Hosting a live events as a content creator: venue agreements

In part one of our series, we gave an overview of typical considerations for content creators hosting live events and in part two, we highlighted release agreements.

After meeting regulations from governing bodies and safeguarding themselves against liability from participants and attendees, an event organizer must still find a place to host the event. If the event has a significant number of attendees, then instead of hosting it in a public space like a park, the event organizer may want to find a venue such as a restaurant, concert hall, gymnasium, or convention center.

A venue or event agreement is the main agreement between the event organizer and the owners of the event venue. A venue agreement can be flexible and can include a variety of provisions governing issues such as security, insurance, alcohol licenses, or any other issue the two parties might care about.

Liability: An event organizer can potentially face a variety of claims including, but not limited to, nuisance and noise complaints, injuries to workers and participants, damages to the premises, rioting and endangerment to the public, etc. The event organizer and venue owner will allocate liability for any such claims in the venue agreement. Typically, the event organizer is responsible for most potential claims. However, the venue owner may or should be responsible for certain claims where they are providing services, such as claims related to alcohol or security, if the venue is in charge of those tasks. 

Indemnification and Insurance: In the event that damages do occur, the parties may want to have an indemnification provision, which sets forth how the parties will defend (against a lawsuit) and hold harmless the other party (i.e., not sue the other party) from any claims or damages that arise out of their actions. Depending on the size and nature of the event, the parties may want to require insurance ahead of time. What types of damages the insurance covers, the amount of the damages, and proof of insurance are all important issues the parties may want to negotiate. 

Force Majeure: Force Majeure, French for “overwhelming force,” is a common legal provision in contracts that frees the parties from the contract in the case of an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the two parties’ control. This provision is particularly important for venue or event agreements as it will determine whether (or which of) the parties are still responsible for the event in a number of circumstances. For example, if the venue burns down or suffers from flooding during a heavy storm before an event, either the venue owner or the event organizer may wish to cancel the event. However, the type of events that are considered Force Majeure is not predetermined and is often a point of negotiation between the event organizer and the venue. For example, when the Covid-19 pandemic first broke out, many contracts included Covid-19 infection as a Force Majeure event that could excuse the parties from performing a contract. Now that Covid-19 is a known and foreseeable factor, some parties have argued that it is no longer a Force Majeure and that obligations to perform the contract must continue.

Hosting a live event can be the big milestone that takes a content creator’s careers to the next level. Because of that, content creators need to understand and prepare for the various organizational, legal, and safety requirements that come along with hosting such an event. In this series, we have covered some common agreements and important provisions to them that content creators should be aware of. However, this is not an exhaustive list of all of the possible or relevant issues that a content creator may face. We encourage anyone that plans to host a live event to speak to legal counsel about what will best fit their needs.

Kevin Dong

Kevin is an attorney at Odin Law and Media focused on corporate and entertainment transactions. He can be reached at kevin at odin law dot com.

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