Let us play! Young Herefordshire bands out in cold

Hereford Times: Under-16s band The Phaze have not been able to perform in Herefordshire. Picture by Richard Davies. Under-16s band The Phaze have not been able to perform in Herefordshire. Picture by Richard Davies.

HEREFORDSHIRE is missing out on live music because of the council’s licensing policy.

That is the view of several people in the county who believe people aged 16 and over should be able to attend live music concerts.

Current licensing policies mean that only people aged 18 plus are able to attend such events where alcohol is served, so youngsters are unable to either play in gigs or go to them.

Anthony Murphy, manager of the Jailhouse, said: “In regards to live music, Hereford is at a disadvantage to almost every other city – outside the county it is the norm for live music gigs to be open to people above the age of 16 plus and in many cases 14 plus for example the Guildhall in Gloucester or The Two Pigs in Cheltenham.

“A lot of well known touring bands agents won’t even consider booking a show unless its 16 plus – for example when we had The Wombats and Hadouken! on at The Jailhouse, Hereford was the only city on their entire tour that was 18-plus.

“I just want to clarify that what we are talking about is giving young people the chance to come and watch live music, we are not talking about allowing those under 18 to run amok in a licensed premises, 16 plus should only be relevant when an event’s focus is live music and not drinking.

“We are talking about giving young people the chance to watch live music in a safe environment where those over the age of 18 can enjoy a drink as well. Live music gigs are extremely low-risk in regards to disorder and our records reflect that, they are safe and friendly and revolve around going out to watch a band, the focus isn’t on drinking it’s on music, and I believe it would be beneficial for young people in Hereford to see there is a different side to going out as opposed to the binge-drinking culture we see on most weekends.”

He added that The Jailhouse likes to work closely with police and licensing in all aspects and would welcome the chance to be able to compete on the same level as other cities in the UK if measures were in place to run the events professionally and safely.

One young county band, with ages ranging between 13 and 15, have even had to take their live performances into neighbouring counties.

Rose Kibble, band manager and mother of 14-yearold Billy, guitarist for The Phaze, said: “We have a talented young band here but they just can’t play in Hereford.

They are the right age to start in the industry, they are young.

“We can’t be the only band that’s under 18 and it just seems such a shame. Hereford Live is doing its utmost to support live music but the real people that need encouragement are the under 18s to get them inspired.

“All bands irrespective of age should be given the chance to perform, as long as they are accompanied by responsible adults.”

And Joe Schiavon, project manager of competition OMG Herefordshire and music promoter, agreed that the restriction means that businesses and people miss out.

But Mike Pigrem, head of trading standards and licensing at Herefordshire Council, insists there is “no blanket restriction” and licensed premises are free to apply for a temporary variation of licence for specific events. Each licensed premise has its own “bespoke”

conditions, he said.

He said premises such as the county colleges could be a good alternative and a dry venue for music events.

Comments (3)

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5:02pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Kirstylivemusicfan says...

