Information for Event Organisers

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Important Information for Event Organisers

The government's ‘COVID-19 Response - Autumn and Winter Plan 2021’ sets out the recommendations that everybody should take to protect themselves and others, as we transition towards learning to live with COVID-19.  
the government has announced that the measures put in place under Plan B in England will be lifted. This means:

  • From 27 January, there is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering. People are still advised to wear one in crowded and indoor spaces where they may come into contact with people they do not normally meet. 
  • From 27 January, venues and events are no longer required by law to check visitors’ NHS COVID Pass. They can still choose to use the NHS COVID Pass on a voluntary basis.

Please see all the updated guidance on  Events and attractions - Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)- Guidance - GOV.UK

The pandemic is not over, and various elements of event organisation need to be considered when planning your specific event to help prevent and reduce the spread of infection. It is recommended that you read and understand the guidance ‘Working Safely during Covid-19’ in full as it contains useful information and the priority actions you can take to protect yourself, your staff and your audience / events participating in your event.

Complete a Covid-19 risk assessment which identifies all the risks and mitigation measures including protocols for managing suspected or confirmed cases amongst attendees and whether your workers need personal protective equipment (PPE).
Take steps to reduce the risk of transmission at the event, including putting in place cleaning and hygiene protocols, and ensuring your event has adequate ventilation.
Face coverings: From 27 January, there is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering. People are still advised to wear one in crowded and indoor spaces where they may come into contact with people they do not normally meet. Support your staff if they wish to continue to wear a face mask or face covering.
Display an NHS QR code where practicable so that visitors can check in using the NHS COVID-19 app.
Use the NHS COVID Pass in high risk settings. From 27 January, venues and events are no longer required by law to check visitors’ NHS COVID Pass. They can still choose to use the NHS COVID Pass on a voluntary basis. You can find more information in the NHS COVID Pass guidance.
• Consider asking all employees to get tested regularly.
• Consider the use of crowd management including the use of stewards, zoning and wristbands to maintain infection control.
• Put in place a communications plan to ensure relevant information on COVID-19 measures is communicated to attendees before and during the event.

It is important to recognise that we continue to operate within a global pandemic and, as an event organiser, you are responsible for the safety of staff and visitors at your event under the Health & Safety at Work Act.

On this basis, Public Health strongly recommend that organisers encourage pre-event testing for staff, volunteers and attendees. Local experience with large events has demonstrated the positive impact the above measures can have on infection control.
Find out the latest information on daily COVID 19 updates in Southampton from the Data Observatory website 

Stay up to date with COVID 19 information on the Southampton City Council website

For all event applications, see the event application process information below and note that this process can take up to 12 weeks.  



For all updated government information -

Events and attractions - Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)- Guidance - GOV.UK

COVID-19 Response - Autumn and Winter Plan 2021

Find out what you can and cannot do

NHS Test and Trace 

Create a coronavirus NHS QR code for your venue 

NHS COVID-19 Pass - link with information on how to get your NHS COVID-19 pass and to download the App

Carrying out mandatory COVID status checks at your venue or event

Prove your coronavirus (COVID-19) status at work at venues or events operating COVID-19 status checks

The Purple Guide
- to Health, Safety and Welfare at Music and Other Events

Contain Outbreak Management Fund - support for event organisers - public outdoor events taking place between 20 August 2021 and 31 March 2022

Live Events Reinsurance Scheme   

Events Research Programme

Event Application Process

Southampton - The Ideal Location for Events and Promotional Activities
From small scale community events to large one-off national and international events, Southampton really is the ideal city for your next event. The city boasts more than 50 parks and green spaces and some of these are located right in the heart of the city centre.  
Southampton’s Guildhall Square is well known as the Cultural Quarter of the City and the space itself plays host to many events, installations and exhibitions.
Above Bar Pedestrian Precinct, Bargate Monument and Guildhall Square are popular locations for promotions and experiential marketing activities. 


The Process
It is useful to send Southampton City Council’s Events Team an email and briefly describe what it is you would like to do, where you would like to do it and when.

They will then do a quick check to make sure that your proposed event or promotion does not clash with something else that is happening in the city at the same time and that the location you would like to hold your event is available and suitable.

Image: ABP Marathon

Lets ride image2

How much notice do you need?
Ideally, contact the Events Team about your event as soon as possible as the more notice they have, the more chance there is of being able to overcome any potential problems which may arise.

As a general rule, a minimum 12 weeks’ notice is required. Applications received within this period may not be able to be considered and processed in time, and large-scale or complex events may require even more notice.

Image: Let's Ride Southampton

Lets rock southampton crowd

Event and Promotions Application Form
If the location you would like to use is available and suitable to organise your event or promotion, you will be asked to complete and submit an Event and Promotions Application form to
The form is designed for all types of events and promotions, so please complete as much information as possible that is relevant to your event, you can always attach supporting information. If you have any questions or are unsure about anything, contact the Events Team for assistance. It is advisable to keep a copy of your completed application form together with the terms and conditions for your own records.

