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Conditions dilemma over surprise party

If I hold a private event, do I have to comply with conditions on my licence?

Q: I have decided to host a surprise party to celebrate my wife’s 40th birthday next month at my bar. I am planning on inviting family, friends (including some of my regulars) and am organizing a live band for the night. I am planning to close the bar to the public and there will be a free bar for guests on the night. As it is a private event, will I have to comply with the conditions on my Premises Licence?

A: I would always advise an operator to keep in mind and be aware of their licence conditions; however, in this case as it seems no licensable activities will be taking place there will be no requirement to comply with the conditions. I assume guests will not be charged for the entertainment and as long as your party is for private invited guests only, then the entertainment will not be Regulated Entertainment and therefore not require a licence (even in cases where the entertainment was open to the public the Live Music Act may apply up to 11pm anyway).I would recommend that you make it clear who is invited in advance of the party. If there is any doubt who can attend there is a risk your local licensing authority could consider the event not private but open to the public. I would recommend a guest list and it may also be sensible to call your local Licensing Officer at the Council closer to the date to make sure they are aware that it is a private event, to avoid any misunderstandings or unexpected visits. Please also remember that other legislation such as the Environmental Protection Act would still apply and any nuisance (e.g. due to excessive noise) could result in service of a Notice Abatement Notice.

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