pm;
  • If the premises licence doesn't presently authorise live or recorded music the Licensing Authority can add conditions to the premises licence as though the live or recorded music were regulated entertainment authorised by that premises licence, again to apply between 8am and 11pm
  • The Licensing Authority can determine that live or recorded music at the premises is a licensable activity and live or recorded music can no longer be provided without permission on the premises licence or a temporary event notice
  • Other noise legislation, for example in the Environmental Protection Act 1990, will continue to apply.

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