Image: Let's Rock Southampton

As well as completing and submitting the application form, you also need to submit -

Note that your plans and assessments may need to be reviewed and amended to comply and adhere with any changes in government guidelines and local restrictions in place at the time of your event.

Download an Event Management Plan template - this example can be adapted and can assist you in the whole planning process of your successful event.
Download a Guidance to Emergency Planning and Incident Reporting.
Also see - Guidance : Voluntary and community events a 'can do' guide


What happens next
Once your completed application and documentation has been received, it will be distributed to the Southampton’s Events Safety Advisory Group (ESAG).
This group consists of representatives from the Police, Fire, South Central Ambulance Service, Public Health as well as other relevant Council departments such as Licensing and Highways.
Other agencies are also consulted as necessary depending on the nature of the event. 

Image: Southampton Mela Festival

Event applications will be considered on a case by case basis.  Documentation submitted will be assessed on the type of event, the COVID-19 mitigations and what is happening in the local area at the time (for example community prevalence, variants of concern and hospital capacity) in order to determine whether there is a significant threat to public health. Please note that any submissions that do not detail how they align with the relevant government guidance will be rejected.

The Grid 2

If your application successfully passes through the ESAG, you will be sent confirmation from Southampton City Council’s Events Team.

Image: The Grid Experience

It is appreciated that it has been a difficult time for event organisers but there remains the risk that restrictions may be reinstated in future and that any events planned are subject to postponement / cancellation even if it has been given permission. Southampton City Council may decide to do this in accordance with its event applications terms and conditions or if it is:
Responding to a serious and imminent threat to public health;
Necessary to prevent, protect against, control or provide a public health response in relation to the incidence or spread of COVID-19; and
The measures taken are a proportionate way to achieve that purpose.

Event Applications FAQs

How much does it cost?
The cost of holding an event or promotion in Southampton varies depending on the location, the duration and nature of the event. Costs can be discussed with you on your initial application.

Costs for a promotional site in the city centre or Guildhall Square vary, depending on the location, size and duration. Please email for more information.

Charity / Fundraising Events
If you are organising a charitable collection as part of your event, you will need to apply for a Street Collection permit from the council's Licensing Team. Find out more about a Street Collection permit.

Do you need a Temporary Events Notice or Premises Licence?
The Events Team can advise if you will require a Temporary Events Notice (TENs) or a Premises Licence for your event.
A TENs - depends on the licensable activities (sale or supply of alcohol, regulated entertainment* and late night refreshment) at a small event (no more than 499 people at any one time) for a short period of time.
You will need to submit your COVID-19 risk assessment when applying for a TEN. Find out more about TENs 

A Premises Licence under the Licensing Act 2003 is required for any premises where any of the following take place: Sale of alcohol by retail / regulated entertainment* / the provision of hot food or hot drink between 23:00 and 05:00 on any day.
*Regulated entertainment is defined as:
- A performance of a play
- An exhibition of a film
- An indoor sporting event
- A boxing or wrestling entertainment
- A performance of live music
- Any playing of recorded music
- A performance of dance
- Anything similar to music or dancing
Find out more about a Premises Licence

Are you playing live or recorded music at your event?
Whether you’re staging music events or playing background music you may need TheMusicLicence. By obtaining TheMusicLicence you’ll be able to play PRS for Music and PPL music legally and enjoy its benefits whilst ensuring that its creators are fairly rewarded for their work.
Find out more about TheMusicLicence

Do you need to apply for a Temporary Road Closure?
A Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) is used to temporarily restrict the movement of traffic or impose waiting restrictions on the public highway. In order to allow sufficient time for the legal process to be completed, Balfour Beatty require a minimum of 8 weeks advanced notice to arrange a TTRO.
Contact Balfour Beatty via email or telephone 023 8079 8030
Find out more about applying for a TTRO
You will also need to appoint a Traffic Management Supplier to create a traffic management plan and to provide signage, road closure infrastructure and staff to implement the approved closures.

Do you need a Child Performance Licence?
If any children under the age of 16 are performing at your event, it is your responsibility as the Event Organiser to apply for the appropriate Child Performance Licence.
Find out more about Child Performance Licence

Bouncy castles: safety advice
These simple precautions can help you avoid serious accidents, whether you supply bouncy castles and inflatables, or you are hiring one for your event.
Find out more from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website

Promotional and Experiential Marketing Activities
There are several key locations that are used for promotional and experiential marketing activities or sampling. Please contact for more information and availability.

Private events
Unfortunately due to the holding powers which govern the use of the city's parks Southampton City Council are unable to give permission for private events or private parties. Please view this web link re parks information and do's and don'ts regarding BBQs.

Promoting your event
Take a look at our Top Tips here to add your event to Visit Southampton's free event listings.

