Are you organising an outdoor music event?

For the purposes of this guidance:

  • ‘small’ events are those with less than 500 people in attendance at any one time.
  • ‘medium’ events will be events with 500-4,999 people in attendance at any one time.
  • ‘large’ events are those with 4,999+ people in attendance at any one time.


The following advice is subject to change

Planning for an event in 2021 is currently a very difficult task, however a recovery roadmap has been outlined by the government which contains dates indicating when certain events may take place. These dates are not deadlines, they are best case scenario guides only and are subject to change if at any time the data indicates a rise in National or Local COVID-19 cases.

On the 22nd February 2021, the government has clarified which type of events are allowed within the new roadmap system. Below is a breakdown of the current expected dates for resumption of certain activity:

Step 1 – Not before 29th March

Social contact restrictions will be eased to allow the rule of 6 to meet outside. Organised outdoor sport and leisure facilities and outdoor parent and child groups (up to 15 people) will be allowed but no events will be able to take place during this time.

Step 2 – Not before 12th April

Most outdoor attractions will reopen but wider social contact rules and COVID-secure guidance will still apply in all settings. Event pilots are due to take place during this step and any lessons identified at these pilots will most likely influence events due to take place in step 3 or 4.

Step 3 – Not before 17th May

In all sectors COVID-secure guidance will remain in place and businesses may not cater for groups bigger than the legal limits.

The government will also allow some larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half full (whichever is a lower number, and in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people of half-full (whichever is a lower number).

Step 4 – Not before 21st June (on the 14th June this was extended to Not Before 19th July)

Step 4 takes place no earlier than 19th July, the government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact.

Restrictions on large events outlined in step 3 will be eased but this decision is subject to the results of a scientific events research programme to test the outcome of certain pilot events through spring and summer. This will also guide decisions on whether all limits can be removed on large events from the 19th July onwards.

In addition to all of the above, regardless of what step the UK may be in, it should be noted that local outbreaks will still be managed quickly and effectively to combat dangerous variants and this could include some form of localised lockdown and restrictions to any event within the geographic area of the outbreak.

Ensure that as part of your event planning process that you have a robust cancellation policy (and appropriate insurances if required) as things can change quite quickly so all eventualities will need to have been considered.

The latest Government Coronavirus/Covid-19 can be viewed here.

Will my event need to be licensed (Licensing Act 2003)?

No licence is required for live unamplified music between 08:00hrs and 23:00hrs if the audience is no more than 500.

A licence is always required for the “sale or supply of alcohol”. Licensable activities include:

  • the sale/supply of alcohol.
  • the provision of regulated entertainment – plays, films, live music, recorded music, performance of dance.
  • the provision of late night refreshment (the sale of hot food or drink (including non-alcoholic drinks) between 23:00 and 05:00hrs.

If your event involves activities that require a licence, and the premises is not already licensed, a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) or Premises Licence may be required.

Temporary Event Notice

Temporary Event Notice (TEN) is restricted to events where there will be no more than 499 people (including performers/staff) on the premises at any one time.

A TEN must be made to the Licensing Authority at least 10 working days in advance of the event (NOTE: you should submit your TEN as early as possible* before the event because an Event Management Plan (see below) and other relevant documents may be required ; without an Event Management Plan etc there is a risk that a TEN will be subject to an objection).

(*If your event will be considered by a Safety Advisory Group; the agencies within the group will need to see your completed Event Management Plan at least 8 weeks before the event).

One TEN can include multiple licensable activities for the same event.

For more information please visit our Temporary Event Notice (TEN) page.

Premises Licence

Events with a capacity of 500 persons or more will require a Premises Licence.

The premises licence application process takes a minimum of 28 days plus an additional 28 days to determine if there are objections. You should make your application at least 4 months* before the event and be aware that there is the risk that a premises licence may not be granted. Therefore, you may wish to obtain a premises licence before making any financial commitments e.g. booking bands, stage equipment etc.

(*If your event will be considered by a Safety Advisory Group; the agencies within the group will need to see your completed Event Management Plan at least 8 weeks before the event or the timescale set in licence conditions).

For more information please see our Premises Licence page.

Please see for further guidance on Entertainment Licensing.