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Organising a small street party or fete

Street parties and fetes are a good way to get to know your neighbours and can bring people of all ages together. Find out how to plan a small party or fete and what information your council will need to know.

What counts as a small street party?

Small street parties take place in one or two streets and are for neighbours only. Larger public gatherings which are advertised and open to anyone, like carnivals, are best left to professional event planners.

Holding a small street party or fete

If you want to have a small street party or fete, you will need to tell your local council’s events or communities team. They will need to know about your event four to 12 weeks ahead of time. They will ask you some questions about your plans or send you a simple application form.

The council’s application form asks for information like:

  • the date and time of the party or event
  • whether or not you want to close a road or section of road - and its name
  • whether the road is part of a bus route or used by through traffic
  • a list of any properties or businesses affected

Your council will check that the views of everyone affected have been taken into account before getting back to you.

Closing a road for a party

If you want to close a road for your party you will need to get permission from your local council.

You will need to make sure that the emergency services can still get down the street if they need to.

If your party is on a bus route, the bus company will need to know about it in advance. Some councils contact emergency services and transport providers themselves, but others expect you to do it.

You can ask your council if you can borrow road closure signs or ask where you can hire them for the day. You can also make your own, the Streetwise website has templates that you can use.

Organising a 'street meet'

If you don't want to close a road you can organise a 'street meet' instead. This is a gathering in a park, driveway or cul-de-sac. You can speak to your local council about your plans for a street meet. The Streets Alive website has information on how to organise a street meet.

Insurance for a small street party or fete

Most local councils don’t ask for insurance cover for a small residential street party. If your council thinks that insurance would be a good idea, costs start from as little as £50. The costs can be split between residents or you can ask for donations to cover them. The Streets Alive website offers advice on getting insurance for small street parties.

Risk plans for small events are not normally needed. If possible you should have someone who is trained in first aid there on the day.

Is a licence needed for alcohol, food or music?

A licence is not normally needed if you plan to provide alcohol for free at your event.

If you want to sell alcohol you will need a 'temporary events notice' which costs £21. You can get one from your local council.

You can serve and sell food up to 11.00 pm without a licence.

You don’t need a music licence, whether the music is live or prerecorded, as long as:

  • your street party is a private party for residents
  • the music has not been advertised in advance to attract people or to make money

Gambling regulations - holding a tombola or raffle

If tombola or raffle tickets are sold on the day and the prizes are not worth more than £500 in total then gambling regulations do not apply. If tickets are sold in advance then speak to your council as you might have to register your raffle as a lottery.

Planning your street party or fete

Some tips for holding a successful party are:

  • plan early – get in touch with your local council four to 12 weeks in advance
  • keep it simple – don’t be too ambitious
  • involve everyone – send early invitations to everyone in the street, including businesses so that they know what’s going on

 You will also need to plan:

  • seating – ask everyone to bring chairs and think about areas where children can sit
  • food – get everyone to bring food to share at set times so you can all eat together
  • decorations – you can buy, hire or make your own
  • games – think about games people of all ages will enjoy
  • music – remember it should not be too loud and turn it off well before 11.00 pm

After your street party

Let people know in advance what time the party will finish and try to stick to it. Have bin bags and recycling bags set aside. It is your street and your party so you will need to keep the local area clean and tidy up afterwards.

  • Source Direct Gov
  • Last Updated: 06 Jan 2012