Information for Event Organisers

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. 

Event Application Process

Group of runners taking part in the Southampton ABP marathon

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

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 an online Event and Promotions Application form.  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 read our terms and conditions.

Image: Let's Rock Southampton

As well as completing the application form, you also need to submit:

  • Event Management Plan (EMP) to include event overview and schedule, traffic management plan and emergency procedures. You can download an EMP template here or at the end of this page to use as a guide.
  • Site Specific event risk assessment.  This should incorporate the protection against respiratory infections such as COVID-19. Consider the basics i.e. ventilation, cleaning, hand hygiene, permissive culture of wearing face coverings for staff and event attendees and messaging not to attend if you have respiratory infection symptoms. Note that your plans and assessments may need to be reviewed and amended to comply and adhere with any changes in government guidelines.
  • Fire risk assessment
  • Public liability insurance
  • Site plan /route plan

If you have any files you are unable to upload with the online application due to file size limits, then please email them to events@southampton.gov.uk with your form submission reference/event name.

People sat outside on grass enjoying live music at mela festival

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

Zoie Logic Dance Theatre lead The Grid Experience in Southampton's Cultural Quarter


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


Image: The Grid Experience

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 events@southampton.gov.uk 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.

Licensing

Do you need a Temporary Events Notice or Premises Licence?
Your application is also sent to the City Council’s Licensing team who will assess whether your proposed event / promotion will require a Licence under the Licensing Act (2003) e.g. Temporary Events Notice (TENs) or a Premises Licence. If your event / promotion does require a licence, please remember that it will be your responsibility to obtain this at your own expense. This is in addition to the fee payable for using the land for your event / promotion.
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.  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 SouthamptonTMA@balfourbeatty.com 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 events@southampton.gov.uk 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 is unable to give permission for private events or private parties.
Please view this web link for parks information and do's and don'ts regarding BBQs.
Please view this web link for information and guidance on private parties and large gatherings on council land.

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 a public event or promotion in Southampton, please email events@southampton.gov.uk

Mpox: planning events and mass gatherings

Find out the latest public health principles to support planning for events and mass gatherings during the current Mpox outbreak from the  gov.uk website guidance

Sustainability at events

Our Greener City Southampton logo

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.

Increasing the use of reusable cups at events not only assists towards sustainability targets but is an effective way to reduce waste and litter. The Refill Campaign from City to Sea have a lot of guidance to share with event organisers to make your event more sustainable. 
The information and guidance is designed to make it simpler for event organisers and their attendees to act on waste and transition from single-use-disposable plastic cups to reusable ones, preventing millions of single-use cups from ending up in our waste stream - or worse our natural environment.
See Refill Guide to Events
  for ideas to make single-use cups a thing of the past at your event.
Takeaway Packaging Guidance

Government Guidance - Single-use plastics ban: plates, bowls, trays, containers, cutlery and balloon sticks

Healthy Weight Declaration

Healthy weight logo

Southampton City Council has committed to promoting healthy weight and improving the health and well-being of its residents by signing up to the Local Authority Declaration on Healthy Weight*.
The council's commitment recognises that there are numerous factors that contribute to overweight and obesity, including access to healthy food, the marketing of unhealthy foods and drinks, and opportunities for physical activity and it has adopted a range of measures to create a healthy weight environment in the city.
As part of this commitment, we urge all event organisers to increase the availability, convenience, and affordability of healthier foods and drinks where these are provided, while also limiting access to high-calorie, low-nutrient options at city events.

Please indicate in your event management plan how your event will align with this Healthy Weight Declaration.

*The Local Authority Declaration on Healthy Weight presents the opportunity for all local authorities to lead local action and demonstrate good practice in adopting a systems approach to promote healthy weight and overall good health and well-being in communities.

Grants for events

Celebrations Grant
The Southampton City Council's Celebrations Grant offers grants up to £500 as a contribution towards the cost of community events that celebrate recognised local, national or international days.

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.

Events Support

Digital advertising board on Above Bar Street

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.

Documents and links

If you do not have experience of organising events, it is recommended that you consult The Purple Guide as it provides useful advice on organising safe events.
The Cabinet Office has also produced a helpful "Can Do" guide to organising and running voluntary and community events which you may find useful. You also may wish to contact the council’s Events Team for advice.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Events Team. events@southampton.gov.uk

Useful Documents and links

- Event and Promotions Application online form
Event Management Plan template  this example can be adapted and can assist you in the whole planning process of your successful event.
- Emergency Planning EMP guidance
- HSE Risk Assessment guidance
- Fire Risk Assessment guidance - for open air events and venues
Guidance : Voluntary and community events a 'can do' guide
The Purple Guide - to Health, Safety and Welfare at Music and Other Events
Events Support 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
Transport
Falls from height
Electrical safety
Fire safety
Special effects
Noise
Amusements and attractions
Employee welfare
Handling waste

Crowded Places Guidance / Martyn's Law

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.

For the latest up to date version of NaCTSO guidance, please visit www.protectuk.police.uk
Martyns Law what you need to know - Martyn’s Law aims to enhance public safety by ensuring there is better preparedness for, and protection from, terrorist attacks.

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