Special Event Permits
Event organizers need a permit to host an event on a City street or park. Apply as early as six months before the event to allow time for processing.
Events on City streets or parks require a permit
To organize an event on a City street or park, you will need a permit. The type of permit depends on the kind of event you are planning: a block party, street event, or park event.
If you are organizing a block party event on the street in front of where you live, you will need a block party permit. All information for block party events can be found on the block party permit page.
If you are organizing an event for 50 or more people that involves the use of a City street, sidewalk, median or public right-of-way, you will need a street event permit. Examples of street events might include a parade, cultural celebration, marathon, or street festival.
If you are organizing an event for 50 or more people in a City park, you will need a park event permit. Examples of park events might include a concert, fair, or reunion.
All street and park events require a permit, however fees vary depending on whether the event is high or low impact. Street events are considered high impact if they either:
- Require detouring traffic from a major street, collector street, or scenic route (see the General Plan for a map of these streets), or
- Require rerouting of AC Transit, University of California-Berkeley, or Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory buses
Complete a permit application and pay the filing fee and deposit
To apply for an event permit, fill out a permit application:
Send the completed application to firstname.lastname@example.org or drop off/submit by mail to:
City Manager's Office
2180 Milvia Street, 5th Floor
Berkeley, CA 94704
Staff will review your application and contact you with next steps.
Street event filing fees
If your application is approved, you will need to pay filing fees. The fees for street events increase if you file closer to the date of your event. Fees are also higher for high-impact events. A refundable deposit of $350 is required for all street events.
|Filing date||Fee for low-impact event||Fee for high-impact event|
|At least 60 weekdays before the event||$128||$250|
|30-59 weekdays before the event||$150||$350|
|20-29 weekdays before the event||$175||$450|
|Fewer than 20 weekdays before the event||$200||N/A: Will not be approved|
Park event filing fees
The fees for park events increase depending on the number of participants. Event organizers who are Berkeley residents receive a discounted rate. A refundable deposit of $700 is required for all park events.
Fees for events at the Berkeley waterfront are different from typical park fees. Read the Waterfront Special Event Fees for details. Fees for all other Berkeley parks are listed below:
Fee for 1-day event
Number of Participants
1 – 99 people
100 – 249 people
250 – 499 people
Number of Participants
1 – 99 people
100 – 249 people
250 – 499 people
Note: Damages, not properly cleaning up after the event, not following all rules and conditions will result in a forfeiture of the deposit.
You can file your application as early as six months before the event. Staff strongly recommend filing your application in as far advance as possible as limitations on venues, resources, and staffing significantly impact what events can be approved at certain locations. A minimum of 30 days for events under 500 people. A minimum of 60 days for events up to 1000 people. Events larger than 1000 people. The deadlines for filing depend on the scale of your event:
Type of event
Street event involving alcohol
60 business days before the event
High-impact street or park event
30 business days before the event
Low-impact street event
20 business days before the event
Low-impact park event
14 business days before the event
Applications filed after the deadline will be considered late and will not be accepted. The City Manager’s Office may make an exception and approve a late application if the proposed event is in response to an occurrence whose timing did not reasonably allow the applicant to file a timely application.
Permits may be cancelled or revoked
If you are not able to hold your event because of weather or other events out of your control, contact the special event coordinator.
The City Manager may revoke a permit at any time if:
- as a result of inclement weather, conduct of an event would unreasonably damage the park for which it is proposed
- any provision of BMC Chapter 6.46 or any condition of the permit has not been met or is being violated, or
- a person responsible for the promotion or conduct of the event was not shown on the application
Prepare required plans to include with your application form
You must include various diagrams and plans attached to your event permit application.
