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Your Questions Answered About Outdoor Parties in Public Parks

CLIP get a *lot of requests for birthday hires. Let's face it, if you want a company to bring the party, why would you go anywhere else? As part of this ongoing process, we get asked to do parties in parks all the time. Equally, we see mums on Facebook asking about parties in parks and what they can, and can't do, all the time. This article we hope, will help clear up any questions you might have about throwing a party in a public park or other green space.

SO IS HAVING A PARTY ALLOWED?

Of course it is, but there are some rules you need to know about.

CAN I BRING A GAZEBO OR OTHER STRUCTURE LIKE A BOUNCY CASTLE?

The short answer is no. Every Local Authority has different by-laws, but universally, all the boroughs we work with, at least, don't allow structures in parks. This might feel a little unfair, but when you think about it, it makes sense: what if everyone tooled up at the weekend with a gazebo? Your local common would look like a village fete. You can, of course erect a structure in a park, if you go through the proper channels and get, for example a TENs notice from your local council's events team, but otherwise, you might get away with it, but you might not: you have to ask yourself if you want your child's day marred by the gazebo coming back down if an enforcement officer drives up.

CAN I BRING A SOUND SYSTEM?

This is another no, for obvious reasons: the park is for everyone, and the neighbours at one or two of our venues have, this summer, reached breaking point with the noise levels they've had to deal with from consecutive party hosts who haven't sought permission to hold events and really gone for it. Again, if you want to risk it you can, but we hope a sense of community would prevail when it comes to sound systems.

WHAT ABOUT ENTERTAINMENT, WHAT IF I WANT TO HIRE CLIP OR ANOTHER EVENTS COMPANY?

CLIP will only work in parks we are licensed for: some local authorities won't license us, even though they love us (Southwark Council, I'm looking at you) because the license simply doesn't exist or it's too complicated to license a baby class operator like a fitness instructor. A lot of companies are unaware of the need for a license to trade, but believe you me, you need one to operate in a park, whether that's to lead a party, or a class. Again, you might get away with having your party with an un-licensed entertainer, and you might not, the chance is yours to take. Our best advice is to ask your company about their licensing, and see if they can produce one.

OK, SO WHAT ABOUT OTHER GREEN SPACES?

These mostly operate at the discretion of the manager or owner, but the chances are you'll have to hire space: but when you think about it, you'd have to hire a hall for a party if it were winter, and it's usually comparable or cheaper. Expect there to be rules about what you can, and can't do, like anywhere else.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE TO CONSIDER BEFORE HAVING AN OUTDOOR PARTY?

If you decide to go ahead and take your chances, remember parks and green spaces are like anywhere else, and can be hired out from under you. We have had to move several irate families on this summer in our green spaces: but when you think about it, that's how fun fairs or events like Kisstory happen, the parks get hired, you wouldn't challenge the guy running the dodgems, now would you?

We have some exceptional green spaces in South London, and our local wildlife relies on our cooperation and co-habitation, so please avoid leaving burst balloons, glitter cannon confetti, general rubbish or other detritus behind: take it home, your children will learn to love their planet if they see you loving it, after all. Trees don't like to be wrapped up in rope or other tethers, and they really don't like to be bent or have broken branches.

TO CONCLUDE

Outdoor parties are a joy, and you shouldn't be deterred from having one, it's just good to know what you can, and can't do, so your day is as worry free and joyful as possible. Have fun: that's definitely allowed.

CLIP at the Rookery, Streatham