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How to apply to host a public event in Boston

How to apply to host a public event in Boston

You may need permits from several departments to host an event in Boston. You start the process online, and then meet with us.

Last updated: 3/3/17
Step
1

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. They can have entertainment, games, and 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.

Step
2

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 account on the online public portal located on our homepage. 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.

Step
3

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 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.

Step
4

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 our office:

Tourism, Sports, and Special Events
1 City Hall Square, Room 802
Boston, MA 02201
United States
Office hours
Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Need to Know:

We will not accept public event applications for the following dates in 2017:

  • September 16 - 17
  • September 23 - 24

Learn more about the guidelines for hosting a public event.

Contact:
Tourism, Sports, and Entertainment
1 City Hall Square
Room 802
Boston, MA 02201-2029
United States