Include an accurate drawing to scale on letter size paper showing dimensions of the street or park, booths, any objects/structures placed, and also indicate:
- Emergency access plan
- Number and location of information, first aid, food, beverage, and/or merchandise booths
- Number, location, and type of recycling and refuse containers
- Portable toilets & handwashing sinks, including those which are ADA compliant
- Stages with ramps, tents, and any other objects
Street events will also need to show:
- Traffic control plan
- Streets to be closed
- Temporary blue zone(s)
- AC Transit routes, transit shelters, and bus stops
Your parking plan should include:
- Proof that adjacent property owners were notified of the event
- Proof that adjacent property owners granted permission for event attendees to park on the adjacent property proposed for parking
- Adequate disabled parking
- Adequate publicity and signage to direct event attendees to available parking
- Other efforts to provide shuttle services to and from the event site, and/or to provide information on alternative transportation such as walking, bicycling, carpooling, BART, and AC Transit
The Police liaison on the special event team will decide how many security personnel are required for your event, using risk assessment that takes into account the type of event, location, duration, time, potential for danger, history, type of entertainment, whether or not alcohol is being served, any specific information or intelligence received regarding the event, as well as many other factors.
If public safety or traffic impacts are found, off-duty police officers or reserve personnel may be assigned upon the discretion of the Police Chief or an official designee to monitor such activities and the event organizer will be assessed the cost of such officers.
The event organizer must always designate one person to be responsible for security. This person will need to communicate with the Police Department, and provide necessary information as requested, including contact information. Additionally, this person must be reachable by public safety for the entirety of the event.
As needed, you may also designate crowd control monitors. Crowd control monitors must wear armbands and/or such other identification to prominently identify them as monitors, and have a method of communicating, such as a cell phone, with the Berkeley Police Department.
For each merchandise vendor, please include the following information:
- Name of Vendor
- Address, Email & Cell phone number
- Type of merchandise to be sold
Note that, if the event will include vendors, the event organizer must have a business license. Each food and beverage vendor will need a health permit, and each merchandise vendor will need a seller’s permit.
Recycling & waste management plan
Please describe your plans for the clean up and removal of garbage and recyclables during and after your event. Identify the person responsible for recycling and waste management during and after the event, and the person responsible for the return of any City containers used for the event. For assistance in planning for your garbage and recycling needs, contact the Department of Public Works, Zero Waste Management Division at (510) 981-7270.
Waste water & liquids plan
Please describe how the waste water (soapy water, rinse water, cooking oils, syrups, etc.) will be kept out of the storm drains and lawn/turf.
Please provide proof of general liability insurance in the amount of $1,000,000 for the proposed event by submitting an insurance certificate naming the City of Berkeley, its officers, employees, agents, and volunteers as additional insured. The insurance certificate shall be endorsed to include the following:
- A thirty day notice of cancellation;
- State that coverage afforded on behalf of the City shall be primary insurance and any other insurance available to the City under any other policies or insurance programs shall be in excess of the insurance required hereby; and
- Limits of Liability: insurance limits to be established by the City’s Risk Manager, depending upon the nature of the event.
Agree to conditions of use
All event organizers must agree to the conditions of use listed below:
- Provide the name and cell phone number of the person responsible for operations during the event. This person shall be available throughout the entirety of the event.
- Carry the approved permit during the event and shall show it, upon demand, to any City employee.
- May not limit the free distribution of literature at the street event by members of the public who have no formal or direct relationship with the event sponsor with respect to the presentation of the event.
- During the use of a City park or street, the event will not exclude any qualified person from participation in, deny anyone the benefits of, or otherwise subject anyone to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, national origin, religion, age, handicap, or sexual orientation.
- All paths of travel serving wheelchair users or others with mobility impairments must be kept clear of obstacles. Event sponsors must ensure that paths of travel are monitored during events to prevent obstructions. Appropriate signage should be posted at each wheelchair ramp to identify the ramp as such.
- Solicitation of money in any manner without permission is prohibited. This includes the sale and/or peddling of any foods, refreshments, novelties or goods.
- Painting upon any street, pathway, or sidewalk surface is prohibited unless a washable paint is used and removal is accomplished before the event closes.
