As we already know, free grassroots arts events are now illegal. Tomorrow the Council’s Regulatory Committee will consider a report which suggests that for an interim period of six months Public Entertainment Licenses WILL be required and there WILL be a fee.
For six months the fee will be £30. Yes, that’s a lot less than the £849 that we can expect if/when the interim period ends and the full fee is introduced. However, I cannot say this often enough: £30 is still a lot of money for a free event. We artists are increasingly dependent on these small events as a way of developing and displaying our work. Unemployment levels are up, the amount of money in our pockets is down and yet we’re being asked to pay and jump through bureaucratic hoops to share our art for free.
I’ll be in the public gallery at the meeting tomorrow morning. 9am, bright and early at the City Chambers… And no matter what the verdict I will never apply for a PEL for a free event for under 200 people. If that gets me arrested, so be it. I’ll just have to rely on the Council not being sufficiently aware of the grassroots arts scene to find my gigs to keep me out of jail.
See you tomorrow, I hope.