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Planning an event

Managing Events in Merri-bek

Outdoor festivals and events empower our community to celebrate and showcase their culture, art and performances and celebrate or commemorate important dates, as well as cultural and artistic diversity.

If you are planning to hold an activity in a public space owned or managed by Merri-bek City Council that is not considered the normal use of the space, you may need an event permit. Events can be small or large, but still require a permit. A festival is an event with a series of performances, processions, or exhibitions. All festivals require a permit.

To obtain an event permit you must lodge an application to Merri-be City Council. The permit categories, process and fees are detailed below.

Will my event need a permit?

An Event Permit is required if your event meets any of the following criteria:

  • Over 100 people are expected to attend the event.
  • Use of inflatable structures or carnival rides.
  • A wedding ceremony is being performed.
  • A road closure is required.
  • Vehicles will be driving on site for any reason including setting up or delivering equipment.
  • Use of power is required (on-site power or generators).
  • Access to water is required.
  • Infrastructure is being brought onto Council land for the event (e.g. pop up marquees, staging, sound equipment, toilets etc).

Events not required to apply for a permit

In some cases, events may not need a permit. These could include:

  • Sporting events which are presented as part of a regular fixture and run by clubs within existing lease agreements.
  • Group fitness activities.
  • Events being held indoors, including Council buildings, halls and community centres.
  • BBQs, birthday parties and Christmas functions that do not involve things like temporary infrastructure, amplification, jumping castles and amusements unless over 100 people.

An Event Permit allows use of Merri-bek City Council outdoor spaces. It does not cover all required regulations and permits by event organisers. Depending on the scale of your event, you may require additional approvals and permits to host your event. These may include (but are not limited to):

Permit Categories 

Event permits are categorised by risk rating (Low, Medium, High) or event type (Inflatable, Wedding) and each permit has its own application process. 

The main characteristics of each permit are outlined below, but they are not limited to just these permit characteristics.

Once an event permit application is submitted, a Festivals Officer will review your plans and categorise your event into one of the below categories.

  • Low risk events can have the following main characteristics:

    • Running over a single day (including set up and pack down).
    • Estimated attendance 101 to 500 people.
    • Total area taken by marquees is less than 45m2
    • No vehicles on site during set up, pack down and event delivery.
    • No stage structures brought on site.
    • Up to 1 inflatable structure.
    • Less than 2 stalls on site.
    • 4 week application timeframe.
    • No major infrastructure brought on site (i.e. portable toilets).
  • Medium risk events can have the following main characteristics:

    • Running for 1 to 5 days (including set up and pack down).
    • Estimated attendance 501 to 2500 people.
    • Total area taken by marquees is less than 90m2
    • Vehicles on site are permitted during set up and pack down.
    • Involves a small performance area with minimal staging and technical provision.
    • Portable toilets may be required on site.
    • Up to 3 inflatable structures.
    • Less than 10 stalls on site.
    • 12 week application timeframe.
  • High risk rating events can have the following main characteristics:

    • Event runs for more than 1 day.
    • Estimated attendance is more than 2501 people.
    • Total area taken by marquees is more than 90m2
    • Vehicles on site are permitted.
    • Multiple stages.
    • Portable toilets may be required on site.
    • Event includes carnival rides.
    • Event includes fireworks.
    • More than 3 inflatables.
    • More than 10 stalls on site.
    • 20 to 26 weeks application timeframe.
  • An Inflatable is a piece of infrastructure that is ‘inflated’ via an electric pump for recreational use at the maximum size of (5 x 5 x 3m).

    An Inflatable permit can have the following main characteristics:

    • Single day events including set up and pack down.
    • One inflatable structure is planned to be used.
    • Estimated attendance has no limits.
    • No marquees, staging or other infrastructure other than one inflatable.
    • 1 vehicle permitted on site.
    • 4 week application timeframe.

    Event example: A birthday party or picnic with one jumping castle hired through an event amusement company. A vehicle and generator to power the inflatable is brought on site however there is no other infrastructure including (but not limited to) pop up marquees, amplification or staging.

  • Weddings can have the following main characteristics:

    • 4 hour long event.
    • Estimated attendance is less than 200 people.
    • No marquees.
    • No vehicles on site.
    • No staging.
    • 4 week application timeframe.