- No object of any nature shall be fastened to or erected over the surface of the park, pathways, street or sidewalk, and no object shall be affixed to any pole or standard without prior written consent of the Director of Public Works (for street events) or Director of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Waterfront (for park events)
- The event will not interfere with fire or police protection, or public safety, including presenting a substantial or unwarranted traffic or safety hazard
- The event will end by 10 pm
- Depending upon the types of activities planned, the event sponsor may be required to get permits from the Berkeley Fire Department, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Public Works, and/or Department of Parks Recreation and Waterfront.
In addition, street event organizers agree to the below conditions:
- Adequate illumination of the area shall be maintained at all times when such illumination is appropriate.
- Official traffic control devices and traffic signal controllers shall not be covered or blocked at any time during the period of such use or occupancy unless the Traffic Engineer has granted permission in writing.
- For all High Impact Events, Type III barricades are required when closing all or a portion of a street.
- When barricades are placed for closing off streets or other areas, the barricades shall not block access to public sidewalks and pathways needed for participants or for members of the public to use nearby facilities.
- All manhole covers and valve box covers shall be kept clear of any fixed object.
- All streets and sidewalks within the area for which such permission is granted, shall be kept clean and free from dirt and debris at all times during the period of temporary use or occupancy, and all materials and equipment used in connection with said temporary use or occupancy shall be removed there from within 24 hours of the termination of the period of such use or occupancy.
- Unduly interfere with vehicular ingress to, egress from, or travel on a freeway, state designated highway, or major arterial or collector street of the City.
In addition, park event organizers agree to the below condition:
- Parks in which events occur shall remain open to the public during the event, to the extent consistent with the park’s capacity and to the maximum extent feasible given the nature of the event. No park shall be closed to the public during an event absent express permission from the Director of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Waterfront.
Ensure your event is accessible to people with disabilities
As an event organizer, it is your responsibility to ensure your event is accessible to people with disabilities, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and non-discrimination laws. For additional information about ADA physical and program access requirements, please contact the Disability Compliance Program at (510) 981-6346.
Create accessible routes for pedestrians and traffic
Provide and follow a written traffic and pedestrian circulation plan for maintaining accessibility for persons with disabilities. Include information about:
- Accessible parking
- Pedestrian routes, showing unobstructed sidewalks and curb ramps, paths of travel around equipment and booths
- Shuttle vehicles
- Event facilities such as seating, sales counters, and information booths
Hold your event at an accessible facility
- If you provide off-street parking, drinking fountains, or pay phones, ensure you provide an accessible parking spot, fountain, or pay phone
- Provide wheelchair accessible restrooms
- Provide at least one wheelchair accessible entrance
- Provide an accessible path of travel between off-street parking and public sidewalks, the accessible entrance(s), event venue(s), and accessible restrooms, drinking fountains and pay telephones
- Provide signs directing persons to wheelchair accessible features
- Provide temporary accessible ramps between the sidewalk or park and the street at appropriate mid-block locations
- Ensure all stages are accessible to persons with disabilities
- If you have assembly seating, provide space for wheelchair users following the ADA Accessibility Standards for wheelchair spaces
Provide accessible communications
Submit to the City and implement a plan for alternative communication, including arrangements for auxiliary aids and services as needed for effective communication at the event. Auxiliary aids might include:
- large print materials
- sign language interpreters
- assistive listening systems
- TDD (text telephone)
- written transcripts
Provide information about accommodations in publicity materials
Include contact information for the public to request accommodations on all advertisements, flyers, and announcements about the proposed event. Use the language below:
- “To request disability accommodations, please call * (voice), or * (TTY). At least one week’s notice will ensure availability”.
In addition, all advertisements, flyers and announcements should include:
- Information about accommodations that will be available at the event, particularly the times sign-language interpreters may be scheduled for the event; and
- Information that parking in the area of the event is limited and encouraging attendees to take public transportation, as well as the relevant public transit information.
