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

Last updated April 21, 2021

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, National Park Service or Presidio Trust property. Submit your request to them directly. 

1. Check if your planned entertainment or amplified sound is part of an allowed activity

A Just Add Music (JAM) permit can only be approved as a part of these activities:

  • Outdoor dining
  • Outdoor bars
  • Outdoor seated live events and performances with in-person audiences
    • Advance reservations/ticket sales and assigned seating are required.
  • Outdoor arts and music festivals and performances
    • Any outdoor performance is limited to 50 people, not including performers or personnel. 
  • Outdoor gatherings
    • Outdoor gatherings with no eating/drinking are limited to 50 people. If eating or drinking, outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people.
    • Religious service gatherings and political protest gatherings are allowed with no capacity limits. Social distancing is required.
  • Farmers' markets or outdoor community markets
  • Drive-in gatherings, like a movie or performance. 
  • Outdoor fitness (amplified sound only, no live entertainment)
  • Outdoor retail pickup (amplified sound only, no live entertainment)
  • Outdoor live streaming performance
  • Higher education classes (amplified sound only, no live entertainment)
  • Outdoor conferences, meetings, and receptions

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 outdoors

  • When performing outdoors all performers (except vocalists, wind and brass musicians without facial coverings) must always be masked and maintain a minimum of 6 feet of physical distancing from other performers and audience members. 
  • Singing, chanting, playing wind and brass instruments are now allowed outdoors with the following rules:
    • Outdoor vocalists may perform with or without facial coverings. Outdoor vocalists wearing masks must maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from other performers and audience members. While unmasked, outdoor vocalists must maintain at least 12 feet of physical distance from other performers and audience members.
    • Outdoors, wind and brass instrument musicians may perform with or without facial coverings. While masked or with instrument covers outdoors, they must maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from other performers and audience members. While unmasked or with uncovered instruments outdoors, they must maintain at least 12 feet of physical distance from other performers and audience members. The bells of instruments must be covered with a mask or other fabric while on stage. Musicians playing a wind or brass instrument must replace their facial covering when they are not actively performing.
    • Refer to the relevant guidance document above for complete rules.
  • Audience and staff must wear face coverings
  • Each performer must fit in the performance area and maintain the required physical distancing from other performers and audience members (see rules above). If any part of the sidewalk is used for a performance, make sure there is a clear 6 foot path of travel on the sidewalk for pedestrians.

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.

Accessibility rules

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 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). 

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

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. 

5. Print and post your public health forms

You will need to follow the health and safety plan for your activity as well as a social distancing protocol. 

You will have to post the forms at your location in a visible place.

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

Use Shared Spaces street closure for entertainment or amplified sound

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

  • If a community based organization holds the Shared Spaces street closure permit, and is not holding a farmers market or outdoor community market, then that organization must partner with an outdoor dining or outdoor bar 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

Phone

Last updated April 21, 2021