Organising a public event: how we can help you plan ahead

Whether you are organising a craft fair, a sports event or a music festival, it is important to ensure your event is fun, safe and legal. Aberdeenshire Council can help you achieve this and make the process of organising an event easier.

From checking which licence you need, to whether you need a roads order, the guidance on this page will give you and your team a framework for planning your event in a structured way.

By inviting the public to your event, you have legal responsibilities to ensure that it does not cause danger or serious harm. With a little careful planning and by seeking advice, you can minimise these risks.

Every event is different and it is impossible to produce guidance that covers every answer to every question.  If you need more details then you will also find useful links here to information on specific topics such as food safety and crowd control.

This guidance does not cover events which take place in buildings such as public halls, town halls or schools.  Such events are subject to separate procedures.  Contact for further information.

How we can help you plan your event

As a first step, check if you need a Public Entertainment Licence for your event using our Licence checklist (31.3kb) and find detailed advice in our Guide to Public Entertainment Licensing (121kb) .  You can download the application form, complete and send to us along with the additional documentation. Alternatively you can apply online however additional information may be requested in order to process the application.

If you do need a licence, let us know as soon as possible - we suggest contacting us at least 6 months before your event is due to take place. You should obtain written permission from the landowner/occupier before you proceed.

Please email a draft Basic Event Safety Plan (450kb) to as early as possible and this will be shared with Police Scotland and other agencies. This will save you from having to contact other agencies individually.

Once the plan has been reviewed, we will advise you of any additional details that are required, and whether a multi-agency Safety Advisory Group needs to be convened to discuss your application.

Large or Potentially High-Risk Events

If you are organising a large or potentially high-risk event it is best to make contact with the Council at least 12 months in advance to give the Council and other agencies plenty time to look at your plan in detail.

Events on council premises

If your event is being held in council premises or on council ground (i.e. a local park), then you should contact the council service responsible for that venue as early as possible to discuss your plans.  Any delay in contact could jeopardise your event.

Helpful Documents

Aberdeenshire Council has a number of key documents relating to Public Entertainment Licences:

Further information:

  • The Sports Grounds Safety Authority has published guidance on Managing Crowds Safely and a Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds, commonly known as ‘The Green Guide'.
  • The main guidance document for events is the 'The Purple Guide to Health, Safety and Welfare at Music and Other Events' and commonly known as ‘The Purple Guide’
  • Guidance for voluntary groups can be found in the Volunteer Events Review Findings and guidance.
  • Food Standards Scotland provides a wide range of guidance on its website for events dealing with food safety and hygiene issues.

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