What is an entertainment licence and why do I need one?

What Is An Entertainment Licence & Why Do I Need One?

If you are the owner of a bar, restaurant, hotel, bookmaker, or club you need to understand the complex legislation surrounding licensing in Northern Ireland. McPartland & Sons have put together a quick guide to ensure you are operating within the law.

What Is An Entertainment Licence?

You need a valid entertainment licence if you want to provide entertainment at an indoor or outdoor venue in Northern Ireland. Businesses, organisations, and individuals who want to provide types of entertainment may require a licence or other authorisation from a licensing authority ie. a local council.

What Are The Classifications Of Entertainment? 

The types of businesses and organisations that need a licence for entertainment might include: 

Indoor entertainment such as:

  • Music, singing, dancing or similar entertainment’s
  • Theatrical performances
  • Circuses
  • Boxing, wrestling, judo, karate matches or exhibitions, and similar sports
  • Snooker, pool or billiards and darts matches or exhibitions, and similar games
  • Video machines, pool, and snooker tables

Or outdoor Entertainment. This is entertainment of a musical nature that takes place in the open air and on private land.  Premises must meet certain technical requirements before a licence can be granted and must comply with any conditions attached to a licence once issued.

Exemptions To an Entertainment Licence

You don’t need a licence for:

  • garden fetes
  • athletic events
  • public exhibitions of work
  • any music or singing that’s part of religious worship
  • Educational institutions
  • Licensed cinemas

Your council will have a full list of events you don’t need a licence for.

How Long Does An Entertainment Licence Last?

Your licence will be valid for 1 year but you can get one for:

  • 14 days within a 12 month period
  • 14 specified days in a year

You can also get a licence for an unfinished site, but this won’t be valid until both:

  • your site is complete
  • your council have confirmed this

You must place adverts for your application in the local media your council tell you to within 7 days of applying for a licence.

How Much Do Entertainment Licences Cost?

The cost of an entertainment licence depends on the type of licence that you need and how many people are in attendance. These fees are non-refundable, even if your application is refused. The fee can range from under 100 people indoors at £100 to an outdoor music concert with more than 100 people at £2000. 

Before applying for an entertainment licence, you will need to provide proof of all your insurance as well as safety documents. These will include a fire extinguisher certificate, emergency lighting certificate and fire alarm certificate. You can be fined up to £20,000 for staging indoor entertainment without a licence.

Contact us at H McPartland & Sons, to talk with our team of experienced and friendly solicitors to receive the expert legal advice, guidance, and information you need on all areas of licensing laws in Northern Ireland.

Related Blog Posts:

Licensing Law Explained

How to Prepare for a Litigation

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *