Book a Demo

5 minutes read

How to Plan an Outdoor Event in Manchester

We Love You Manchester sign

Planning an Outdoor Event in Manchester

Famous for its soccer rivalry, the Manchester Bee, and home of the Gallagher brothers, Manchester is considered the heart of the North-West of England. Manchester has a bursting events scene, hosted across the city: from the Northern Quarter, to Piccadilly, to The Gay Village, as well as in outter areas such as Salford and Trafford. 

With such a vibrant music and nightlife scene, festivals and music events are amongst the most popular, including Parklife music festival, hosted in Heaton Park each June, and outdoor cinema and music experiences hosted at the Dunham Massey in Altrincham. Manchester is also famous for its vintage shopping scene and markets, and in the spring and summer there are no shortage of vintage shopping events including the Piccadilly Gardens Market and Northern Quarter Makers Market.

Popular events throughout the year include the Great Manchester Run, a 10km run hosted in May, the 10-day Manchester Pride celebrations along the canal in August, a Halloween Grimmfest held throughout October, and the various Manchester Christmas Markets to round off the year.

1. Choosing a Venue

Manchester and Greater Manchester has a range of venues and areas to choose from; so regardless of the size of your event, and your audience, Manchester has you covered! Popular venues for outdoor music events include Heaton Park , Peel Park (located on the River Irwell) and the The Community Gardens, Seedley Pavilion. A bit further south of the city Alexandra Park has played host to many sports events and tournaments, including the popular fun-runs, and obstacle runs. For water sports and events, Sale Water Park offers an open lake; a perfect location for outdoor fates, and water sports events and tournaments. 

Outdoor Event in Manchester

When choosing a venue for a street market, parade or smaller-scale concert, it’s important to research the area of the city. Especially for parades, such as Pride, or food markets, the city offers a plethora of different ‘vibes’. Event goers, locals and tourists are welcomed by the Canal running through Gay Village, a vibrant neighbourhood with a multitude cafes and restaurants lining the canal, as well as smaller side streets that often host street markets. Located between Piccadilly train station and the Arndale Centre, the Northern Quarter is also perfect for street events, consisting of a network of small streets and alleyways. Here, you’ll also find a few open squares, which can be transformed by marquees and stalls into a vibrant market.

2. Creating a Crowd Management Plan

Crowd safety is essential for outdoor event planning; unlike indoor events, where there is a set venue capacity, it is easy to overestimate outdoor capacity. Crowd management tools will be fundamental to the smooth running of your event. OnePlan’s innovative crowd management tools provide quick and clear measures of your capacity. Measuring in feet or metres square, instantly see your event areas crowd capacity; this calculator takes account for any necessary distancing measures. 


Crowd management also extends beyond the health and safety at the event site; it’s crucial to have a plan for managing event flow to and from the event site. In this, you should outline any traffic, transport, or parking plans for your event, including considerations of how will your audience travel to and from your event. You can easily map out the various transport links around the event site, and make a plan to promote these to your audience. 

Our Area tools are perfect for measuring crowd capacity within your event, as well as areas surrounding certain attractions and locations within your event

There are lots of methods of public transport in Manchester. There are four train stations within the city centre, with Manchester Piccadilly in the centre, Manchester Oxford Road  and Deansgate in the South, and centre Manchester Victoria in the city south. The Tram and Bus services also run every 12 minutes, meaning this will likely be the preferred method of transport if your event is hosted in the city. Looking at the nearest train station to your event site, and relaying this to event goers will not only make their experience easier but allow you to create a clear entrance flow plan based on expected public transport arrival times.

For events a little further out, parking considerations will be key. OnePlan’s traffic and parking tools updates allow you to plan ahead for expected increase of traffic for your event. Using our Parking Tools, you can calculate the capacity allowance of your mapped parking area, and plan to issue parking permits or limit the number of event goers who travel via car. You can find more information on parking here

3. Event Permits in Manchester

By law, it is required for UK event planners to obtain a Temporary Event Notice, or TEN permit, from their local government. In most cases, this is the first thing you need to do when planning any public event. A TEN can only authorise licensable activities for events with an attendance of 499 people or less, including staff. However, there are some events where a TEN or permission is not required; you can check whether your event requires a permit here. When there is serving of alcohol or hot food or drinks, every outdoor event will require a licence, regardless of expected attendance. 

4. How OnePlan can improve your planning

OnePlan provides the single source of truth for your event plan. With a plethora of tools, you can plan your outdoor event on one platform, that allows you to:

  • Map out your event with high-resolution satellite maps of your outdoor event space. Switch between different views such as satellite, night, black and white, and Google maps.  For many locations OnePlan also has aerial imagery, more up to date than Google maps and much higher resolution.
  • Design your event with our bespoke icons specifically designed for outdoor events. Place icons and event infrastructure in the exact location to get an ideal visual duplicate of your event. 
  • Manage vendors, suppliers and stakeholders by generating a bill of quantities and collaborating inside of OnePlan in real-time.


Weather considerations are also central to outdoor planning, and when hosting an event in the ‘Rainy City’, being prepared for different weather conditions is key. Our Duplicate event feature is particularly useful for this; by duplicating an event, you can keep the same event layout but add more marquees and wet areas, making planning for different weather scenarios simple.

"The time saving compared to the way I used to develop a site map is huge. OnePlan is so much more streamlined and saves me a considerable amount of time, especially when the organisation wants certain areas editing"

LA Wild

Phil Morgan

Taunton Live & Pride, Event production, GoCreate

Sign up for free today and get planning now.

Related Posts

Event Technology Awards
Best Event Management Platform
Best Festival Technology
Sports Technology Awards
Best Venue & Operations Technology 2022