Many events don’t need a licence. However you should check the situation early on, as if you do need a licence or other permission, this can take some time, even months in some cases.
There is a very useful guide on the government website which tries to help you run an event with the minimum amount of red tape. Read the guide here.
The following events do not need entertainment licences between the hours of 8am and 11pm:
- performances of live unamplified music for audiences
- performances of live amplified music in licensed premises for audiences of up to 200 people
- performances of plays and dance for audiences of up to 500 people
- indoor sporting events for audiences up to 1,000 people
- karaoke – between 8am and 11pm in licensed premises for audiences of 200 or less if there is any amplification
- incidental music - live music that is incidental to other activities that aren’t classed as regulated entertainment
GOV.UK also holds more detail on entertainment licensing.
If you are planning on playing pre-recorded music at an event that is open to the public, check with your venue to see if it holds licences from PRS (Performing Rights Society) for Music and PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited).
If your venue does not hold these licences you should check with those organisations whether you need a licence. A fee will probably be payable.
You don’t need a licence to provide alcohol at a private event, as long as it is not being sold. You must not sell tickets that can then be exchanged for an alcoholic drink, or to ask for a donation in return for alcohol.
You also don’t need a licence if the venue has either of the following:
- a ‘Premises Licence’ and that there is a named ‘supervisor’ who holds a ‘Personal Licence’ to sell alcohol
- a ‘Club Premises Certificate’ which includes the sale of alcohol
This is something you can check with the owner of the venue.
If none of the above apply and you want to:
- have a bar where alcohol is sold
- sell alcohol in another way
- provide entertainment to the wider public
- charge to raise money for your event
You will need a Temporary Event Notice.