Public entertainment licences

You will need a licence from us if you intend to provide entertainment which members of the public are admitted, even if the event is free.

Free events are most often put on as community events and have a reduced fee.

Please note: Any application for a Public Entertainment Licence (excluding sunbed/tanning centres) must be received at least 2 months prior to the event date and must be accompanied by all required supporting documentation (detailed within the application form).  If an application is received outwith this timescale, it is highly likely that due to the wide consultation procedure involved, the application will not be processed in time for the event and no licence will be issued.

Apply for a licence

Download and complete the relevant application form. Details of return addresses, fees and supporting documents are included on the forms.

Each licence has a number of conditions that you should read before applying. This includes a condition that you must not be disqualified from holding a licence or have applied for the same licence in the last year.

Please note the following do not require a licence:

  • an athletic or sports ground while being used as such;
  • premises in respect of which an indoor sports entertainment licence under section 41A of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 is required while such premises are being used for the purpose mentioned in that section;
  •  a sexual entertainment venue (as defined in section 45A) in relation to which Schedule 2 (as modified for the purposes of section 45B) has effect, while being used as such;
  • an educational establishment while being used as such;
  • premises belonging to or occupied by any religious body while being used wholly or mainly for purposes connected with that body;
  • premises licensed under section 1 of the Cinemas Act 1985;
  • premises in respect of which there is a club gaming permit (within the meaning of section 271 of the Gambling Act 2005 (c.19)) or a prize gaming permit (within the meaning of section 289 of that Act of 2005);
  • premises in respect of which a premises licence within the meaning of section 17 of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 has effect in which public entertainment is being provided during licensed hours within the meaning of that Act (for the avoidance of doubt premises operating under an occasional licence are no longer exempt);
  • premises in which machines for entertainment or amusement are being provided incidentally to the main purpose or use of the premises where that main purpose or use is not as a place of public entertainment; or
  • such other premises as the Scottish Ministers may by order made by statutory instrument specify.

Cinema

Any public performance of a film needs a cinema licence:

Public Performance of Plays

From 31 October 2021, a Public Entertainment Licence is required in terms of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982.  

Hypnotism

If you wish to show, demonstrate or perform a hypnotism act in public you need a licence:

Bungee jumping

Circus

Funfairs

Fireworks display

Indoor music event or festival

If you hold a music event or festival in a premises that holds 350 people or more you need a licence:

Outdoor music event or festival

Free events

Sunbed and tanning centres

What happens next

There is a minimum consultation period of 28 days before applications are considered. This allows people to submit objections or representations before a decision is made. We'll contact you after this.

Comment on an application

Comments of objection or support must be made in writing within 28 days of the licence notice being given. Information on how to do this will be on the notice.

You'll need to provide:

  • your name, address and contact details
  • the reason for your objection or representation
Page last updated: 17/10/2022
email icon print icon