Special Event and Festival Permits

Are you planning to organize a festival or special event within Medicine Hat? If so, certain events require a Special Event Permit and the application must be submitted a minimum of 30 days prior to the event.

Examples of activities which require City approvals are:

  • events where products and services are available
  • farmers' markets, exhibits, or trade shows
  • carnivals, festivals, circuses
  • amusement parks, fairs, haunted houses
  • sporting or charity events
  • concerts
  • block parties

There are three steps when applying for a Special Event or Festival permit:

Required document #1

Please carefully read through the guidelines below to ensure your event is safe for all and primed for success.

Required document #2
Temporary traffic control request form

Download, complete, and upload this form with your application.

Required document #3
Application form

Once you've read the guidelines, and completed and saved the Temporary Traffic Control form, please apply for your permit here.


Each year the City of Medicine Hat receives many requests from individuals and groups to operate special events on City of Medicine Hat property, streets, and roadways. These procedures are intended to ensure consistency, convenience, and safety of the Special Event Organizer and patrons alike.

This documentation outlines the application process a Special Event Organizer is to follow to receive the appropriate approvals by the City of Medicine Hat as well as identify, if applicable, associated fees and charges for services provided by the City of Medicine Hat.

Special events

A Special Event is defined typically as a one time, annual, or infrequently occurring event on City of Medicine Hat property that will impact City operations, infrastructure, and/or services and could affect the public use of that infrastructure and/or service.

A Special Event could be, but not limited to, the following: festivals, parades, run/walks, exhibits, sporting events, concerts, block parties, and where any one of the following is contemplated and/or required:

  • May impact traffic/pedestrian flows or require partial/full road closures
  • Alcohol is served
  • Fireworks or pyrotechnics are being used
  • Large crowds are in attendance
  • Children in attendance
  • May require the approval of outside regulatory agencies such as Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis, Alberta Health Services, etc.
  • Public safety is an issue.
Special events application

The Special Event Organizer shall complete a Special Events Application Form a minimum of thirty (30) days prior to the event and submit to:

City Clerk, City of Medicine Hat
580 1 Street SE, Medicine Hat, AB  T1A 8E6

Phone: (403) 529-8220
Fax: (403) 529-8324
Email: clerk@medicinehat.ca

A detailed site map (layout) and a traffic accommodation plan must be submitted with the Special Events Application Form.

If the event is approved by the City of Medicine Hat, a Letter of Approval (Event Permit) will be issued to the Special Event Organizer. The Organizer must carry the letter and present it upon request.

The City of Medicine Hat may at anytime cancel the Letter of Approval (Event Permit) for reasons of non-compliance with these regulations and/or in the interest of public safety.

General procedures and guidelines
  1. All legislation, bylaws and regulations must be adhered to by the Special Event Organizer; including, not but limited to:
    1. Community Noise Standards Bylaw 4353
    2. Public Roads Bylaw 4346
    3. Parks Bylaw 2527
    4. Land Use Bylaw 4168
    5. Licensing Bylaw 2339
    6. Fire Services Regulations for Indoor & Outdoor Special Events
    7. Outdoor Burning Bylaw 2703
    8. Alcohol Management Policy 0130
    9. Occupational Health and Safety Act, Regulation and Code
    10. Applicable permits/licenses/approvals for beverage and food services, sale and consumption of alcohol, discharge of fireworks, etc.
  2. City of Medicine Hat Bylaws may be accessed from the City of Medicine Hat’s website. You may request the Alcohol Management Policy by contacting the City Clerk department.

    The Special Event Organizer is required to provide evidence of all necessary licenses/permits required to operate the event prior to the event. The Special Event Organizer is responsible for meeting all requirements of the City of Medicine Hat, including fees, bylaws and policies as well as any regulatory approvals required by outside agencies.
  3. The Special Event Organizer shall pay all fees related to municipal property rental and services a minimum of ten (10) days prior to the event.
  4. Insurance – The Special Event Organizer must agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless the City of Medicine Hat from and against any liability, loss, claims, demands, costs and expenses, legal fees due wholly or in part as a result of any negligence, acts or oversights by the Organizer, it’s agents, licensees, invitees, contractors, during the use of property or services.

Depending on the activities and/or type of Special Event, the City of Medicine Hat will determine the minimum level of Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance required by the Special Event Organizer with the City of Medicine Hat named as an additional insured and including a Cross Liability clause. A 30 day notification prior to the cancellation of this policy must be included. Evidence of insurance must be provided to the City Clerk’s Office by the date outlined in the Letter of Approval (Event Permit).

Mapping requirements

If temporary street closures, sidewalk closures, and/or parking restrictions are required and/or will impact traffic/pedestrian flows, the Special Event Organizer must indicate the area requested for the street/sidewalk closure (street name(s) and time period) on the Special Events Application form.