Provide First Aid for events over 200 people
The following are minimum standards for the provision of first aid at street events. Based upon factors such as geographic locations, weather conditions, and event history, the Berkeley Fire Department may determine that additional measures are required.
Level 1 – Under 200 persons
- No requirement, it is recommended that a first aid kit and trained person be available.
Level 2 – 200 to 4,999 persons
- First aid stations, staffed by one person certified in first aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. Certification of staff must be done by an entity recognized by the Berkeley Fire Department.
- Staffing must occur from 30 minute prior to the event and continue until 30 minutes past the event. It is recommended that the first aid station be open when the event set up begins, and remain open during breakdowns. The first aid station must be staffed at all times; organizers should make provisions for staffing if meal breaks, etc. are needed.
- The first aid station must be marked by a sign no less than 24” tall and 48” long. The sign should have a large red cross and the words “First Aid”. Lettering should be no less than 18” tall. Lettering should be red in color.
- Access to a telephone is required. A phone must be within 50’ of the first aid station, or if a telephone is not within 50’, a cellular phone is required.
- Staff must be distinguished from the crowd by wearing either an armband or T-shirt.
Level 3 – 5,000 to 14,999 persons
- The same requirements as Level 2 plus one additional first aid staff person on duty at all times.
Level 4 – Over 15,000 persons
- The same requirements as Level 2 and Level 3, with the addition of two first aid staff persons. Depending upon the geographic location of the event, the Berkeley Fire Department may determine that a second first aid station may be required.
- The event organizer will hire two uniformed firefighters. The uniformed firefighters will act as liaisons with the first aid station staff, perform on-site first aid, and perform on-site fire safety inspections.
Required First Aid Station Supplies
- Five gallons of potable water with cups.
- At least one cot or similar device to provide a place for a person to lie down in a supine position.
- An overhead covering to provide an area out of the weather.
- At least one blanket and pillow.
- First aid kit that includes basic bandages such as band-aids, roller gauze, sterile gauze pads and ice or cold packs.
Additional requirements for street events
Traffic Control Devices
The traffic engineer will decide what traffic control devices are required for your event. For low-impact events, you will be responsible for placement and maintenance of temporary signs and traffic barricades, etc.
For high-impact events, Department of Public Works staff will place and maintain temporary traffic control devices, at the expense of the event sponsors.
The Traffic Engineer and Berkeley Police Department must approve a traffic plan including detours for all events.
Event organizers for high-impact events are responsible for providing the necessary traffic control devices and temporary signs to be used for their event.
No Parking Tow Away Signs
If you would like to have temporary no parking (vehicles to be towed) signs within the area of the street event purchase and post the cardboard City of Berkeley “No Parking” signs. You will complete the required information on the signs including the approved date(s) and time(s). You can keep these signs for use at a future special event if authorized by the City of Berkeley.
- Signs need to be posted 72 hours ahead of the enforcement time. Berkeley Police will not approve towing if less time is given.
- When posting a metered zone, one sign per meter is needed. Signs should be posted on the meter pole below the meter collection device. This will allow access for money collection purpose.
- Use cable ties or string to attach the signs; tape or any type of glue will not be allowed. After removing the signs, please remove the cable or string, too.
- If a sign pole is available, and no meter is involved, use pole for posting, but install it below any existing sign. Signs cannot be blocked.
- If no meter or sign pole is available, provide a barricade to place the NO PARKING sign. For a zone longer than one vehicle, post additional signs and use arrows to point at the parking prohibition zone.
If there are parking meters within the street event area, and beyond, that are not available for public use, the event organizers will be assessed the current daily charge per day for each meter, even if the use on one or more days is a partial day.
