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Whether you are planning a street party, a village fête or music festival for thousands of visitors, if you are the organiser you must plan for and manage safety at your event.

Guidance for events

Please see links to guidance and other pages of interest for Event Organisers.

The Purple Guide to health, safety and welfare at music and other events

The new Purple Guide to health, safety and welfare at music and other events aims to help those who organise music or similar events, so that the events can run safely. Event organisers, whether individuals, groups, or local authorities, have a responsibility to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of their employees to the best of their ability. They also have a duty to ensure, as reasonably practicable, that others – including volunteers and spectators – are not exposed to risks to their health and safety arising from the operation of the event.

In some areas, the Purple Guide signposts users to other sources of information that may be helpful. At time of publication all the links were checked, and it is intended that these will be regularly updated and amended if necessary. The new Purple Guide can be accessed here: The Purple Guide to health, safety and welfare at music and other events

Smaller events and volunteers

Due to the complexity of organising a wide range of events, the Purple Guide contains a large amount of detail, which may not always be relevant for some smaller events. Organisers running modest scale events may wish to refer to the Purple Guide Lite and the Health and Safety Executive event safety webpage.

Safety Advisory Group

Visit Safety Advisory Group webpage for information about the Somerset Safety Advisory Group.

Temporary Event Notice

A Temporary Event Notice is given to an individual and authorises them to conduct one or more licensable activities for no more than 96 hours. Temporary event notices can be used to authorise small-scale events held at any one time, subject to certain restrictions.

If you want to hold a public event that involves the retail sale of alcohol, the provision of regulated entertainment or the provision of hot food or hot drink served between 11pm and 5am, you can do so using a temporary event notice.

Risk assessment

Whatever the size of your event you will have to think about what hazards are associated with your event. This includes who might be harmed and what you can do to eliminate the hazard or reduce the likelihood of harm to a reasonable level. The risk assessment should help you plan for your event and to produce an event management plan. You can find guidance as well as a risk assessment template and examples on the Health and Safety Executive website. See Managing risks and risk assessment at work.

See our Risk Assessment Template with some examples of the sorts of controls needed for some of the risks to help you plan for your event.

Event Management Plan

The key to a good event is a strong event management plan. This should be a detailed, accurate and comprehensive document. It should set out exactly what will happen at the event, the procedures in place to manage it safely, and what will be done to deal with expected or unexpected situations and emergencies.

We have produced some guidance documents to assist you in planning:

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust have created two documents for event organisers. The first collects information from the organiser. This provides South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust with all the information required from an event in relation to its planning and its medical resources. It also allows SWASFT to determine the potential impact of the event on their organisation.

The second document is a guidance document for event organisers. It includes a section for the organiser to self-assure their own medical provision for an event to keep for their own record.

The notification and medical provision Guidance forms can be found on the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust website.

Local EPRR contact for Somerset –

Food at the event

You do not need any special permission to provide food at a street party or community event, but if you are selling food or engaging food traders to come to your event then food hygiene legislation will apply.

Whether you are attending a community party or hosting one of your own, it is important to be aware of food safety and hygiene as food legislation may still apply. Visit How to safely host a street party | Food Standards Agency for some practical tips and advice on best practice so that everyone can trust the food they’re eating.

If you are organising an event with catering or running a food stall, see our Catering at shows and events document for more information.

If you are preparing food at home, you can find advice on the Food Standards Agency website for how to prepare food safely.

First aid

Your event risk assessment should help you decide whether you need to have first aid cover and what that needs to be.

For small community-based events like fêtes and street parties, you do not have to provide first aid for the public, but it is a good idea to have a first aid kit to hand and someone prepared to take charge in the event of an emergency.

Public liability insurance

It is a good idea to have public liability insurance to cover your event.

If you are engaging contractors whether to put up a marquee, provide a bouncy castle, or run a food stall, you should check that they have public liability insurance in place. Somerset Council requires all hirers of their land to have cover, but for community-run very small events it may not be necessary.

Road closures

If you would like to close a road for an event, you need to request permission.

Road closures for special events are provided under Section 21 of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847. These events can vary in size from a small village fête to a large carnival, festival or procession.

See our Closing a road for an event page for more information.

Events on council land

You will need permission to hold an event on council owned land.

See our Booking events and permits page for more information.


Follow the guidance when running your own or organising a display for the public. Visit Health and Safety Executive – Organising firework displays and GOV.UK – Fireworks: the law for more information.

Last reviewed: February 27, 2024 by Jenny

Next review due: August 27, 2024

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