Is it legal to throw a rave on a private ranch outside the city limits without a permit? 5 Answers as of March 12, 2014

I wish to throw a rave/event on a private ranch outside city limits. I am wondering if I need any permits and if it is legal. More details are as follows: We will provide restroom facilities, and an abundance of water. A 4 man security team and we will not serve alcohol. We will be conducting quick "pat-downs" and metal detector scans of each person entering. We will not allow any containers or backpacks into the event and prohibit any form of drug and alcohol abuse. 16+ age group and we will have an off-duty, medically trained person on-site in the event of an emergency. Will we be able to throw the event without legal repercussions?

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Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
You are not without a government. It is either a township or county. You have to follow their rules.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 3/12/2014
McAlpine PLLC
McAlpine PLLC | Alonzo M. Alston, Esq.
Permits are for permission. The key is to have the landowner's permission. The permit will not help you avoid liability for all of the other instances of possible injury or illegal activity that can occur at the event. Instead, it will prevent the landowner from suing you for using the property without permission. I suggest you speak with a knowledgeable entertainment lawyer to help you get the proper insurance and put into place some legal safeguards.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 3/12/2014
Lawyer for Independent Media
Lawyer for Independent Media | Sue Basko
You need a lawyer. I help run such events. There are many factors involved. Even if this is outside a city, it is still in something else, such as a county. Most counties require permits for events. There may be zoning that prohibits such a use, or such a temporary use may be allowed with a permit. That is why you need a lawyer who knows about these things. I strongly suggest you do not call it a rave, and call it something else that sounds friendlier. The word "rave" has the implications of drug use. You almost surely need an event permit, insurance, plans for parking that will be part of the permit, proper zoning for such an event. It can be quite difficult to get the needed insurance, and insurance is usually required for the permits. You will also need to follow sound ordinances or might even need a sound permit. Every element will have to be inspected, such as every stage or platform, every scaffold, electricity, food service. This is not impossible, and there are groups running such events all the time. However, the permits take time and money. You will need to work with good planners who know how to do a layout and how to do a good set-up and take down. You should see first if you can secure the permits and insurance before selling tickets. When you sell tickets, you should sell advance, no refunds. You absolutely cannot permit the sale or use of any illegal drugs, or the land owner risks losing the property.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/12/2014
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
You will probably need to notify officials in the county the ranch is located in. While it sounds like you have carefully planned this project, there are various agencies that may need to approve the project - everyone from the Roads Department to Water Quality to Fire and Sheriff's Departments.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 3/12/2014
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
No one can give an opinion to guarantee you possible liability, but it sounds goods per your description.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 3/12/2014
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