Before you get started
Anyone hosting an event on public property or on outdoor private property needs to apply. Whether the event is free or ticketed, open to the public, or invitation only, it doesn’t matter — you still have to apply.
Public events include road races, block parties, festivals, and parades. Some events may include entertainment, games, food, and beverages.
To hold a public event, you may need to get permitted through several departments at the City. Give yourself plenty of time to apply. You must apply at least 30 days before a big event, or two weeks before a smaller one.
Anyone approved to hold a public event must follow the City’s rules and regulations. Learn about the rules for hosting a public event.
Apply to host a public event online
Please submit a public event application. If this is your first event with the City, you will need to set up an online account. Remember to write down your username and password.
When you apply online, you need to give us some general information about your event and include some other documents:
- If you’re holding your event on private property, we need to see a copy of your rental agreement.
- If you will be using a cleaning contractor at your event, please give us a copy of your contract.
- If you need insurance for your event, we also need a copy of the insurance policy.
After you apply online, you’ll get a call from us on how to move forward with your event. We’ll also let you know about any other permits or services you might need. We’ll also either set up a meeting with the public event committee, or you’ll have to meet with individual departments at the City.
Get your information together
You need to get some additional information about your event for your meeting. At a minimum, you need to produce a detailed site plan that clearly indicates all components of your event. The site plan should consist of:
- handicap, pedestrian, and fire access points
- the sizes of stages or tents you plan to use
- the type of equipment and generator you will use, and
- the location of outdoor vendors and toilets.
You’ll also need to show us that you have permission to use the site, depending on the location of your event:
- If your event is on private property, we need a letter from the landlord allowing you to use the site.
- If your event is in a public park, you need a permit from the Parks Department.
- If you would like to host an event on City Hall property, you will need permission from Property Management.
- If you need to close off a City street, you must apply for a street closing permit.
If this is the first time you are holding the event, we need to see letters of support from the local community and businesses. We also created a page that details some of the permits you may need from City departments for a public event:
Go to your meeting
Please bring all your event documents to your meeting. If you have to meet with the public event committee, the committee holds meetings at:
Apply for permits and submit your application
At your public event committee meeting, you will be given a checklist of permits and documents you need to get for your event. After you get your permits together, you need to submit your public event application with copies of the permits listed on the checklist to:
The Consumer Affairs and Licensing Office issues the final permit for your event. Please keep in mind:
- You must submit your public event application and permits at least five days before the event.
- Before you submit your public event application, the application must be signed by the Police Captain listed on your checklist.
The City of Boston has suspended events that bring crowds together in close contacts, like a road race, concert, or flag-raising. Here are some related resources:
- Licensing Board advisory on outdoor and indoor events for Phase 3, Step 1 of the City of Boston's reopening
- State COVID-19 checklist for Theaters and Performance Venues
- State COVID-19 checklist for Indoor and Outdoor Events
- Guidance on hosting an outdoor drive-in theater or outdoor theater
- Applicants must submit a Health, Safety, and Operations plan.
- No event should be planned that would involve more than 50 people gathering, or that could draw a crowd of any size.
- Parades and festivals will not take place in the City of Boston this summer, up to and including Labor Day on September 7, 2020. Parades and festivals may be permitted as part of the Commonwealth's and City's Phase 4 Reopening Plan.
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