Public entertainment licences

A licence is needed if you intend to have entertainment such as a dance, concert, variety show or other entertainment in any place, where members of the public are to be admitted.  A licence is needed for any place, even if held outside.

Examples of the type of activity requiring such a licence include:

  • dancing establishments
  • theatres, including any play, dramatisation, concert, hypnotism act to which the Hypnotism Act 1952 applies, or comedy act
  • billiards, snooker or pool halls
  • any exhibition to which the Hypnotism Act 1952 applies insofar as not covered by the definition of theatres
  • exhibitions of objects such as paintings, sculptures, drawings or historical artefacts
  • exhibitions of persons, including but not limited to boxing, wrestling, cage fighting or martial arts (where not already covered by an Indoor Sports Entertainment Licence)
  • saunas, massage parlours, tanning salons, nail bars, health clubs or gymnasia
  • circuses, carnivals and funfairs, including merry-go-rounds, roundabouts, swings, switchback railways, skittle alleys, coconut shies, hooplas, mechanical riding, driving or boating apparatus or anything similar to any of the foregoing
  • any activities involving shooting, including but not limited to archery, clay pigeon shooting, or paintball
  • laser or war gaming
  • motor cycle and quad bike scrambling
  • track racing and go-carting
  • indoor or open air festivals or variety concerts, shows or performances
  • airshows
  • amusement arcades with automatic or other machines, including but not limited to video gaming machines, intended for entertainment or amusement which are not licensed in terms of the Gambling Act 2005
  • escape rooms (including puzzle and breakout rooms)
  • bouncy castles or similar structures, or trampoline venues
  • internal or external children’s play areas including soft play areas
  • indoor bowling alleys including ten pin bowling alleys
  • bungee jumping or catapulting
  • outdoor adventure or activity parks or anything similar to the foregoing water sports activities including raft races, wake boarding, water skiing, sail boarding, canoeing and jet skiing activities (where the activity is not licensed as defined by a Boat Hire Licence)
  • fireworks or bonfire displays
  • torchlight processions
  • agricultural, equestrian or livestock shows
  • skate parks
  • major sporting events such as golf opens
  • highland games
  • “boot camp” type organised exercise and fitness activities

Highland Games

Event Organisers are also required to complete the online form available at

We will send a copy of your application to the Police and East Lothian Council officers for comments.

Update to events requiring a Public Entertainment Licence

As from 11 December 2021, the council has agreed to licence more types of events. The new list is available below.  If you need any further information please contact the Licensing Office.

You must submit an application for a Temporary Public Entertainment Licence 6 weeks before the date of your event.