Additional Info

Resources for additional planning and preparing for the unexpected

It’s all in the details. The more time you spend working through the details of your event now, the better prepared you will be. Take time now to avoid unpleasant surprises later, so your event can go off without a hitch.

Hot planning tip: Try a “pre-mortem” exercise. Imagine that you’ve already had your event, and everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Go wild and write down everything and anything. What pain points can you imagine? Make sure some of these are ridiculous so you don’t censor yourself too much (i.e. “An elephant crashed the gate!”). Going through this type of exercise can help you plan better and avoid pitfalls in advance by broadening your thinking.

Below is a list of common things to consider when you are planning an event – even before you’ve picked your space. Your venue’s event coordinators and sales people will thank you for your clarity.

What else do I need for my event?

Alcohol, Gambling and Cannabis (AGLC) – Are you serving or selling alcohol? Running a charity raffle? Want to have a smoker’s corner for your outdoor festival? You’ll need proper licensing from Alberta Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis (AGLC). The AGLC’s website has a ton of resources to help you figure out what type of license your event requires, and you can secure many of them easily online.

Most Liquor and Gaming licences can be applied for online. Some types of liquor licences also require approval from Police/Fire Departments.

Business Licence
For Pop-Up and Interim events: A business licence is required for any use that requires a health inspection (e.g. food preparation on site) and/or an AGLC licence (e.g. serving alcohol).

Hot tip: Consider partnering with a food truck that already has the appropriate licences. Follow this link to find out more about business licences for temporary events.

Capacity – How many people are you planning to have at your event? Is it a fixed number or a range? Are you selling tickets or is it for a private group? Most spaces will list their capacity limits right on their website. Remember that a variety of considerations can affect the maximum capacity a space can accommodate. Examples include:

  • If your event is seated vs. standing.
  • Tables in the space and what kind – for instance, cocktail tables vs. a seated dinner at full rounds.
  • If you’re serving alcohol or not.
  • If you need a stage area (and how big) or room for a screen. You’ll need some distance from a screen for your audience to view it comfortably.

Dates – Are you flexible with your dates? Some venues may book up fast, so if you have a specific date that you absolutely need, be sure to secure a space as early as you can. If you’re more flexible, you can risk waiting longer.

Deposits and Cancellations – Be sure to ask about your preferred venue’s policies on holding a space and cancellations. Most spaces require a deposit of some kind to hold your date.

Fire/Police Department
For Pop-Up and Interim events: If the space you want to use is HUGE (e.g. an empty big-box store), the Fire Department may have additional criteria to keep the public safe in case of emergency. Also if you are serving alcohol at a public event (free or ticketed) the AGLC may require you to have approval from the Fire/Police/Public Health Departments as well.

Hot tip: Make an emergency or health plan so you are prepared for anything.

Food and Catering – If you’re planning on serving food, check if your venue has a preferred caterer’s list and what your restrictions might be. If you’re serving alcohol, you will need a liquor license and insurance. The AGLC’s website has a ton of resources to help you figure out what type of license your event requires, and you can secure many of them easily online.

Insurance – Are you covered? If you’re serving alcohol, you will need insurance as well as a liquor license. If you’re presenting your art work in a gallery you may want exhibition insurance to protect against damage or loss. If you’re using a venue’s technical equipment or have over a certain amount of attendees you may also be required to show proof of insurance. Be sure to ask your venue if your event requires insurance and include the cost in your calculations. Some venues will be able to sell you a certificate from their provider if you don’t have your own third party liability in place.

  • For Pop-Up and Interim Events
  • Most events are required to have proof of 3rd party liability insurance. If your organization already carries insurance, find out if you can extend it to the location of your Pop-Up. Otherwise you’ll need to secure insurance independently.

Music – If music is a part of your event you will need a licence from Entandem (SOCAN/Re:Sound). This is the Canadian agency that protects music artists’ rights and collects royalties. The type of licence you need will depend on a number of things; how many people at the event? Dancing or no dancing? Live or recorded music? Selling tickets or private party? Depending on the type of venue you’re using, the venue may have coverage already but it is your responsibility to find out.

Noise Exemption
City By-Laws have restrictions around noise that limit how loud and how late events can run in certain neighbourhoods. Ask your venue what the noise restrictions are.

  • For Pop-Up or Interim events an exemption may be required for late-running events and/or events in residential areas.

Public or Private – Is your event going to be publicly attended or just for you and your pals? This will change the type of liquor licensing you may need, and can mean the difference between needing event insurance, and not.

Resources (technical) – What resources are available to use in the space? Do they have extensive audio-visual (A/V) equipment, lighting and professional sound, or just a basic stereo system? Do you need recording and livestream capability? Will you need help from technicians to run your A/V smoothly or is it plug and play? Does the venue supply instruments (i.e. a concert quality grand piano) or must you bring your own? Match your event requirements to the space.

Resources (other) – What furniture do you need in the space? A podium? Boardroom seating? Just theatre chairs, or full banquet seating with round tables and fancy skirted chairs? Does the venue supply tables? What kind and how many do you need?

Staffing – Does the venue have its own technical and event staff? There may be extra charges associated with using or requiring the venue’s staff. Do you need front-of-house staff or ushers? Some venues provide them, and some require you to bring your own.

Ticketing and Promotion – If your event is public, you’ll need to think about things like ticketing and promotion as well. Find out what resources your venue has available and/or requires. Some venues require you to use their ticketing system for a fee, and some leave all ticketing and promotion up to the client. Most venues will have logo and branding requirements if you’re printing your own posters or posting social media.

Hot tip: There are free ticketing platforms like Eventbrite and Showpass that make it easy to manage your own ticket sales.
Hot tip: Need to design your own posters and social media without a designer on staff? Online tools like Canva have free versions with easy design tools, photo libraries, and hundreds of premade templates for any occasion you can dream of.


For single events: Is your event going late? Do you need to set up the day before and leave things overnight? Is your event highly technical requiring an extra run-through? Will you need time to decorate the space, or can you just walk in and out without much preparation? Most venues will require you to include your set up and tear down time in your total booked time. Be sure to ask what’s included.

Final Thoughts – Think about what additional resources you might need. This might be anything from a projector and screen, cocktail tables, linens, liquor license, special permits or medical services.