Special Events

NOTE:  No special events application for proposed events from April 22 - 28 will be approved.

Effective June 21, 2023, there will be a new Special Events Application process. Applications previously submitted will not be impacted. Please email [email protected] with questions or concerns about current applications. 


The Special Events Management Team (SEMT) oversees special events in Detroit and is responsible for assisting applicants with obtaining approvals and permits from various City departments and City Council.  

Organizers should NOT widely publicize or sell tickets to events before they are approved by City Council. All applications must be submitted 60 days prior to the event start date.

Film Permits - Detroit Film Office


City Council President
City Council Pro Tem

Process Overview


01Review the Applicant Guide

Read the Special Events Applicant Guide

02Gather Materials

Gather the information and materials needed to submit a complete application for your event

03Submit Application

Submit your Special Event Application with all necessary attachments

04Additional Materials

The SEMT or other City departments will reach out to:

  1. Request additional information and / or request changes to your event to ensure it complies with City regulations and does not interfere with City services, and / or
  2. Request a meeting to better understand the details of your event, or
  3. Let you know that your application has been signed off on by all relevant City departments
05City Council Approval
  1. When you have been approved by relevant City departments, your application will be sent to City Council for approval. Once approved by City Council you can:
    1. Begin advertising and ticket sales for the event
    2. Pull necessary permits for the event
    3. Begin necessary inspections
    4. Pay fees for permits and inspections
06Event Day

Once you have obtained permits and scheduled the necessary inspections, you’re ready for a fantastic event

07Event Clean Up and Breakdown

Don’t forget to adhere to your clean-up / breakdown plan to leave public spaces in the best condition possible

What counts as a “Special Event”?

Generally, there are two types of events: Special Events and Permitted Events. If you are not sure if your event is a special event you can apply through the special events process and our team will help you determine what is necessary for your event.  

Special Event 

Council Special Events are events that require a Special Events Application, City department sign off, and City Council approval. After City Council approval, please remember that you must finish obtaining permits paying the necessary fees. 


City of Detroit Special Events include: 

  • Festivals or parades or carnivals 

  • Events that involve ticket sales on City property 

  • Events that involve donations on City property 

  • Events that involve closure of any right-of-way 

  • Events that utilize Hart Plaza 

A Permitted Event 

A permitted event is one that may require City department permits but does not require a Special Events Application or City Council sign off. Community events such as block parties do not require a special events application, however, community events do require DPD notification and are subject to DPD approval in conjunction with obtaining the proper permits. Please notify your local precinct and ensure your event is properly permitted. 


City of Detroit Permitted Events include: 

  • Events that do not involve ticket sales on City property 

  • Events that do not involve donations on City property 

  • Events on City property