Shropshire Council

Guide to organising a street party or fete

What is a street party?

Street parties and fetes are get-togethers that groups of residents arrange for their neighbours. The main differences between a street party or fete and larger public events are listed below:

Street parties and fetes:

  • For residents/neighbours only
  • Publicity only to residents
  • No licences normally necessary if music is incidental and no selling is involved
  • No formal risk assessment needed
  • Self-organised

Larger public events:

  • Anyone can attend
  • Licence is usually needed
  • Insurance is needed
  • Risk assessment is needed
  • Professional/skilled organisers

What you need to do

Organising small, private street parties and fetes is very simple and generally does not include activities that need a licence, such as selling alcohol or providing certain types of entertainment. To apply to have a road closed for a street party, please complete our application to close a public highway for a street party form.

If you want to have a pay bar, or intend to provide entertainment to the wider public, or charge to raise money for your event, you will need one of the following licences:

  • For events where up to 499 people will be attending, where alcohol will be sold or there is a publicised programme of entertainment, a temporary events notice is required.
  • For events where 500 or more people are attending, a temporary premises licence is required. 

Further information

The top tip for holding a party is to plan early. For more tips and advice on organising a successful street party, take a look at our guide and the Streets Alive and Big Lunch websites.

FAQs and checklist

Do we need insurance cover?
If you're organising a small residential street party, you could be exposed to a liability claim, so we would recommend that you to take out some form of public liability insurance. Quotes for insurance start from as little as £50. The costs can always be split between residents, or you could hold a raffle or ask for donations to cover the costs.

Do we need a risk assessment?
We would expect a risk plan to be in place for larger events. However, even for small street parties, you may wish to consider how you can minimise the chance of things going wrong, and have a back up plan. For example - what would you do in the event of bad weather? Can you use plastic cups rather than glass?

We're serving alcoholic drinks - do we need an alcohol licence?
Licences are only required if alcohol is sold. At a private party, sharing drinks with your neighbours does not require a licence. If you do intend to sell alcohol, you'll need to contact your council for a temporary events notice, or a
temporary premises licence, depending on the size of the event.

Can we charge for entry to our event?
You can charge for entry, but an event where alcohol or entertainment are included would require a licence as above.

We're playing music - do we need an entertainment licence?
If your street party is a private party for residents, the music is not advertised in advance to attract people and you're not making money, then there's no need for a licence for your music, whether it's live or recorded. However, if the event includes a publicised programme of performances, a licence would be required. Please remember to be considerate of any neighbours who may not be attending the event.

Do we need a permit to serve food?
As a private party, you don't need a licence under the Licensing Act 2003 to sell food (unless you intend to only sell hot food and drink after 11pm).

We're having a tombola/raffle - do we need permission?
If the tombola/raffle tickets are sold on the day, and the prizes are not worth more than £500 in total, then it will be exempt from gambling regulations. However, if tickets are sold in advance of the event, you will need a lottery registration. Any proceeds from the tombola/raffle must go to a good cause, such as a charity or even to cover the cost of your party. Alternatively, if you wish to raise some money for your local church or charity, you can always ask for donations.

Do we need to clean up afterwards?
Yes, you'll need to clean up after your street party. It's your street, your party, so keep your local area clean and tidy. Let people know in advance what time the party will finish, and have a section set aside for bin bags and recycling.

Will we need to provide signs and barriers?
Yes, the organisers will need to ensure that signs are in position to indicate to drivers that the road is closed. Please note that signs, barriers and cones will need to be provided by the organiser and will not be provided by the council.

We hope this guidance has made things easier for you. Good luck with your event!