Live Nation and Music Venue Trust have welcomed steps taken by the Home Office to ban fireworks, flares and smoke bombs from music events.
The offence, which was introduced under the Policing and Crime Act 2017, came into effect on Monday (April 3) and means that any member of the public found guilty of possessing pyrotechnics at a festival or music event could face up to three months in prison. It does not seek to ban artists and event organisers from using pyrotechnics in their shows.
Minister for Policing and the Fire Service Brandon Lewis said: “The abuse of pyrotechnics at live music events endangers the public. It is reckless and dangerous and we will not tolerate it.
“We have worked with the music industry to introduce this offence to give them the necessary powers to ban these articles from their venues and events, and make sure music fans have a safe environment in which to enjoy themselves.”
According to crowd management organisation Showsec, in 2014 there were 255 recorded incidents of a member of public discharging a flare or smoke bomb at a live music event, 229 of which occurred at seven major music festivals, compared to just three at football grounds during the same period.ncidents in 2014 ranged from outdoor festivals to popular indoor city venues,
Melvin Benn, MD of Live Nation subsidiary Festival Republic, which organises events such as the Reading and Leeds festivals, said: “We commend the government for taking decisive action to give the music industry the powers it needs to tackle this issue and we are pleased to have had the opportunity to work with the Home Office to make this ban a reality.
“Safety of our patrons is of utmost importance to us and now music fans will have the same protection as football fans, with the ability to enjoy themselves without worrying about the misuse of these dangerous items which can cause significant distress and injury.”
The move brings these events in line with restrictions on football grounds where it became an offence in January 1987.
“We have welcomed the opportunity to input into this process on behalf of the UK's grassroots music venues," added Mark Davyd, CEO of Music Venue Trust. "The new regulations are clear and provide a common sense approach that protects the public.”
The offence applies to live music events on licensed premises. Events in front of a private audiences and, in certain circumstances, live music events taking place in front of small audiences of 500 persons or fewer would therefore be excluded.