Child Licensing

We are all only too aware that the normal placid waters of Skipton’s Music Festival have turned into a cataract this year – and several folk are asking “why?”

To comply with the letter of the law, we need a “Body of Persons Approval” certificate even though the law as it applies to a Festival such as ours would confirm Mr Micawber’s opinion.

At a Festival, a child, comes to perform for just a few minutes in front of a supportive audience, made up mainly of fellow performers and families.  The trouble is that, in law, they are treated exactly the same as a teenage superstar in the West End.  Our licensing authority could not understand how we thought we could engage 150 children in a week-long event without exceeding every limit on hours or overcrowding!

Our umbrella organisation, BIFF, is very much onto this case and for an easily digested summary, see the BIFF “Child Licensing Update”.  There will be a few printed a few copies at the Festival venues or you can download it here.

We have done everything we can to accommodate everyone within the new parameters and we’re hugely grateful to those of you who have had to rearrange your plans.  We will be better prepared next year!  To help us create the best timetable we can, we’ll be asking for constructive comments after the Festival.  We’ll email all who entered – and there will be links on the website.  We hope you will be able to take part in this important discussion.

In the longer term, change is a matter for the legislators.  And that is a long process.  Our umbrella organisation, BIFF, is fighting the corner for all festivals but we would also urge you to write to your MP about it.

You need to write to your own MP (you can’t write to someone else’s) and an email is fine – there’s no need to dig out a stamped envelope!  Find your MP’s contact details at
Type your own postcode in the box to access the appropriate details.

When you consider what to write, please don’t just copy the suggestions blindly.  A postbag full of identical messages won’t have the same impact as rather fewer, considered letters that focus on the things that are important to you.  So pick and mix by all means but try to make your message something that you want to say to your MP.

  • How a Biff Festival works There is little understanding about the operation of a BIFF-style Festival.  This article explains that with particular reference to Skipton.
  • Writing to an MPSome ideas about writing an effective letter to your MP
  • A template letterThis is not offered as a perfect example but may give you some ideas.

[We’ll add some other suggestions soon – come back again!]