Hiring a venue

Holding your event in the right venue goes a long way to making it a success

Once you have established the type of arts or cultural event you would like to organise, you will then need to find a suitable venue to hold it in. Selecting the right location will depend on a number of factors including the type of event, technical requirements, size, logistics, image, budget and what will appeal to your audience. To begin, ask for recommendations but also look at resource guides, yellow pages, magazines and via the venues for hire page at http://hirespace.com/ or the latest community facilities list of spaces available via cambridgeshire.net

If your event is indoors, there is no end of private or public facilities that may have space to hire where you might hold your event:

Community centres
Sports centres
Established cultural venues
Hotels
Restaurants and cafes
Shopping centres
Night clubs
Historic houses and mansions
Warehouses
Museums and galleries
Showrooms
Schools
Church halls

While an unusual venue might be an interesting selling point, there are a number of key questions you need to initially ask to check if it will be suitable and fit for purpose:

Is it available on the date(s) and time(s) you have selected?
Does it have the capacity to hold the anticipated number of attendees without being too big or too small?
Will the hire cost be within your budget?
Can people easily travel there using public transport?
Will the venue be somewhere that will appeal to your target audience?
Does it have accessibility for parking, wheelchairs, toilets and moving equipment?
Are there catering or bar facilities?
Is the venue safe and would you need security staff?
Is it permitted to bring your own decorations, caterer, equipment or entertainment?
Does the venue have lighting and sound equipment or will you have to hire it?
Can the venue give you enough time to set up and get out, i.e. is there another event directly before or after your event?
Does the venue have a cancellation policy and will it require a deposit to be paid up front?
Does the venue have sufficient signage to direct attendees?
Is noise a consideration?

If the answers to the above are positive and you are inviting the general public you may also need to ask:

Do you need your own separate public liability insurance or is it covered by the venue?
Do you need a Temporary Event Notice or is the venue covered under its license?
Can the venue supply you with a risk assessment for your event?
Have you been to the venue when it is being used for an event to get a feel for how your event might work?
If you are selling tickets, when is the last date for cancellation if tickets don’t sell?
Will they issue you with an official contract, if so do you agree with all of the clauses?
Can the venue help to publicise your event on their website or newsletter?

Remember that some venues are open to negotiation on costs and contractual arrangements. They may even like to sponsor your event by hosting it for free or at a discounted rate – you don’t know unless you ask!

Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, all event planners must make any reasonable adjustments so that a disabled person can access the event. The Voluntary Arts Network have a very useful events checklist on disability and access, this can be found here.

If you think your event might need an entertainment, alcohol or temporary event notice please visit the Legal Stuff section of this website for more information.

Idea: The Cambridge Corn Exchange and Guildhall can be hired for a variety of medium to large scale events, contact admin.cornex@cambridge.gov.uk or phone 01223 457555 for more details.

Click here for the next page ‘Open Spaces’

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