Information for Event Organisers

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

At this time Government are advising local authorities should avoid issuing licenses for events that could lead to larger gatherings forming. We recommend that you keep up to date with the current government guidelines for mass gatherings and social distancing.  


Following recent increases in national infection rates and changes to legislation and guidance from Government, a decision was recently made to withdraw consent for all larger events that are due to take place on council land in the city between now and the end of December and we will be keeping future events under review in line with Government guidance as it is issued.



See Guidance for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) sectors in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19) This includes links to -

Events Industry Forum. Outdoor events, that are organised by businesses, charitable organisations, and public bodies, may have more than 30 attendees provided they have carried out a thorough risk assessment and taken all reasonable steps to mitigate the risk of viral transmission, taking into account that risk assessment, in line with Covid-19 Secure guidance.
This includes ensuring that social distancing between different households or support bubbles is maintained at all times with the audience, participants, and between event staff, contractors and performers. 

From Mon 14 Sept 20, the new govt restrictions on groups of people getting together (rule of 6), relates to gatherings of groups within an event, it does not apply to the numbers allowed to attend an event which, as set out in the EIF/DCMS guidance, should be established by the event risk assessment. Under the new regulations, groups from more than one household are limited to six and organisers should take this into account in their risk assessments and do all they can to ensure they stay in separate groups.
All organised events of over 30 people should be ticketed or otherwise controlled to ensure that Covid-19 secure guidance and government regulation is upheld. The numbers of tickets issued should ensure that social distancing can be maintained, that the limit of 6 in a group is not exceeded and can be used to support the *NHS Test and Trace. Test and Trace will become a legal requirement from Friday 18 Sept.
In addition, those operating venues or running events following Covid-19 Secure guidance should take additional steps to ensure the safety of the public and prevent large gatherings or mass events from taking place.
The Events Industry Forum has published guidance on outdoor events which has been developed with input from DCMS.
See Events Industry Forum: Keeping workers and audiences safe during COVID-19 in the Outdoor Event Industry in England (updated 24 Aug). Download document

Performing Arts
. The government has developed a five-stage roadmap to bring performing arts back safely. Outdoor performances with a socially distanced audience are now permitted to take place. Please read Guidance for people who work in performing arts, including arts organisations, venue operators and participants for more information.

Organising outdoor sport and physical activity events.
The government has published guidance on a range of issues core to the delivery of outdoor sport and physical activity participation events. Please read - Guidance for the public on the phased return of outdoor sport and recreation for more information.

*Test and Trace. The opening up of the economy following the COVID-19 outbreak is being supported by NHS Test and Trace. From 18 Sept it will be a legal requirement for all Event Organisers to assist this service by keeping a temporary record of attendees for 21 days, in a way that is manageable for your organisation, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed. This could help contain clusters or outbreaks.
Many businesses and organisations that take bookings already have systems for recording their attendees and you should do the same at your event to help fight the virus. Even if your event is free, attendees should pre-book spaces/tickets in advance and specific details required can be recorded at the same time. The Events Industry Forum have worked with relevant bodies to design a system in line with data protection legislation, details of which can be found here.

The NHS COVID-19 app launch - 24 Sept.
Create a coronavirus NHS QR code for your venue

For all updated government information -

Working Safely - The Visitor Economy

Meeting Others Safely - Social Distancing

Coronavirus FAQs - What You Can And Can't Do

Event Organisers please read letter from South Western Railway - Working together to reschedule public events

Please note: In accordance with Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No.3) Regulations 2020, the Regulation 5(1) gives local authorities the power to close and restrict events with immediate effect in order to respond to a serious and imminent threat to public health and control the transmission in its area.



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.

The Process 

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

How much notice do you need?
Ideally, contact Event Management 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.

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. This form is easy to complete, although if you have any questions or are unsure about anything, contact the Event Management 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.
As well as completing and submitting the application form, you also need to submit - 

  • Site Specific event risk assessment 
  • COVID-19 risk assessment to take full account of the measures proposed to prevent and control the potential for COVID transmission.
  • Fire risk assessment
  • Public liability insurance 
  • Site plan /route plan 
  • Event Management Plan (EMP) to include event overview and schedule, traffic management plan and emergency procedures.
  • COVID ESAG Event Checklist*

Download and complete the * COVID ESAG Event Checklist as this will be used to assess your risk assessment and event plans, to ensure your documentation includes all the relevant information required before submission.

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 and Ambulance services 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. 
In light of COVID-19, the City Council’s Public Health Team has recently joined the ESAG to review the COVID-19 risk assessments submitted with applications and provide advice from preventing the spread of infection (PSI) perspective; taking into account the current national guidance and the local context. This will assist Event Organisers to incorporate mitigating and control measures into their event plans to help prevent the spread of infection.
Events that attract more than 250 people at any one time may need to be referred to the Health Protection Board (HPB); a multi-partnership Board that is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of Southampton’s Outbreak Control Plan. It is important for the HPB to have role in advising whether events should take place from a PSI of COVID-19 infection perspective and be able to assess any cumulative impact of multiple events taking place, as events could have an impact on the transmission of the virus within and outside the city.

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

It’s also important to note that at this time, all events are subject to cancellation without liability to the City Council and even when permission has been granted this could be revoked at any time, if necessary, which may include closing events that are already in progress.


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?
Event Management 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’ll 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 minimun 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 
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 

Southampton City Council has recently introduced 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, using local suppliers where possible.

Events and Festivals Grants
Southampton City Council offers grants to support event organisers to hold events and festivals across the city of Southampton. Grants of between £250 and £10,000 are available to support up to 75% of the costs of events and festivals that are accessible to the general public.
Who can apply?
- Non-for-profit organisations, including 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 about grants to support event organisers to hold events and festivals across the city of Southampton 

More Grants for Events
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.

Promotional Activities
There are several key locations that are used for promotional 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


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.  
Digital advertising: Website and E-newsletters.  
Find out more about Commercial Services: Lamp posts, lift doors.  

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 


Event and Promotions Application form
- Event Management Plan template
- COVID ESAG Event Checklist
- Keeping workers and audiences safe during COVID-19 In the Outdoor       Event Industry in England
- Guidance to Emergency Planning and Incident Reporting
- Events Support
- Police – Counter Terrorism security advice for events

You May Also Like

Subscribe to our newsletter for updates on all things Southampton!

Submitting your information...

Submitting your information...

Thank you! You will receive an email to confirm your subscription.

Back to top