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Applying for a Music Festival Premises Licence.

Andy Robertson

Anyone proposing a music festival at a new UK site venue will have to submit a premises licence application to their local authority well in advance and it's an essential part of the event planning process. What are the requirements for submitting an application and what types of information need to be included to gain approval.


The premises licence application process can be complex with the added complication of differing requirements depending on the local authority where the proposed festival will take place. A thorough investigation of specific requirements should be undertaken by festival organisers to ensure relevant information is submitted in good time to allow for due consideration in the approval process.

Timing. 
Before starting any detailed planning, it is essential to establish the timing required for submission of any application. Each authority will have their own requirements but in general applications should be submitted at least 90 days prior to the proposed dates. In reality it should be well in advance of this as any financial commitment by festival organises will depend on approval. The organisers should obtain approval prior to incurring any substantial expenses. It is not uncommon for organisers to submit an application a year in advance.

Information Required. 
The application should include details of the organising entity including any legally registered limited companies along with director's names and their personal details. The key data required on the application should include all of the following: 

  • Event dates and proposed opening hours.
  • Proposed alcohol sales times.
  • Details of dance, film, live and recorded music performances along with proposed hours.
  • Prevention of crime and disorder proposals including details of qualified security personnel or contractors and their duties.
  • Proposals for the prevention of public nuisance including monitoring of noise and procedures for handling public complaints.
  • A detailed proposal to demonstrate how the organisers will ensure the protection of children from any harm.
  • A general description of the premises detailing the size along with a detailed site plan showing all access roads and proposed usage. 

Approval Process.
The premises licence application usually carries a fee of about £200 and the process will involve scrutiny by relevant parties. This may include the local police, emergency services, environment agencies and the health and safety executive. It is better to submit too much detailed information than rely on vague statements. After the application submission it's not unusual to receive an objection from the local council which will include a detailed written response. The most common mistakes made by applicants is not providing details about the event, number of visitors and their demographics. Missing evidence of specific detailed experience and references for the organisers will also probably lead to objections . Other common objections can also include lack of detailed traffic management and controls for any environmental impact. Site plans that omit details of any on-site structures of the number of proposed vendors can also lead to rejection. 

It is important to remember that there are various aspects to obtaining the correct licences which may include premises licences, planning permission and the sale of alcohol all of which may be handled in a slightly different way. For a new music festival, it may be prudent to employ the services of someone who is familiar with the application process to limit any potential objections.

For festival organisers planning their events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich: https://www.pexels.com/photo/people-brainstorming-at-the-office-7433850/Photo by Vlada Karpovich: https://www.pexels.com/photo/people-brainstorming-at-the-office-7433850/Photo by Vlada Karpovich: https://www.pexels.com/photo/people-brainstorming-at-the-office-7433850/ Photo by Vlada Karpovichto by Vlada Karpovich: https://www.pexels.com/photo/people-brainstorming-at-the-office-7433850/

Andy Robertson
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