Planning your event: venue and site facilities

How to choose the right venue, depending on the size of the event

When you are thinking about where to hold your event, there are somethings you need to consider.    

Think about the size of your event, the equipment you might need, and the number of people you plan to attract.

Have a think about

  • How many people are likely to attend. Research other similar events - is the site big enough to accommodate everyone comfortably?
  • Are there enough exits to get everyone out in an emergency?
  • Are there any features that might impact on the event? Examples might be ditches, banks, trees, overhead cables, gradients, ponds, rivers, sub stations, ground conditions
  • Can you get any vehicles you need on and off the site without causing any damage or getting stuck?
  • If the event takes place in the evening is the lighting good enough?
  • Will it be accessible to everyone?
  • What effect will the event have on parking in the surrounding area?
  • What are the timings for the event, particularly if it is in a residential area?
  • Do a site visit and draw everything you need onto a site plan. It makes it easier to visualise and explain to others


Look at things like:

  • toilet provision
  • waste and recycling facilities
  • electricity supply
  • water supply
  • any fencing you need
  • parking facilities
  • public transport

Decide if you need anything else for the audience you hope to attract. Remember though, that anything you hire will be your responsibility once it is on site, and it must be covered by your insurance. You need to think about these things early enough so that you can arrange for services to be provided.

Small, Medium and Large Events

Try to decide as soon as possible on the venue or area you want to use, what the event will consist of, and the date and time you want it to take place. The sooner you know these things, the sooner you can start organising. We need to know about your event at least 6 weeks before your event. If it's a large event, we ideally need to know 9 to 12 months in advance.

Remember that licensing applications can take up to three months if you need one. And you need to build in time to publicise your event so that it is a success!

For any size event, think about:

  • getting your idea in place
  • identifying your target audience
  • speaking to people to find out if they would be interested in your event
  • what type of event you want to hold
  • whether anyone can attend
  • if there are lots of different components to your event, that might make it complex to organise
  • whether you need professional organisers
  • if there is anyone not directly involved in the event that might be affected or put at risk, for example, parking, provision for anyone needing regular medical attention
  • what external publicity you need
  • your public liability insurance, which you have to have
  • any other insurance you might need 
  • any road closures - for roads, bus routes and through routes. Remember you need to apply for these at least 6 weeks before the event
  • what's happening at the event - is there a timeframe for it and for any of the activities
  • is your budget realistic? Have you had quotes to get the best prices?
  • Who else is involved in your event? Are there other organisations or volunteers?
  • Do you have a committee to help you organise the event? If you don't, do you need one?
  • Are you using public or private land? Do you have permission to use the land?
  • Are you charging for your event or is admission free? If you are charging, are you selling tickets beforehand or doing it on the gate?