The council licence and inspect entertainment venues to make sure they maintain high standards of management and have suitable arrangements in place for managing fires and other safety risks in line with the requirements of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) (NI) Order 1985.
We also make sure premises are suitable for their intended use, have appropriate levels of insurance, provide access to emergency services and have adequate sanitary and hygiene facilities. This also applies to outdoor entertainment.
All entertainment licences are granted for a period of up to 12 months and are subject to standard conditions such as:
- days and hours of use
- the nature of entertainment which may be provided
- occupancy figures.
New Policy on Entertainment Licensing
The Council has approved a new policy on how it manages the entertainment licence process and also new terms and conditions that will apply to licences.
These have come into effect from 1 December 2022 and links to both of these documents can be found at bottom of the page.
Who needs an entertainment licence?
If you provide, or want to provide entertainment to members of the public, you must obtain an entertainment licence from us. There are a number of different types of entertainment that must be licensed, but the most common type is any form of music, singing and dancing.
The need for a licence applies both to events that are private or public where there is a charge to either enter the event and for any refreshments available.
You should contact us if you are thinking of holding an event and are unsure if you need a licence or are unsure of the safety measures needed.
You must be 18 or older to apply for a licence.
You do not need a licence for:
- garden fetes
- athletic events
- public exhibitions of work
- any music or singing that’s part of religious worship
Types of entertainment licences
There are two main types of licence:
Indoor which can cover the following types of entertainment
(a) A theatrical performance
(b) Dancing, singing or music or any other entertainment of a like kind e.g. karaoke, concerts
(d) Any entertainment which consists of, or includes, any public contest, match, exhibition or display of:
(i) boxing, wrestling, judo, karate or any similar sport;
(ii) billiards, pool, snooker or any similar game;
(iii) darts ;
(e) Equipment for playing snooker or similar games
(f) Machines for entertainment and amusement
Any public musical entertainment which is held wholly or mainly in the open air and at a place on private land.
How to apply?
Premises that require an entertainment licence must apply, in writing, to the council, using the application form provided (see bottom of this page).
An application will be deemed made when the application form is completed and submitted, accompanied by the appropriate fee along with copies of certificates and documentation as detailed in the application form.
An applicant must, no later than seven days after the date of application, give public notice by placing an advert in a local newspaper, allowing 28 days for any objections to be made.
Public adverts are not required for applications for a 14-day occasional licence made by schools and church halls
Copies of the application will be sent to the Police and Fire Service for consultation purposes. Their comments will be also taken into consideration when deciding whether or not a licence should be granted.
All premises will be inspected by a council licensing officer to ensure compliance with licensing conditions are met.
If you are applying for a renewal or grant of a new licence an existing licence, you must also supply the certificates listed below:-
- Fire Risk Assessment
- Entertainment licence advertisement
- Public liability insurance declaration
- Emergency lighting certificate
- Fire alarm certificate
- Fire extinguisher certificate
- Electrical certificate
- Structural floor certificate (this will then only be needed if your premises are altered or extended)
- Ceiling certificate (if requested by Council)
- Acoustic report (if requested by Council)
- For grant of a new application or if you have altered or extended your venue you must also submit two copies of the floor plan of your premises (at a scale of 1:100). This plans must also include details of fire safety measures in place such as fire alarms and fire extinguishers
Determination of your licence application
Council will determine all entertainment licence applications within three months of an application being made (i.e. on receipt of completed application form, relevant fee and supporting certification)
However, where the council considers it justified, this three-month determination period may be extended (e.g. where objections are received or remedial works are required to meet technical requirements)
All new applications for Entertainment licences must be referred to the Committee for their consideration. However, if during the 28 day consultation period we receive objections to an application from interested parties both you and those who object to your application will have the chance to present a case to the committee.
Applicants will be notified within 10 working days of any Council decision in respect of the application.
How much does an entertainment licence cost?
The table below shows the fees for an indoor entertainment licence.
Number of people to be licensed for
Occasional Licence (14 days in a year)
Less than 100
More than 1000
For schools, church halls, voluntary organisations (holding a non-profit event) or charities wishing to hold an indoor entertainment event there is a set fee of £50
Please see the link below to the entertainment licence application pack for details of fees for outdoor licences.
Objections and appeals
If we receive objections to an application which are not resolved through mediation, the application will be referred to our Licensing Committee for further consideration. If this happens, both you and anyone who objects to your application will have the chance to present a case to the committee.
If an application is refused or where terms, conditions or restrictions are imposed or where a licence is revoked, you have the right to appeal our decision. Appeals must be lodged within 21 days of you being informed of the decision to the County Court. Their decision is final.
Does tacit consent apply?
Tacit consent does NOT apply to entertainment licence applications and you should not consider your licence granted until you receive formal confirmation from us.
Please contact us in the first instance if you have any queries in relation to entertainments licencing:
T: 028 2826 2498
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
Public Protection and Wellbeing Department