Provide entertainment or amplified sound in an outdoor space

Apply for a Just Add Music (JAM) permit for Shared Spaces, outdoor dining, small gatherings, outdoor fitness classes, farmer’s markets, and other activities.

What to do

To hold outdoor entertainment or amplified sound you must follow City health guidelines and provide documents based on your location and type of activity.

Here are examples of what needs this permit:

  • Live music like a band or DJ
  • Theater, comedy or dance performance
  • Fashion show
  • Amplified speech
  • Amplified sound without a performer, like pre-recorded music or sound on a patio
  • Film/TV screening with amplified sound

This permit is not for street performers or buskers. If you are a musician or performer, you may partner with a business to host your performance, but that business must be the one to apply for the JAM permit. 

You don’t need this permit if you already have approval to host outdoor entertainment at a permitted Place of Entertainment (POE) or Limited Live Performance (LLP) location.

This permit is not for activity on SF Recreation and Parks Department or National Park Service property. Submit your inquiry to them directly. 

1. Check if your planned entertainment or amplified sound will be part of an allowed activity. A JAM permit can only be approved as a part of these activities.

Activities that can get a JAM permit:

  • Outdoor dining
  • Outdoor gatherings 
  • Farmers’ markets
  • Drive-in gatherings 
  • Outdoor fitness classes (amplified sound only - no live entertainment)
  • Outdoor retail pickup (amplified sound only - no live entertainment)
  • Outdoor live streaming performance (amplified sound only - no live entertainment)
  • Higher education classes (amplified sound only - no live entertainment)

2. Check our rules

Everyone at the outdoor location must follow all of the City’s safety guidelines according to the activity:

Rules for performers

  • No singing, shouting, or playing wind or brass instruments. These activities increase the risk of aerosol transmission of COVID-19.
  • All performers and staff have to use face coverings.
  • Each performer must fit in the performance area and keep a distance of at least 6-feet from other people.

Rules for amplified sound

  • You are allowed up to 6 hours per day, including soundcheck.
  • You can’t play outdoor sound equipment before 9 am or after 10 pm.
  • You will need to follow the approved sound limit.

Tips to prevent crowds

  • Ask people who are forming groups or crowds to stop and follow physical distancing guidelines.
  • Keep the area of your activity clean, and revise to-go services and line practices to discourage loitering. 
  • Call 311 if you need help.

3. Get the permit or approval to use the outdoor property

You must get one of these permits depending on where you want to offer entertainment or amplified sound.

 We will need you to provide a copy of this permit or approval.

4. Gather your documents

We will ask you to upload a:

5. Apply to provide entertainment or amplified sound in an outdoor space

In the application, you will need to agree to rules and responsibilities.

It will take about 30 minutes.

We will send you a confirmation email and information about what to do next.

6. Wait for our email

A decision letter will be sent to your email address in 7-14 business days. If we need more information from you, we will reach out using the contact information you provided.

7. Get your permit

We will work with you to issue a permit and make sure you follow all safety rules.

Special cases

Serving alcohol

If your business location does not currently have an Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC) permit, you will not be able to serve alcohol outdoors at this time. Currently, ABC is only allowing an existing licensed premise to expand its premises into an adjacent area for on-site consumption. 

If a bar wants to serve alcohol outdoors:

Alcohol may not be sold at a drive-in gathering.

Use Shared Spaces street closure for entertainment

If you plan on having entertainment or amplified sound in a Shared Spaces street closure, at this time, it must comply with outdoor dining:

  • If a community based organization holds the Shared Spaces street closure permit, then that organization must partner with an outdoor dining establishment on the street being closed to hold the entertainment/amplified sound. In addition, that same establishment must have a valid Shared Spaces or a Cafe Tables & Chairs Permit for their outdoor dining  
  • The performers should follow the Social Distancing Protocol and perform only for the audience in the outdoor dining area.

Check the rules for performers and tips to avoid crowds on step 2 of this page.

Get help

Entertainment Commission

49 South Van Ness Suite 1482

San Francisco, CA 94103

Staff are currently working remotely


Last updated October 28, 2020