We have received a boost to our activities with the passing of the 2003 Licensing Act. A vigorous campaign was run by the three Morris dancing organisations in this country (The Morris Federation, The Morris Ring and Open Morris, representing some 15,000 performers) to exempt English traditional dance forms from the new Act.
It was feared that the new licensing regulations would cause the demise of traditional dance, music and song as, not only would many pubs that received Morris dancers perhaps only once a year not obtain an entertainment licence (because of expense), but also dancing in hitherto unregulated public spaces would be subject to licensing. The Morris community is grateful to all those MPs and Peers who spoke on their behalf and introduced the following glorious clause to the Act, which comes into force in 2004.
Schedule 1, Part2, Clause 11 states: "The provision of entertainment or entertainment facilities is not to be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment for the purpose of this Act to the extent that it consists of the provision of (a) a performance of Morris dancing or any dancing of a similar nature or the performance of unamplified, live music as an integral part of such a performance, or (b) facilities for enabling persons to take part in entertainment of a description falling within paragraph (a)"
To celebrate this great success the three Morris organisations booked Trafalgar Square for a Day of Dance on Sunday 2 November 2003. Very little press coverage however.
Click here to return to news and stories list.