Expert Advice - Activity Permits can cost you more than you think.

Updated: Oct 6, 2021

It all starts with an idea. A small-medium size venue owner wants to bring entertainment into their place of

business. A lot of the time mostly due to budget the venue has little to no experience in bringing in experts to aid their team to the live phase and even during that live phase.

Apart from the talent buying, marketing and advertising, and gear sourcing headaches. If you are hosting a large outdoor gathering City’s/Villages/Townships may require a special activity/event permit. These permit requirements get more complex as the amount of people and parts (activities, adult beverages, footprint, vendors, etc) come together.

The Permit

Let’s say you are the owner of a bar and have decided to bring in an artist that could draw 500+ people. You have perfect space on property outdoors to host the band along with space to accommodate such guests. Upon talking with the local government you find out they are requesting all site plans in advance of issuing permit.

- Parking plan

- Inbound plan for bus and drop offs

- Any streets being effected by inbound and outbound vehicles

- Safety plan (security and medical)

- All site placements (tents, atm’s, food and beverage consumption types and areas, etc)

- Vendor plan for sales tax permits etc

This list can go on… Whenever I do any open air or indoor music function, regardless of size, it is point one to understand what the local government specifically wants from us as producer and promoter. An Event Operations Plan is generated in specific event language in case those plans are requested or needed. Avoiding fines and penalties is the main reason. To not only be financially successful but to continue producing in any area it is imperative you have local government on your side and working together towards the common goal.

The takeaways are:

1. Consult with professionals to aid in guiding your team and lookout for your best interests. Litigation resulting from poor planning is real and has happened.

2. A professional with experience can develop EOP’s quickly and correctly. While expensive can be a good insurance policy and defense if you go to court.

3. Umbrella Liability Insurance providers are very accepting when you have these plans and professionals involved. Especially when trying to get a lower rate and develop a long term relationship.

4. Take the stress away from having to learn a set complex skills.

I make this post as I have been reading about how some have made these mistakes over the summer. And they are now under investigation and facing potential fines due to innocent mistakes trying to improve sales at their establishments.


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