Alcohol and entertainment licence
Under the Licensing Act 2003, the district or borough council in which the premises are situated, or a person lives, is the relevant Licensing Authority for granting licences.
Under the Licensing Act 2003 there are 4 main licences:
You will need one of the above licences if you wish to have one of the following licensable activities at a premises:
The sale of alcohol. A sale also takes place when alcohol is included as part of a ticket price, entry fee or through any other hidden charge. A licence is not required if people take their own alcohol to an event / premises
The supply of alcohol by or on behalf of a club to a member of a club and /or to a guest of a member. This relates to alcohol supplied in premises that operate a members clubs, such as Royal British Legion, Conservative Clubs etc
Late night refreshment which is the supply of hot food and/or drink between 23:00hrs and 05:00hrs
Regulated entertainment. This occurs when one of the following activities takes place in front of an audience (including spectators) so they can be entertained:
The performance of a play where there are to be more than 500 people in the audience. Should the audience be less than 500 people no licence is required if the play is performed between the hours of 08:00 and 23:00. Any plays performed outside the hours of 08:00 and 23:00 will need a licence regardless of the size of the audience.
An exhibition of a film
An indoor sporting event where there is to be over a 1000 people in the audience. No licence is required for audiences of less than 1000 people where the indoor sporting event occurs between the hours of 08:00 and 23:00. Any sporting event held between the hours of 23:00 and 08:00 will require a licence, even if the size of the audience is less than 1000 people.
Boxing or wrestling entertainment
Playing of recorded music
Performance of dance for audiences of over 500 people. No licence is required under the Licensing Act 2003 if the audience for the dance is to be less than 500 people and the performance occurs between the hours of 08:00 and 23:00. Once again a licence will be required for any performances of dance held between the hours of 23:00 and 08:00.
Anything similar to that above
Live music in certain circumstances (see the Live Music Act below)
Each licence is subject to an application fee and an annual fee.
Organisers of small events may wish to download the Small Events Guide (pdf, 284kb) (opens in a new window) before submitting an application.
The Licensing Act 2003 (opens in a new window) goes into further detail on licensable activities and you should seek advice from the relevant licensing authority, or seek independent legal advice, if you have any doubts. If you wish to change something about your premises licence, for example changing the designated premises supervisors (DPS) or hours, or you want to change something about your club premises certificate, further information can be found on How to change a Premises Licence or Club Premises Certificate.
How can I see what licences have been granted in my area?
Each Licensing Authority has a register of all premises licensed under the Licensing Act 2003. The registers can be downloaded from the Licensing Registers page.
How can I view any pending applications?
Any pending Licensing Act applications can be viewed on the How to make a representation or review a premises licence page.
Live Music Act 2012
The law changed on 1 October 2012 and a licence is no longer needed for unamplified live music played between 8am and 11pm. Live music includes bands, duos, sole artists, orchestras and so on but not DJs.
Premises that have a premises licence, club premises certificate or temporary event notice allowing them to sell alcohol on the premises, may also be able to have amplified live music between 8am and 11pm without a licence. For this exemption to apply alcohol must be available for sale during the live music and there must be no more than 200 people in the audience.
Places of work are also able to provide amplified music between 8am and 11pm without a licence provided the audience is less than 200 persons.
Where there is a limit of 200 persons, there will need to be measures in place to ensure that the number of permitted persons in the audience is not exceeded
Any premises meeting the above criteria, but already holding a premises licence or club premises certificate authorising the sale of alcohol, will be able to have live music without any live music related conditions applying between 8am and 11pm. For example, if a premises licence has a condition requiring 'all windows and doors to be kept closed when having live music' then this condition would not apply between 8am and 11pm. The condition would however need to be complied with at 11.01pm.
Any premises that has live music which is seen to cause a public nuisance may be reviewed and risks having the live music exemption removed. Further information about the Live Music Act 2012 is available from the Department for Culture Media and Sport (opens in a new window) and on the Home Office (opens in a new window) .