Its seems such a short time ago that we delivered out Summer Solstice Trade Festival at Dinerama in Shoreditch, bringing together so many engaged businesses to celebrate success and discuss challenges faced by the NTE across the country.
We were lucky enough to have Dan Davies Chairperson of The Institute of Licensing & Rockpoint Leisure as a keynote speaker, who has been an inspiration not only as a leading representative of the Hospitality and Licensing Sector, but a resident of Liverpools New Brighton who has committed to regenerating the area. Giving back to the community through his success! I would urge you if you haven’t already to take a look at the amazing work that Dan and his team has done as part of the Rockpoint Leisure project in New Brighton.
We posed a question to our panelists regarding the ‘The Importance of the NTE in the Regeneration of the High Street’ , with a varied panel of professionals and operators the discussion followed a level of disbelief in terms of the current business levels within the High Street, derelict shop fronts and the blame placed squarely on the change in consumer behaviour. It also delved into the responsibilities of the Local Government authorities in terms of regretting high streets and foreseeing a growing changing in consumer behaviour over several years but with no strategy to combat or accommodate for changing the landscape.
There have been many reports produced including Portman Group research which substantiates the importance of licensed retail within the regeneration of High Streets nationally, but there has been no clear development or success from these theories within the UK, or local authorities who may try to change the format of inner-city high streets to accommodate for consumer demand, including current licensing regimes and pressure EON landlords to develop a balanced retail and service environment for these once flourishing retail areas to regenerate.
There have been examples of International initiatives which have embraced the retail, food and shopping environments within the High Street, considering later openings, extended operating hours, hybrid shopping environments and activity centres to try and re-energise the physical shopping experience against the virtual o line marketplace.
The recent SFE Levy increase by PPL has been an ongoing concern since the challenge made by ALMR with the support of the Industry in 2011. It was discussed in no uncertain terms that this increase couldn’t have come at a worse time, with growing concerns in terms of operating costs across the sector, we are battling a multitude of tax implications… Business Rates / Rents / Late Night Levys and Business Improvement District funding all taking a piece from the bottom line.
Many feel that it is unreasonable to think that the industry as a whole can stomach much more in terms of cost, particularly from PPL, which in terms of transparency has fallen short. This is a tough position given the fine balance between sustainable performance and cultural spaces and artists and producers being paid, quite rightly for the public performance of music. The challenge is there is a deep distrust that has been built over time, in terms of the association which administers the collection and distribution of these funds.
We asked the panel some questions at this point! The collection of Artists/PPL Member based royalties are based on average total audience admissions not on exposure, not on actual playlists relevant to artists music being played? if this is the case who is being paid? Do PPL think that the surrogacy method of commercial radio and a cross-section of businesses is enough to be able to charge the industry for public music performances.
What happens with unclaimed monies? What happens to artists who do not want to be affiliated with PPL? We all want an ecosystem where cultural spaces can flourish, and artists have physical spaces to perform in! Why is an association at the heart of the Industry demanding unreasonable rates based on loose research to the detriment of the Industry! UK Hospitality BPMA and the NTIA have championed
The Festivals and Events Sector has grown exponentially over the last five years with consumer behaviour changing, and festivals becoming the experience of choice for many of the UK’s music lovers, we have seen a change in customer behaviour resulting in summer periods where consumers flood to destinations for large scale events.
The challenge presented by this change is the legislation, processes and systems are not built for this change in landscape, to the point that the expansion of the sector is being limited by the systems in place to manage them, and at times give a false representation of impact on the immediate community.
In conjunction with some key industry partners, we have generated a white paper which addresses some of the questions posed by both police and local authorities on community impact, dispelling myths and working towards giving a balanced position on cost vs benefit, crime and disorder and current licensing challenges.
In the last decade, there has been significant change within our industry. The recent build towards austerity has given rise to the manipulation of our licensing laws, resulting in events being stopped, closures, license refusals to long-standing festivals/events and unrealistic licensing conditions placed on some of the most influential operators within the UK.
The time has come for our sector to start to challenge the impact of our industry on the economy and communities, focusing our research on eradicating false representation given by many Local Authorities and Police, in the hope of being replaced with more reliable quantifiable data. Don’t even get me started on accountability……
Operators of Festivals, Events & Venues with partners in the Press need to start to challenge the decisions that govern our industry collectively; bringing them to the attention of the public, whilst negating the image purported by key influencers who use the media to enforce the idea that our industry and music within it create factors which negatively contribute towards our communities.
We all recognize the value of the sector within the economy and continue to stress that restrictions on the sector will change the landscape of the nightlife which we are so proud of and limit the opportunity for creativity and the growth of the economy in the future.
I would like to extend a Thank you to all of the panellists and attendees, for your input and engagement, and your commitment to maintaining an open communication platform to the industry.