Board grants 3am licence for folk festival’s late concerts

Music fans will be able to dance the night away after a series of late licences were given the go ahead.

Lerwick’s Royal British Legion (RBL) can stay open until 3am for two late concerts it is hosting for the Shetland Folk Festival on Friday and Saturday, 29th and 30th April, and until midnight on the Sunday.

The venue has also been granted an occasional licence until 2am for a one-off concert on June 4th when three popular bands are to perform.

The Shetland Islands Area Licensing Board granted the applications on Monday, deeming they could be considered “special events of local or national significance”.

Council solicitor Keith Adam told members late licences had been granted for previous folk festivals, when the Islesburgh Community Centre had been permitted to stay open until 2am.

The RBL’s Ivor Cluness explained the later application was to provide enough time to start calling last orders and collecting glasses after the bands finish.

Lerwick North member Stephen Leask moved to approve the application, saying it was similar to decisions taken for country halls’ Up-Helly-A’ events.

Seconder Stephen Flaws, who represents Lerwick South, added that the RBL and folk festival had both proven themselves capable of hosting events.

Members also approved the 4th June late licence, when local bands Dirty Lemons and First Foot Soldiers will be playing alongside visitors from the mainland, Bombscare, though with more reservations.

RBL manager Susan Mann had explained the bands were all “extremely popular” and the late licence was to allow all three to perform while providing value for money for audiences.

Mrs Mann said it would provide more time after the last band leaves the stage at around 1.15am-1.30am.

While Mr Leask was again happy to approve the application, praising the RBL as “responsible licensees”, other members were more hesitant.

Mr Flaws said he was “less comfortable” with granting it given the timings mentioned, which could almost be dealt with under the regular 1am licence.

Shetland South member George Smith also warned that the approval could make it difficult to resist other applications for late licences.

“I’m left in a bit of a quandary,” he said.

Mr Leask said that while he could understand his colleagues “angst” he also felt that as the licence was for a specific event “I do not feel we would be setting a precedent”.

After some debate, Mr Smith agreed to second the motion to approve the application.

Speaking after the event, Ms Mann said she felt it was “great” that the events could take place.

“After two years of almost nothing, it’s definitely welcome news,” she said.


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