I think that Mike Pigrem is missing the point entirely here. People DO NOT want alternative "dry" venues, they want to use existing venues and allow under 18's to attend gigs. The whole going out culture in Hereford city centre needs a major re-think, providing a safe, controlled environment for under 18's to watch music and mix with over 18's who have a responsible attitude to alcohol is a far better scenario than leaving them no options to enjoy live music at all due to their age. Live music is NOT about downing pints and getting wasted and causing trouble, it is about enjoying the music and socialising, if alcohol is on sale then people will drink it much more responsibly than we tend to see on a weekend evening down Commercial Road. Do we want another generation of people in the city just getting wasted for the sake of it every weekend or do we want to change the culture of these youngsters and introduce them to an alternative social experience of enjoying live music and mixing with responsible folks who could and would encourage them to have a more responsible attitude to drinking as music is the priority at gigs NOT alcohol. Allowing "under age" people into gigs along with over 18's and having alcohol present is not the evil that Herefordshire council seems to think. Hereford is a very backwards city in this respect,to name a few, Cardiff, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and as close by as Gloucester all have gig venues that allow under 18's into gigs and sell alcohol at the same time with no major issues, correctly monitored and policed it proves time and time again every night of the week that this scenario works. It is time the council thought long and hard about the further reaching repercussions of having such an archaic attitude to gigs and age limits imposed upon them. Do we want youngsters to flourish and proudly display their musical talents and find an alternative to just getting drunk every weekend, fighting and vomiting down Commercial Road or do we just let the current culture carry on??? SOMETHING NEEDS TO CHANGE, surely common sense has to prevail at some point in the future?
I think that Mike Pigrem is missing the point entirely here. People DO NOT want alternative "dry" venues, they want to use existing venues and allow under 18's to attend gigs. The whole going out culture in Hereford city centre needs a major re-think, providing a safe, controlled environment for under 18's to watch music and mix with over 18's who have a responsible attitude to alcohol is a far better scenario than leaving them no options to enjoy live music at all due to their age. Live music is NOT about downing pints and getting wasted and causing trouble, it is about enjoying the music and socialising, if alcohol is on sale then people will drink it much more responsibly than we tend to see on a weekend evening down Commercial Road. Do we want another generation of people in the city just getting wasted for the sake of it every weekend or do we want to change the culture of these youngsters and introduce them to an alternative social experience of enjoying live music and mixing with responsible folks who could and would encourage them to have a more responsible attitude to drinking as music is the priority at gigs NOT alcohol. Allowing "under age" people into gigs along with over 18's and having alcohol present is not the evil that Herefordshire council seems to think. Hereford is a very backwards city in this respect,to name a few, Cardiff, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and as close by as Gloucester all have gig venues that allow under 18's into gigs and sell alcohol at the same time with no major issues, correctly monitored and policed it proves time and time again every night of the week that this scenario works. It is time the council thought long and hard about the further reaching repercussions of having such an archaic attitude to gigs and age limits imposed upon them. Do we want youngsters to flourish and proudly display their musical talents and find an alternative to just getting drunk every weekend, fighting and vomiting down Commercial Road or do we just let the current culture carry on??? SOMETHING NEEDS TO CHANGE, surely common sense has to prevail at some point in the future? Kirstylivemusicfan
  • Score: 11

7:46pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Ivor P says...

Nice one Kirsty as founder & chair of 'Hereford Live' a community group aiming to increase the amount of live music in the area for all age ranges I believe that the Council's attitude is far from helpful & in need of serious review. If you want young people to appreciate live music in a controlled environment then we need to open up venues to 16+.Where I originally lived in Brighton this was common place & no incidents of trouble recorded.Or would the Council rather have our young people hanging round street corners or in the Town Centre drinking cheap cider which they can buy easily from supermarkets & Off Licences?I think I know which I'd rather see but perhaps the Council prefers the former option?
Nice one Kirsty as founder & chair of 'Hereford Live' a community group aiming to increase the amount of live music in the area for all age ranges I believe that the Council's attitude is far from helpful & in need of serious review. If you want young people to appreciate live music in a controlled environment then we need to open up venues to 16+.Where I originally lived in Brighton this was common place & no incidents of trouble recorded.Or would the Council rather have our young people hanging round street corners or in the Town Centre drinking cheap cider which they can buy easily from supermarkets & Off Licences?I think I know which I'd rather see but perhaps the Council prefers the former option? Ivor P
  • Score: 3

7:03pm Sat 1 Feb 14

PunksNotDeadYet says...

Having spent most of my youth in Wolverhampton, I went to gigs there between 2 and 5 times a month over a 10 year period, they had a 14+ restriction, with anyone under 18, to be accompanied by a 21+ aged adult. In all that time I never saw any alcohol related trouble. Maybe I was just lucky, but that is a lot of gigs (& money!). So agree with Kirsty, experience shows me that people go to gigs for the music, not the drink. Come on Hereford, help yourself, change this and we can then get a greater music scene and reputation which can only help our city
Having spent most of my youth in Wolverhampton, I went to gigs there between 2 and 5 times a month over a 10 year period, they had a 14+ restriction, with anyone under 18, to be accompanied by a 21+ aged adult. In all that time I never saw any alcohol related trouble. Maybe I was just lucky, but that is a lot of gigs (& money!). So agree with Kirsty, experience shows me that people go to gigs for the music, not the drink. Come on Hereford, help yourself, change this and we can then get a greater music scene and reputation which can only help our city PunksNotDeadYet
  • Score: 4

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