Council grants 3 a.m. license for late folk festival concerts

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Music fans will be able to dance the night away after a round of late licensing was cleared.

Lerwick’s Royal British Legion (RBL) can stay open until 3 a.m. for two late-night concerts they put on for the Shetland Folk Festival on Friday and Saturday 29 and 30 April, and until midnight on Sunday.

The venue has also secured an occasional license until 2 a.m. for a one-time concert on June 4 when three popular bands are scheduled to perform.

The Shetland Islands Region Licensing Board granted the applications on Monday, saying they could qualify as “special events of local or national importance”.

Council solicitor Keith Adam told members that late licenses had been granted for previous folk festivals, while the Islesburgh community center had been allowed to stay open until 2am.

RBL’s Ivor Cluness explained that the last request was to provide enough time to start calling in final orders and collecting glasses after the groups had finished.

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

Linebacker Stephen Flaws, who represents Lerwick South, added that both the RBL and the folk festival have proven they are capable of putting on events.

Members also approved the late June 4 license, when local bands Dirty Lemons and First Foot Soldiers will play alongside mainland visitors Bombscare, but with more reservations.

RBL manager Susan Mann had explained that the bands were all “extremely popular” and that the late license was to allow all three to perform while offering good value to the public.

Ms Mann said that would give more time after the last group left the stage around 1:15-1:30 a.m.

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

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

Shetland South member George Smith also warned that the approval could make it difficult to resist further late license applications.

“I’m a bit embarrassed,” he said.

Mr Leask said that while he could understand the ‘angst’ of his colleagues, he also felt that, as the license was for a specific event, ‘I don’t think we would set a precedent’.

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

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

“After two years of next to nothing, this is really good news,” she said.


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