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How to organise a successful event

Holding a successful event, particularly a major event, can be hugely rewarding but requires the necessary preparation. This guide offers step-by-step advice on how the process works, what you need to do, and when.

Select a stage of the process to learn about what's involved, and to gather further sources of information or support.

  1. Step1

    If you want to hold an event on Bath & North East Somerset council land or highways, you'll need to start by reading our Event Policy.

    We advise you to apply to hold your event as soon as possible, to avoid disappointment and to allow enough time to gain permissions, and prepare documentation.

    • For a major event (500 attendees or more), we recommend starting at least 12 months in advance.
    • For a small-scale event, we recommend starting at least 6 months in advance.

    The first step of planning an outdoor event in Bath & North East Somerset is to check that your chosen dates are available. Please do this by completing our online enquiry form. We can calculate our land hire charge online as you complete the form, so you can compare options and make your choice. Once you submit the completed form, our Events Office will confirm the charge and venue availability within 5 working days of submission.

    You must check our Event Policy, Section 20. Restricted Events, before submitting your enquiry.

    Make a venue availability and land hire charge enquiry online

    WarningThe enquiry form is only used to get confirmation of venue availability and land hire charges, but is NOT an application to hold an event. If you are happy to proceed, please progress to Step 2 below to submit your application
  2. Step 2

    1. When you've confirmed venue availability and costs and you're ready to proceed, you can submit an application via our online portal. This will involve outlining the essential details of your event, and providing a brief but detailed summary. Remember that you'll need to apply for permission for your event, whether it's at a council venue or not.

    2. We charge a non-refundable administration fee at this stage for checking, validating and processing applications. This is payable when you submit your event application via our online portal.

      Apply online to hold an event

      At the point of booking 50% of the land hire fee is due to secure your dates. The remaining balance is then due 6 months prior to your event. If booking 6 months or less in advance, full payment will be due.

    3. Following your application, our Events Office team will liaise with other relevant teams within the council, the blue light services and various stakeholders, to discuss the suitability and viability of your event. We will let you know if we can give you approval to proceed within 10 working days.

      After approval, we can advise you on all of the documentation you will need to put in place before your event can go ahead. You will be required to upload all full and final documentation to our online portal 8 weeks in advance of your event set-up date. This will include all of the following (and may include other documents or licences, depending on the nature of the event):

      • Event Management Plan
      • Risk Assessments
      • Traffic Management Plan
      • Site Plan
      • Public Liability Insurance

      You can find document templates and examples on our event forms and guidance page.

      The Purple Guide to Health, Safety and Welfare at Music and Other Events has been drawn up by the Events Industry Forum in consultation with the UK events industry, including representatives from regional and national Government.

      The Health and Safety Executive Guidance on Running Events Safely provides information which will help organisers run a safe event.

  3. Step 3

    There are a number of permissions you may need to obtain, depending on the scale/type of your event. You will need to submit all full and final event documentation via our online portal 8 weeks in advance of your event set-up date, for submission to the Safety Advisory Group for Events (SAGE). You will need to have permissions in place by this point so you should make your applications for permissions to the relevant council teams as soon as you start to plan your event.

    You should apply for any of the following services you need at least 10 weeks in advance of your event date
  4. Step 4

    Part of the planning process for an outdoor event involves consulting with local residents and businesses. You will need to inform Residents' Associations in Bath or the wider Bath and North East Somerset area who may be affected by your event. You may also need to tell the Bath Business Improvement District.

    You will need to notify B&NES Ward Councillors, and brief them on the details of the event taking place in their ward.

    You are advised to start these conversations early in the planning process, to identify any problems early, and find solutions. We can assist in directing you to the relevant contacts.

  5. Step 5

    You will need to book services such as waste, recycling and cleansing for your event. It is your responsibility to ensure the site is left how it was found, by removing any waste generated by the event.

    As a council, we have declared a Climate Emergency, and we strongly recommend that you recycle all eligible waste. Our Event Policy has guidance on reducing and managing waste, and the Climate Emergency.

    You must use an Environment Agency registered waste and recycling service and ensure that your service provider follows all duty of care responsibilities.

    You may also need to consider the following services:

    • Security provision: stewards (including SIA and Chapter 8), crowd management, protection of children and vulnerable adults, overnight security
    • Medical provision: ambulance, paramedic, first aid qualified staff or volunteers
    • Toilet facilities: male, female, disabled, baby changing areas
    • Utilities: electricity, water, LPG
    • Infrastructure: marquees, gazebos, staging
    • Communications: control room, information, radios, mobile phones
    • Insurances: Public Liability for you and your concessions, other insurances
    • Consultant services: noise management, food safety, health and safety, fire prevention
  6. Step 6

    At 8 weeks prior to the event set-up date, your Event Management Plan should be completed with no further updates required. You will need to upload all documents which form your Event Management Plan to our online portal.

    You will need to ensure you upload the following key documents:

    • Event Management Plan
    • Risk Assessments
    • Traffic Management Plan
    • Site Plan
    • Public Liability Insurance

    Apply to hold an event online

    Once you have submitted your full and final documents, our Events Office team will consult with the Safety Advisory Group for Events (SAGE). We will feed back any comments to you through the online portal.

    SAGE includes Avon & Somerset Police, Avon Fire & Rescue, South West Ambulance Service Trust, and key local authority officers such as Emergency Planning, Traffic Management Team, Parking Services, Environmental Protection, Licensing, Building Control, Waste and Cleansing, and other relevant key officers.

    If you are staging a new or major event, you may need to attend a meeting with SAGE, approximately 6 weeks prior to your event date.

    WarningIf there are safety concerns raised by SAGE at this stage which you cannot rectify, then it is possible that we will have to decline your event application at this stage.

    You and your event management team will be legally responsible for the health and safety planning of your event. SAGE acts in an independent advisory capacity only, providing advice to event organisers. It is you who retains the legal responsibility for ensuring a safe event. Individual representatives of organisations forming SAGE may have powers to require you to comply with legal obligations.

    When hiring a B&NES Park a refundable deposit against damages will be taken 8 weeks prior to the event.

  7. Step 7

    So, how did we all do? The feedback and debrief stage is an essential part of the event. This will assist you in measuring the success of your event, demonstrate the economic benefit it brings to the Bath and North East Somerset area, and will inform our Events Office on how we can improve our service.

    We will encourage you to work in partnership with us to undertake surveys of visitors/participants and staff during the event . Other council teams may also request feedback via the Events Office. We will use any or all of this information in forming a debrief session.

    Our Events Office will keep you updated via a quarterly newsletter on local policies which may affect your event, particularly if it is repeated annually (for example, Bath's Clean Air Zone policy)