U.K. Mulls Banning Fireworks at Live Music Events
Nigel Adams, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Music, will present a motion in the House of Commons tomorrow (12 April) proposing to ban the carrying or use of flares, fireworks and smoke bombs by audience members at gigs and festivals.
In the U.K., it has been a criminal offense for a person to enter or attempt to enter a football ground while in possession of a flare, smoke bomb or firework since 1985, punishable by up to three months in prison. It is also an offense for a person under the age of 18 to be found carrying a firework in a public place, at risk of an £80 ($100) penalty fine.
Because most music events take place on private property and no specific offense exists for adults carrying flares or fireworks unless it can be proved that they were carried with intent to cause injury, British music fans are not currently afforded the same protection, says Adams.
He cites reports of 255 incidents involving incendiary devices taking place at music events in 2014, whereas only three such incidents took place at football grounds in the same time period. Flares are not covered by firework regulations because they are not designed for entertainment.
“Many people I talk to are stunned to find out that carrying and deploying flares and fireworks in the crowd at a live music event is not banned -- unlike at football matches, where spectators can count on the protection of the law,” says Adams. “This measure has support across the board: from fans wanting to focus on the music, performers wanting to put on a good uninterrupted show, and organizers wanting to provide a safe event -- as well as from MPs right across the House,” he goes on to say.
The MP’s motion, which applies only to audience members carrying fireworks and not artists or organizers using pyrotechnics in their shows, is not the first time that the issue of tightening regulations around fireworks and flares at music events has been raised.
In January 2015, Live Nation proposed an amendment to the Serious Crime Bill introducing new legislative restrictions on the possession of fireworks and flares at music events and festivals.
“From our live event experience, we have noticed a concerning trend regarding a rise in the use of flares, fireworks and smoke bombs at events which we are concerned is jeopardising the safety of our customers and employees,” said a letter sent to British MPs from Live Nation’s International Group Counsel in support of the motion.
“We have taken the view that we must now firmly push for legislation to outlaw the use of pyrotechnics at concerts and festivals and bring protection for live music and event fans in line with the protection currently afforded to football fans,” the letter went on to state.