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Ten key points for beer and food festivals, marquees and music festivals

Festivals or large outside gatherings are becoming more and more popular. It is likely that some form of licence application will be needed and, given the potential for high attendances, careful preparation is needed.

From beer and food festivals to marquees and music festivals, these are the key points to think about when it comes to licensing these events:

  1. Do you know what land you are taking and what it was used for previously? Walk the site boundaries with representatives from the land owners to ensure you both know what is being used
  2. Is the land in question licensed – or do you need a Premises license or a Temporary Event Notice? If you are providing entertainment for more than 499 people (including staff and performers) it is almost certainly the former
  3. Do you need to close roads to allow crowds in or out, or routes for fire safety? Traffic Management Orders need to be obtained well in advance of the event. Don’t forget to consider permissions for routes over private land or roads
  4. If you hold the premises licence, you can be prosecuted for underage sales. How are you controlling the individuals or companies serving the alcohol, what training is provided and what measures are they using to ensure proper control?
  5. The new corporate manslaughter legislation introduced in 2008 means that fatalities at the site can be blamed on the event organisers. Know how to protect yourself
  6. How good is your liaison with the police and EHO? Never forget that both have powers to immediately shut down a festival if you are making too much noise or if there are potential issues relating to crime and disorder
  7. Everybody needs good neighbours! Speaking to the residents in the vicinity will give you a better insight into likely problems and will be more likely to get the residents on your side
  8. Be aware of local legislation. Some authorities have the right to seek compensation for providing services for festivals. Not all councils can or would charge but it is worth being aware that there could be additional costs
  9. Clearing up at the end. Most contracts for the hire of a site insist that you leave it in the same state you found it, or indemnify them for any costs incurred when they have to clean it
  10. Health and Safety risk assessments must be carried out prior to the event and should form the basis of any applications for a licence. In addition, you will need to provide fire risk assessments, security risk assessments and do not forget the noise risk assessment.

For much more detailed information and advice contact one of our solicitors.

Note: Temporary Event Notices (TENs) can be used for ‘festivals’ with under 500 capacity (staff included).

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