  1. Temporary Traffic Control (TTC) Plan (Sidewalk and/or Roadway Use Maps) – Maps are to be included that detail the rally, walk, race or parade route, all roadway closures or use, required temporary traffic control signs/barricades with any assembly and dispersal areas identified. The Temporary Traffic Control Request Form is required and can be completed online or a paper copy obtained from the City Clerk department by emailing clerk@medicinehat.ca. The drawing must be in a legible format and must be included with your event application. All temporary traffic control signage must be in accordance with the City of Medicine Hat’s Temporary Traffic Control Manual. The City Assets Department may be able to assist with final development of the Traffic Accommodation Plan. There could be a fee for this service. Please contact the Engineer Technologist (403-502-8549) for additional information. The Traffic Accommodation Plan must be approved by Municipal Works prior to the event.
  2. Site Maps – Maps detailing the specific locations of activities [including dimensions where applicable], temporary structures such as tents, air-supported structures, etc., exits and entrances, beer gardens, rides, fireworks, spectators, portable washrooms, stages, seating/bleachers, food services, vendors, fencing, parking/vehicles, first aid stations, emergency vehicle access (6 m clearance), barricades/pylons and signs are required. A copy of the site plan must be included with your application as well.
  3. The Fire Department is requesting additional detailed information such as location and type of cooking booths, concessions or vendors (if applicable), location and accessibility of all required fire extinguishers and safety equipment.

These maps/plans must be submitted with the Special Events Application Form to the City Clerk’s Office a minimum of thirty (30) days prior to the event to ensure a safe and effective plan is in place for the event. Site plans must be approved prior to any event set-up unless the set-up is a standard arrangement pre-approved by the Office of the Fire Marshal. Copies of the approved plans will be stamped by the Office of the Fire Marshal, and returned to the Event Coordinator prior to set-up. No modification of the set-up shall occur once the approved plan has been established without written approval. Final inspection will be conducted according to the approved plans.

 Street closures / traffic flows

All traffic control devices (signs, barricades, etc.) and signing drawings must be in accordance with the City of Medicine Hat’s Temporary Traffic Control Manual.

The Applicant must have a significant majority of approval from businesses or residents who will be impacted by the road closure. At time of Application proof of approval is required. Please contact the City Clerk department for more information in this regard. It is the responsibility of the Special Event Organizer to provide written notification to residents and/or businesses that will be affected by the street closure.

All traffic control personnel must be Alberta Construction Safety Association (ACSA) certified. Please refer to the ACSA website for additional information and upcoming courses in regards to Flag Person Training. Some local companies may be able to provide flag person services. The City Assets department will provide free flag training to any special event, non-profit, group who’s volunteers will be working within the road right-of-way. The “Special Event” flag training course will be valid only for the current Special Event year, and may be used for multiple events during the year. Please contact City Assets (403-502-8549) to set up training or for further inquiries.

To arrange for the rental of barricades, pylons and signage, please contact City Assets (403-502-8549). The Special Event Organizer is responsible to pick up and the return of the rented items.

The Special Event Organizer will be solely responsible for any fees for services provided by the City of Medicine Hat to accommodate the street closures and/or parking restrictions.


Tents must be CAN/ULC-S109-M Flame Resistant Certified. There shall be no “open flame” cooking appliances operated inside the permitted tents. If cooking appliances are to be used, cooking appliances must conform to ULC standards and be CSA certified.

Any cooking that may produce grease-laden vapors is not permitted to be located inside a tent, unless the requirements of NFPA 96 are met.

If NFPA 96 requirements are not met, appliances shall be located outside of the tents and may be protected from weather by a non-combustible cover no larger than 24 sq ft in total area. These appliances must be placed so that they are a minimum of one meter (1m) from the outside tent wall and protected from public access (fenced or barricaded).

A one meter (1m) clearance surrounding the cooking appliance shall be maintained for the safe movement of public and staff.

Fire Extinguishers
All tent/canopy cooking locations shall provide 1 fire extinguisher with a minimum rating of 2A-10BC. In addition to the 10 lb. fire extinguisher, any individual area that has a cooking appliance that produces grease lade vapors shall also provide a “K” class fire extinguisher that is visible and accessible to the operators.

Permits for tents and stages

Tents, stages and other festival-type structures are considered to be buildings as defined by the Alberta Building Code 2006, and as such, event organizers are required to apply for a building permit any time a tent, stage or other festival-type structure is over 60 square meters and tents with cooking equipment is constructed, installed or erected, regardless of the duration or timing of the event.

On August 1, 2009, a severe weather system caused the collapse of the main stage at the Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose, Alberta. Approximately 60 people were injured in the event and one person was killed as a result.

Event organizers have a responsibility to ensure their temporary structures comply with the Alberta Building Code and apply for required permits through Planning & Development Services.

For a tent or stage over 60 square meters, or tent with cooking equipment, contact Planning & Development Services at 403-529-8374, 2nd floor – City Hall. Applicants may download the form below, or simply contact Planning & Development Services and we will assist you.

