Your quick guide to event licences

So, you are organising an event and the venue and entertainment are booked, the food and drink is ordered. But, have you thought about what event licences you might need?

This will all depend on the type of event that you are organising, if you are serving food and drink and where and when the event will be held. Check if the venue that you are using already has in place the licences that you need.

Do I need a licence to be able to serve alcohol?

If you are holding your event at a venue which doesn’t already hold a licence to serve alcohol, or you are serving drinks after 11pm then you will need a Temporary Event Notice for events attracting less than 500 people. For larger events you will need to apply for a Premises Licence.

Event Licences - Alcohol


What is a Temporary Event Notice?

If you’re organising a temporary event and want to serve or sell alcohol, provide late night refreshment, or put on regulated entertainment at a non-licensed premises then you will need to complete a temporary event notice (TEN).

For the purpose of a TEN, a temporary event is a relatively small-scale event attracting fewer than 500 people (including staff) and lasting no more than 168 hours.

Do I need a licence to be able to play music?

This will very much depend on the venue, the numbers attending and the time that you will be playing music. The venue that you are using might already have a licence that covers your event requirements but if it doesn’t then you should check what is required through your local authority.

Event Licences - Music

Do I need a licence to put on a play or show?

If the performance takes place between 8am and 11pm and involves fewer than 500 people, then you don’t need a licence. You may need a licence in other circumstances. This licence can also cover alcohol requirements for your event.

Do I need a licence to screen a film?

You do need a licence to show a film or exhibit moving pictures. Exemptions are made for places of worship, church halls, Education and television broadcasts. You will need a ‘non theatrical’ film licence for events such as film clubs, one off events, screenings in common areas for residents or passengers.

Do I need a licence to put on a sporting event?

You do not need a licence for most indoor sporting events held between 8am and 11pm and with less than 1000 spectators. If an event is to be held after 11pm, involve a larger number of spectators or includes boxing or wrestling then you will need to apply for a licence.

So, identify what your event will involve, timings and number of attendees and this will help you to identify the event licences that you will need. Most small events of less than 500 people can be covered with a Temporary Event Notice.

If your event takes place after 11pm or attracts more than 500 people you will need a licence to cover your specific event requirements.

Get event insurance with Protectivity

Whatever type of event you’d like to run, there is always something that can go wrong that is completely unforeseen. Whether it’s damage to someone’s property, injury to a person attending, or event cancellation due to forces outside your control, it’s easy for even the best-planned event to be left substantially out of pocket.

Because of this, no event should run without good-quality insurance cover in place, and this is exactly where Protectivity can help. Our specialist event insurance policies include Public Liability insurance, insurance for event cancellation, protection for equipment, and Employer’s Liability if you’re hiring staff to work on your event. That way, even in the worst-case scenario, you can be sure your business and organisation is protected from a financial standpoint.

Take a look, to find out more about our flexible and affordable event insurance policies.

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