Assessing whether a licence is required for licensing for live music events
Produced in partnership with Nicola Smith of Squire Patton Boggs
Assessing whether a licence is required for licensing for live music events

The following Local Government guidance note Produced in partnership with Nicola Smith of Squire Patton Boggs provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Assessing whether a licence is required for licensing for live music events
  • Live music and regulated entertainment
  • What constitutes public entertainment?
  • Exemptions

The Licensing Act 2003 (LA 2003) governs the sale of alcohol, provision of regulated entertainment and the provision of late night refreshment (hot food and/ or hot drink between the hours of 23.00 and 05.00 daily).

The playing of live music is, subject to conditions and exceptions below, regulated entertainment for the purposes of LA 2003. If live music is not regulated entertainment, or is exempt under the LA 2003, no licence is normally required.

Exemptions for live music have been introduced and expanded in recent years. In October 2012, the Live Music Act 2012 (LMA 2012) removed the requirement between 08.00 and 23.00 for live unamplified music to be licensed in any location (with no restriction on audience numbers); and for live amplified music in on-licensed premises or workplaces for audiences of up to 200 persons. See further exemptions section below.

The Legislative Reform (Entertainment Licensing) Order 2014, SI 2014/3253 raised the audience threshold for permitted music performance from 200 to 500 persons in on-licensed premises and workplaces. In addition, it introduced exemptions for various forms of entertainment held by local authorities, schools, nurseries and hospitals on their own premises and at community premises such as church halls, community centres and village halls (see further below).

However, where live music is ‘regulated entertainment’, local authority officers may be required to deal with the licensing