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"Save live music - Stop Form 696"

A review of The Portland Arms by A music fan written on Friday 3rd of April 2009

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A new piece of bureaucracy Form 696 will force licensees of pubs and other small venues to reveal a mass of personal information about performers.

Form 696 demands that licensees provide police with not only the names, aliases, private addresses and phone numbers of all musicians and other performers appearing at their venue, but also the type of music and the likely ethnic background of the audience. Failure to comply could result in the loss of a licence, or even a fine and imprisonment.

Event organizers must provide this information 14 days before the event takes place. If any last-minute changes need to be made, the event can't go ahead. These new rules will not only make putting on live bands very difficult for most small venues, but will also prevent impromptu open mic sessions from happening.

Currently this only applies in 21 London boroughs, but professionals in the music business fear that if it becomes accepted, it will be copied in other cities. Form 696 can only serve to deter the staging of live musical events.

If you wish to protest against Form 696 and new bureaucracy which could potentially kill off live music in the UK, please sign this petition on the 10 Downing Street website:

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Scrapthe696/

There is also a Facebook group campaigning against Form 696: www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=40940825727

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The Portland Arms

Map showing The Portland Arms on Chesterton Road