If you require further information on holding an event or promotion in Southampton, please email

Sustainability at events

Our Greener City Southampton

Southampton City Council has a Green City Charter which aims to create a cleaner, green, healthier and more sustainable city.
In practical terms we are keen to ensure that the impact of your event on the environment is minimised.
We want you to consider all elements of your event which help to achieve this goal. Consideration should be given to all aspects of your event including using alternatives to single use plastics; not permitting plastic straws or plastic bags, making use of re-usable or compostable cups, avoiding mixed material packaging, using re-usable bungee or Velcro straps rather than plastic cable ties, reusable water bottles, providing recycling facilities, using bio-diesel generators where possible, encouraging visitors to travel to the event via public transport and using local suppliers and services where possible.

Grants for events

Staysafe Unsplash

Contain Outbreak Management Fund - Support for Event Organisers
It is recognised that as an event organiser there will be additional pressures on you during the Covid-19 pandemic in ensuring your event is safe for visitors and staff. Extra measures are likely to be needed at your event to help reduce and prevent the spread of infection in line with the latest events and attractions guidance.
Limited funding is available for public outdoor events taking place between 20 August 2021 and 31 March 2022, which is designed to help support you in providing additional measures as identified in your risk assessment to create a safer environment.

Find out more >

Events and Festivals Grant
This Southampton City Council grant is open for events taking place before 31 March 2022.
Grants are offered to support event organisers to hold events and festivals with more than 2,000 attendees across the city of Southampton.
Grants of between £250 and £5,000 are available to support up to 50% of the costs of events and festivals that are accessible to the general public.
Applications are welcome from non-profit organisations such as voluntary and community groups, social enterprises, faith organisations, schools, PTAs and ‘Friends of’ groups. For-profit businesses or sole traders (applications will be considered on a case by case basis).
Priority will be given to residents and organisations / businesses based in the City of Southampton.

Find out more >

More Grants for Events

Grants to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in June 2022
The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF) is one of the network of community foundations distributing the ‘Arts Council England Let’s Create Jubilee Fund’ - nearly £150,000 to local community and voluntary organisations to use creative and cultural activities to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June 2022.
Charities, community organisations and voluntary groups working in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (including Southampton and Portsmouth) will be able to apply for grants of up to £10,000. They are encouraged to collaborate with established artists, creatives and cultural organisations to develop their activities. The aim is to ensure that the Jubilee celebrations give people throughout England the chance to experience the best of the country’s culture, while also celebrating an important milestone in national history. 
Full guidance and details on how to apply to the Arts Council England Let’s Create Jubilee Fund will be available on the HIWCF website from 4th January 2022 and applications must be submitted by the closing date of midnight on 4th February 2022.

Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grants
This is an open access programme for arts, museums and libraries projects. The fund supports thousands of individual artists, community and cultural organisations.

Southampton 2025 - UK City of Culture Bid

SO25 Co C bidding city

Southampton is bidding to become the UK City of Culture in 2025.

This is a huge opportunity for the city to celebrate the wealth of cultural activity already taking place, showcase the city’s diversity and use these to address some of the challenges the city is facing.
This is about celebrating what this city has and using the journey to achieve our ambitions as a city.

Your event can be part of this great opportunity to support the bid - get involved and find out more

Events Support

Digital advertising

Events Support
Commercial services from Southampton City Council have reliable, professional services for event organisers in and around Southampton. They have extensive experience of delivering high quality services to residents in the city and can draw on that experience to deliver first-class services for your event including
Waste and recycling: incorporating provision of waste containers and waste disposal.
Cleansing: litter picking services and cleansing services during and after your event, jet washing and mechanical sweeping.
Advertising:  including outdoor and digital advertising opportunities.

Find out more about Commercial Services
View Events Support brochure from Southampton City Council services.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) - Guidance on running events safely
The HSE website will help organisers run events safely. Others may also find the website useful, eg contractors, health and safety advisers and workers at events. Good planning and organisation is essential to putting on an event that is both safe and enjoyable. For many events all that is required is to follow a basic series of steps.

HSE Guidance on running events safely
Venue and site design
Temporary demountable structures
Managing crowds safely
Using barriers at events
Falls from height
Electrical safety
Fire safety
Special effects
Amusements and attractions
Employee welfare
Handling waste

Crowded Places Guidance
NaCTSO (National Counter Terrorism Security Office) is responsible for providing advice and guidance to government and industry to; protect crowded places throughout the UK from the terrorist threat, protect hazardous sites and prevent dangerous substances from being used for terrorist purposes, protect critical national infrastructure from terrorists.

The UK faces a real threat from terrorism and crowded places remain an attractive target. Crowded places include shopping centres, sports stadia, bars, pubs and clubs and event sites which are easily accessible to the public and attractive to terrorists.

A guidance has been written to help those charged with security at crowded places mitigate the threat and help make the UK less vulnerable to an attack. Click on the Major Events section.


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