Tent Occupancy Permit

Service requirements

It is the responsibility of the Special Event Organizer to arrange for locates of buried services prior to the set up of any structure, such as tents or booths, for the event. It is the responsibility of the Special Event Organizer to contact all other utilities in the area not listed on the City's website. Remember to call at least two (2) full working days in advance of setting up any structures.

Miscellaneous requirements

Capacity levels of the structures and/or outdoor sites will be determined by the City of Medicine Hat Fire Department (403-529-8282). A fire safety inspection may be conducted by the City of Medicine Hat Fire Services prior to the event based on the site plan submitted.

If the Special Event will require tables and/or chairs, the Special Event Organizer will need to arrange or rent privately; the City of Medicine Hat does not have tables and/or chairs to supply or rent for events.

All signage for the event (i.e. advertising) must be in accordance with Land Use Bylaw 4168 as well distribution of flyers must be in accordance with the Public Roads Bylaw 4346.

Early in the planning stages, it should be determined whether First Aid Stations or Emergency Medical Personnel are required, and arrangements made with St. John Ambulance or other such service providers.

Vehicle access
Vehicles are prohibited from traveling on pathways, trails, park service roads, or open space without prior written permission.
Licensing requirements

The request to serve food and beverages must be identified at the time of application. These services must meet Palliser Health standards and requirements. Please contact Environmental Health Services at 403-502-8205 for further information to receive the appropriate approvals/permits/inspections. Copies of any applicable approvals/inspections/permits must be provided to the City Clerk’s Office prior to the event. Permits must be posted in a prominent location at the event.

The Special Event Organizer shall first obtain approval from the City Clerk’s Office as part of the application process prior to obtaining a liquor license for the event.

The Special Event Organizer must comply with the City of Medicine Hat’s Alcohol Management Policy 0130 and any applicable legislation and regulations including, but not limited to, the Gaming and Liquor Act and the Gaming and Liquor Regulation. If the location does not comply with those listed with Policy 0130, adequate time is required to submit the request for approval from the Administrative Committee (minimum two weeks).

The Special Event Organizer is responsible for obtaining a Special Event Liquor License from the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) for the sale of alcohol during the Special Event. For detailed information on Special Event Licences; refer to AGLC’s website. A copy of the Special Events Liquor License issued by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) must be submitted to the City Clerk’s office prior to the event. The Special Events Liquor License must be posted in a prominent location at the event.

The Special Event Organizer must ensure that minors and intoxicated persons are not served alcohol and that the area is under constant supervision and the access is restricted.

Fireworks / open fire

The Special Event Organizer shall contact the Fire Services (403-529-8282) to apply for a permit to discharge fireworks and/or to have an open fire (i.e. fire pits). A copy of the Fire Permit must be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office prior to the event. The Special Event Organizer must carry a copy of the permit and present it upon request.

The Special Event Organizer must comply with the City of Medicine Hat’s Bylaw 2703 for outdoor fires and the Alberta Fire Code (Division B, Section 5.7) for the use of fireworks.

It is the responsibility of the Special Event Organizer to notify the Medicine Hat Municipal Airport (403-526-4664) of the intention of discharging fireworks as well as the release of any other items into the air (i.e. balloons), the location and the applicable start and end times.

Clean up

The Special Event Organizer is responsible for leaving the area clean and litter-free and is responsible for any property damage that may occur during the event. The City of Medicine Hat encourages the recycling of materials such as cans and bottles. The clean up and removal of garbage is to be completed by noon the next day.

The Special Event Organizer may be charged for any clean-up costs incurred by the City of Medicine Hat to restore the location for regular use by the general public following the event.

Fees and charges

The Special Event Organizer is liable for all fees and charges which may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Facility / Park Rental (a refundable damage deposit may be required)
  • Equipment Rental/Service Access
    • Road closures, pylons, portable stage, temporary traffic signs, barricades, water and electric hook up and service, utility consumption costs, turf recovery, site restoration, clean up
  • Set Up Services
    • City staff man hours to assist in the set up / take down for the event, including, if required, equipment cost and overtime
    • Police Services traffic assistance / escorts / crowd control / security
  • Applicable Municipal / Provincial Permits and Licenses
    • Business License
    • Permits – building, food and beverage, alcohol, fire/fireworks

We recognize that the City of Medicine Hat is requesting a lot of information from you. Our goal is to keep you, your participants, and the rest of the public safe. Thank you for making that possible.

Trade/craft show participants

If you are a resident of Medicine Hat, a Business License is not required to participate in a local trade show or craft show.

If you are not a resident of Medicine Hat and you are participating in a Trade Show or Craft Show within Medicine Hat, you may be required to have a Business License. The fee which is paid to the organizer of the trade show may not include the cost of your Business License, therefore you should contact the organizer of your event. If you need a City Business License, you may choose to pay an annual fee or a daily fee.