  • Fees are charged according to the size and complexity of the event.

    The following fees are per event day, and bump in/out days are charged at 25% of event day fee.

    Event permit fees:

    • Low risk event is $211 per event day
    • Medium risk event is $474 per event day
    • High risk event is $1,105 per event day
    • Inflatable permit is $108 per event day
    • Wedding permit is $474 per event day
  • It is a requirement of Council that all event organisers pay a bond prior to being granted an Event Permit. Bond levels are tied to the category of Event Permit and are paid into a holding bank account at Council via invoice.

    The bond is fully refundable, subject to satisfactory compliance with all conditions listed in the Event Permit and satisfactory post-event inspection of the site being carried out by Council Officers within 48 hours of the event.

    Bond fees:

    • Low risk event is $500
    • Medium risk event is $1,000
    • High risk event is $2,000
    • Inflatables (event type) is $500 per event day
    • Wedding (event type) is $500 per event day
  • Ticketed events are any event where a ticket is required to be purchased to enter a fenced event site.

    1.5% of gross box office (ex GST) is payable to Council in addition to the Event Permit Fee.

  • Additional fees may apply for supplementary permits such as a Temporary Road Occupancy (TRO) permit. You can find out more about this permit on our Building permits page. 

    Additional fees may also apply for supplementary permits such as a PoPE (Places of Public Entertainment permit).

Where can I hold my event?

Parks and outdoor areas in Merri-bek which can be used for festivals and large gatherings. Merri-bek has a range of outdoor spaces suitable for picnics, barbecues, festivals and events.

You can see our available open spaces to hire for your next event on our Outdoor spaces suitable for events page. 

How to apply for an event permit

The following information outlines the Events Application Process and provides guidelines that must be considered when organising events on Merri-bek Council land.

  • The Event Application Form is an online form that provides us with an overview of your event, so we can assess whether an event permit may be required. It is recommended that as much information is supplied as possible.

    The submission of the Event Application Form does not imply the event is approved – it is an application only.

    Start an Event Application form

  • After submitting your Event Application Form, the Festivals Officer will confirm if your proposed event location is available and suitable for your event activity.

    The Festivals Officer will use the information provided in your application form to determine if your event requires a permit.  If a permit is required, your event will be categorised as low, medium or high risk.

    The Festivals Officer will be your main contact throughout the application process.

    Within 7 days of submitting your application, the Festivals Officer will be in touch to let you know whether your event can move forward to the planning stage, and what permissions and approvals may be required to deliver your event.

  • If your event is categorised as Low, Medium or High Risk, you will be required to submit:

    • a Risk Assessment
    • a Site Map
    • your Public Liability Insurance (minimum $20 million)
    • evidence of notification to surrounding businesses/residents (if applicable)
    • any other licences/permits/documentation as required such as an event plan, liquor licence, temporary road occupancy permit or Places of Public Entertainment Permit.

    If you are applying for a Wedding Permit, you will be required to submit:

    • a Site map outlining where the wedding will be taking place on Council land

    If your event requires an Inflatable Permit, you will be required to submit:

    • your Public Liability Insurance certificate from inflatable provider
    • a Risk Management plan from inflatable provider 
    • a JSA (Job Safety Analysis) from inflatable provider
  • When your supporting documentation is approved, a permit will be issued to the Event Organiser/Organisation. The permit may include a list of conditions the event organiser must comply with in order to safely deliver the event.

    A COVID-19 Safe Plan or Checklist will need to be submitted to DJPR according to the COVID-19 Public Events Framework (DOC) tier categories. You can find out more about this on the Victorian Government's Coronavirus website.

    In some circumstances, you may be required to attend a site induction at the event location prior to the event.

  • Your event is delivered safely in accordance with the issued permit conditions and your event plan, site map and risk assessment.

  • Any keys that have been signed out will need to be returned.

    The bond fee will be refunded post-event following a site inspection and in accordance to the terms and conditions outlined in your permit.

Additional forms and resources

We have created an Event Permit Guide to help you plan a safe and well managed event. 

Download a copy of the Event Guide here.

Contact Us

For any questions about the Event Application Process, please contact the Festivals Officer by emailing or calling 9240 1111