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Activities such as the sale of alcohol and the provision of entertainment require a licence from the local council. Events without the appropriate licence are subject to being shut down, vigorously and immediately.

Many venues have their own "premises licence" which will cover specific activities. For example, they may be licensed for alcohol sales indoors up to 11pm.

If your venue is a school, they may well have no premises licence at all; most venues will have a premises licence but not for all the activities or times that you might require.


What is a licensable activity?

  • Selling alcohol
  • Serving alcohol to members of a private club
  • Providing entertainment (eg music, dancing or indoor sports events)
  • Serving hot food or drinks between 11pm and 5am

Regulated Entertainment[edit]

Regulated entertainment is broadly defined as any entertainment that takes place in the presence of an audience (whether members of the public or a club), or otherwise for profit, and the premises have the purpose of providing the entertaining concerned. It may include:

  • a performance of a play
  • an exhibition of a film
  • an indoor sporting event
  • a boxing or wrestling entertainment
  • a performance of live music
  • playing of recorded music
  • a performance of dance

For further information, see Schedule 1 to the Licensing Act 2003.

At present ‘juggling’ or ‘juggling shows’ are not classed as regulated entertainment.

A common misperception is that amplified music is a licensable activity; occasionally the playing of it is classed as such; when it is the primary reason of an activity then it is (ie a nightclub)

When it is the secondary reason (ie watching a juggling show) music does not legally fall into this bracket. However, noise complaints may attract the police, who will attract the council noise abatement people, and these people can shut you down whether or not you have a licence.

Types of licence[edit]

If the venue you are using HAS a Premise Licence covering everything you need for the times you require:

  • You’ll need a individual to have a Personal Licence to be the covering Designated Premise Supervisor (DPS) of the premise licence. This may well be an employee of your venue.

If your venue does NOT have a Premise Licence covering the times that you require then:

  • Someone will need to apply for a Temporary Event Notice with the local council, sending a copy to the Police and environmental health. They will want to know how you plan to meet the Licensable Objectives. Environmentally health may require you to have a noise reduction plan in place if the event is taking place in a residential area. You don’t need to have a personal license to apply for a TEN.

If you are using more than one venue you need to consider each venue separately.

Case Studies[edit]

BJC 2011 used a venue with a licence that included outdoor entertainment, and so managed to run an event that didn't need a Temporary Event Noticeand could therefore run longer than (what was then) the maximum length of a Temporary Event Notice.

BJC Doncaster had a licence for outdoor entertainment, but only until 12am (midnight), causing some renegades to become "non-amplified" after that time. The audience made a valiant attempt to sing the performers' music.

Other Laws involved with selling Alcohol[edit]

  • A ban on irresponsible promotions
  • A ban on dispensing alcohol directly into customers’ mouths
  • Mandatory provision of free tap water
  • The mandatory provision of smaller measures.
  • Age verification policy