Blue Zone Policy
A substitute blue zone must be created for every blue zone displaced or one substitute blue zone for every block, whichever is greater. Substitute blue zones shall be situated as close as possible to the intersection of the first available cross street to the replaced blue zone. The temporary blue zone sign shall be affixed to an existing parking meter pole, whenever possible. In the event of non-existence of parking meters, other permanent fixtures shall be utilized if they are in close proximity (2-3 feet) to the desired parking space, i.e. trees, light poles. In the alternative, a temporary support may be provided.
Amplified sound, food, and alcohol require additional permits
If you would like to have amplified sound during your event to play music or make announcements or speeches, you must apply for an Amplified Sound permit. Find more information and how to apply on the Noise Standards page.
Temporary Food Sales
If you would like to sell or give away food to the public during your event, you must apply for a Temporary Food Facility permit.
You must designate an individual to serve as the temporary food facilities coordinator. This individual will distribute the applicable requirements to each food vendor and monitor compliance by each food vendor. The individual’s name, address and telephone number must be on file with the Division of Environmental Health.
The application for the permit to operate and completed food sales information (filled out and signed by each food vendor) with the current permit fee must be filed no less than ten business days prior to the date of the event. For additional information, please contact the Division of Environmental Health at (510) 981-5310.
If you would like to sell alcoholic beverages during your event, you must request a letter of approval from the Berkeley Police Department at least 30 days before the event. You will also need to obtain a Bureau of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) permit. The event organizer is responsible for complying with all state laws and ABC regulations regarding the sales and service of alcoholic beverages.
Event staff must control alcohol service and consumption. At a minimum, there should be a ‘beer/wine garden’ style service including:
- The point of sale and consumption must be within a confined service area with an identified entrance/exit and barriers, low fencing, chains and stanchions, or similar materials that will serve to define the area and restrict access.
- The service area may include tables and chairs.
- Underage persons may be present in the service area if accompanied by a responsible adult.
- All persons purchasing and consuming alcohol must be over age 21.
- No alcohol may be taken outside the service area.
- There shall be no excessive alcohol consumption or service to those who are clearly intoxicated.
- Event staffing shall be sufficient to ensure compliance with these rules.
Events may have more than one beer/wine garden upon approval of the Chief of Police or his/her official designee. Beer, wine and champagne only may be served in the beer/wine garden(s). Other alcoholic beverages, and tobacco use shall not be permitted.
Events selling or furnishing alcohol may be required to staff the event with an appropriate number of Berkeley Police Officers paid for by the event sponsor, and conform with the City’s alcohol guidelines. The number of officers required will depend on the geographic size of the event, the expected number of attendees, all activities associated with the event and any past history of problems with this or similar events. For additional information, please contact the Berkeley Police Department at (510) 981-5800.
Portable Toilets & Handwashing Sinks
If food and/or beverages are to be served or sold for consumption during the proposed event, event organizers must provide temporary or portable toilets and handwashing sinks. Event organizers may not use public toilets for special events; you must provide temporary toilets and sinks for attendees. You will need to provide proof that you have ordered temporary toilets and sinks for your event in order to obtain your permit.
Such temporary or portable toilets and handwashing sinks must be removed from the event site within 24 hours after the event for which the permit was granted and cannot be placed in excess of 24 hours prior to start of event.
At least 10%, with a minimum of one at the event site, of the total number of temporary or portable toilets should be accessible to persons with disabilities. Each of the accessible toilets must have a sign on them that reads: “Priority is to be given to individuals with disabilities in the use of this accessible facility.”
Example: 10,000 attendees so divide by 8 (this is the 1/8 number) and you get 1250. Drop the two rightmost numbers (50 in this example) and the answer is 12 portable toilets are required. Since 12 portable toilets will be provided, two must be accessible to persons with disabilities. In addition, three handwashing sinks are required.
If private restroom facilities in the immediate area of the event site are to be used by attendees during the proposed event, please provide signage as to their location and availability (including ADA accessible and non-ADA accessible facilities). Please note the city does NOT allow the use of public toilets to be used for special events under any circumstances. Proof of toilet/sink order is required.