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MP proposes ban on audience members carrying fireworks at music events

By | Published on Wednesday 13 April 2016

Nigel Adams MP

Conservative MP Nigel Adams, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group For Music, has proposed a new bill to ban members of the public from taking fireworks and flares into music venues and festivals.

Telling Parliament that people setting off pyrotechnics among live music audiences generally do so out a “boneheaded disregard for others [and] stupidity, rather than malice”, he put forward that “nobody should be seriously burned as part of a fun afternoon or evening”.

“Nobody wants to see a panic at the disco”, he added, a joke which fell flat on the few other MPs in the room. Probably for the best, as he immediately went on to describe injuries sustained by some music fans, and MPs still giggling might have seemed insensitive.

Noting specific examples, including teenagers who suffered severe burns during an Arctic Monkeys show and at the Reading Festival, he pointed out that a pyros ban already exists at football grounds. Breaking this law can result in a prison sentence of up to three months and being banned from football grounds for up to six years. And while there were 255 reported incidents of injuries from flares, smoke bombs or fireworks at music events – both indoors and outdoors – in 2014, there were only three at football grounds the same year.

As it stands, under 18s are already banned from using fireworks or smoke bombs on public property (which knocks out most music events, which take place on private property), but adults can only be prohibited from using them if it can be proven that they intend to cause harm. Flares are not covered by this legislation at all, because they are not designed for entertainment use.

The proposed new law is already backed by Live Nation and the Association Of Independent Festivals, the latter of which said in a statement: “It is the responsibility of organisers to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for fans, and the government should support this objective by creating a level playing field between music and sports fans”.

Adams also noted that, contrary to some reports, any proposed change in the law would not stop artists from using pyrotechnics in their act.

Wheeling out the gags again, he said: “Having enjoyed many a gig myself Mr Speaker, I know that the fire has always been burning since the world’s been turning, and when tested properly and used safely, it’s part of a great spectacle. I’m not sure if you’re a fan of the Kings Of Leon, Mr Speaker, but we should ensure nothing untoward is ever on fire”.

The proposed bill will now be honed, with a second reading on 22 Apr. However, a spokesperson for Adams has already said that it is unlikely that it will be passed into law during this parliamentary session.

Watch Adams’ full speech here.