Provide entertainment or amplified sound in an outdoor space

Apply for a Just Add Music (JAM) permit for Shared Spaces and other outdoor locations.

What to do

Last updated June 17, 2021 to reflect the Safer Return Together Health Order


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) premises.

This permit is not for activity on SF Recreation and Parks Department (Golden Gate Park, for example), National Park Service or Presidio Trust property. Submit your request to them directly. 

1. Check our rules

While most pandemic rules have been removed as of 6/15/21, some rules are still in effect. Everyone at the outdoor location must follow any local and state health guidelines as applicable. Here are the latest updates (not a complete list):

  • Everyone should get vaccinated against COVID-19 if eligible.
  • Even though reduced capacity restrictions have been removed, the location’s original occupancy load requirements must be maintained.
  • Effective 8/20/21, everyone must show proof of vaccination before entering indoor business facilities where food or drink is served, at gyms and fitness centers, or at large indoor events. This does not include individuals ordering or picking up food or drink to go. 
  • Effective 8/3/21, everyone must wear a mask indoors in public places, even if they are vaccinated. The City strongly encourages individuals to wear masks when they are in crowded outdoor spaces, such as parades, fairs and outdoor concerts, and sporting events. Learn more about masks.
  • Physical distancing is no longer required for attendees, customers, or guests. 
  • Mega Outdoor Events (over 10,000 people) require a health plan (see pg. 14) submitted to SF Dept. of Public Health at least 10 days in advance of the event, but are not required to wait for approval. Proof of full vaccination or negative COVID-19 test result is strongly recommended.
  • Required Signage: All SF businesses must post signage about COVID-19 prevention and getting vaccinated.

Rules for amplified sound

  • You are allowed up to 6 hours per day, including soundcheck. See exceptions below. A request for amplified sound on multiple days of the week may not be approved or may be limited after permit issuance due to multiple considerations including density of existing permits, nearby sensitive receptors, and prior complaints.
  • You can’t play outdoor sound equipment before 9 am or after 10 pm. See exceptions below. 
  • You will need to follow the approved sound limit.

Requesting an exception: In some cases for a temporary event, the Entertainment Commission may allow exceptions to the number of hours and times of day/night. A hearing may be required. In your application, explain why you wish to be granted an exception and how you are conducting meaningful neighborhood outreach to any affected residents and businesses

Accessibility rules

2. 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 ask you to upload a copy of your permit in the application form, except if you have a Shared Spaces permit (we don't need a copy of that permit). 

3. Apply for the JAM permit

In the application, you will need to agree to rules and responsibilities. You will need to give detailed responses to the security plan questions; short, one-sentence answers will not be accepted.

It will take about 30 minutes. We will send you a confirmation email and information about what to do next.

Looking to amend your existing JAM permit? Email us your requested changes at entertainment.commission@sfgov.org. Do not submit a new application. 

4. 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.

5. Get your permit

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

Get help

Entertainment Commission
49 South Van Ness Suite 1482
San Francisco, CA 94103

Staff are currently working remotely

Phone

Last updated August 13, 2021