Large public event

Large public events such as shows, music events and festivals with more than 500 people attending including the sale or supply of alcohol, provision of entertainment or sale of late night refreshment will need a premises licence.

Apply for a premises licence in advance of the proposed event.

Responsibilities and liabilities

The overall responsibility for Health and Safety under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Public Safety falls on the event organiser(s) in conjunction with the landowner. Therefore it is important that the appropriate level of Public and Employer Liability insurance is in place for the entire duration of the event including set up and take down. It is also important that event organisers are fully aware of their duties and responsibilities to ensure the event is run safely for all persons concerned.

What about insurance?

You will need a minimum of £5 million Public Liability Insurance which will provide cover against injury and damages claims. Enclose the Insurance Certificate with the application.

Do I need to apply to have the road closed?

Apply for a road closure giving a minimum six week notice in advance of the event if you need to close a road. However, if you are organising a street meet you may not always need a road closure notice, please check.

Organising large public events

The organiser of any large public event has the prime responsibility for safety and security. When organising a large public event you must consider the following:

  • Having appropriately qualified and competent Health and Safety personnel experienced in the specific nature of the event to co-ordinate the management of Health and Safety.
    Consult the Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register website to find a health and safety expert.
  • Detailed risk assessment of the event site in conjunction with the landowner to identify all site hazards
  • Liaison with all emergency and regulation services possibly through Safety Advisory Group meetings
  • Electrical Safety
  • Gas Safety
  • Fire Safety
  • First Aid Provision
  • Toilet Provision
  • Potable Water Supply
  • Utilisation of competent contractors (possibly through the use of contractor approval scheme)
  • Traffic Management both on site and off site
  • Stewarding
  • Major incident planning and show stop procedures
  • Crowd Management
  • Communication both internally and with external emergency services
  • Noise Management
  • Waste Management
  • Campsite Management
  • Structural Safety
  • Car Parking
  • Children
  • Performers, Special effects and additional hazards

This list does not cover all elements as each event and site is unique therefore it is up to event organisers to identify all areas requiring control.

Guidance on running events safely

Read guidance on running events safely on the HSE website for a host of information to help organisers, contractors, health and safety advisers and event workers.

Electrical specification for events

Read electrical specification for events to ensure any electrical systems you use at your event are safe.

Using outside caterers

Read food hygiene requirements for caterers at outdoor events.

Food safety

See food safety advice on the Food Standards Agency website for food safety advice, including guidance on food allergies.

Are you using agricultural land?

If you are using land that is normally home to animals you must ensure cattle and other farmed animals are excluded from grazing the land that is to be used for events ie camping and entertainment (excluding car parking areas) for a minimum of 21 days prior to any access for the event site build until all event activities have ceased. This is to try to minimise the risk of contamination from animal faeces.

Last updated: Wednesday, 24 April, 2024.