dark stage and lighting at lincoln theatre in downtown raleigh

Amplified Entertainment


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Entertainment Permitting Process AEP Requirements HDEP Requirements Fire Standards in Entertainment Venues HDEP Sound Feedback Form

Raleigh’s nightlife and entertainment scene, which includes restaurants, bars, nightclubs, music venues, and other performance spaces, is an integral part of the City’s culture. Such establishments who play any type of amplified music or other amplified entertainment (live performances, musicians, DJs, and more) are required to obtain necessary permits.

The Office of Emergency Management and Special Events offers two different types of entertainment permits:

Amplified Entertainment Permit (AEP)
Hospitality District Entertainment Permit (HDEP)

HDEP applies to businesses located within a defined hospitality district.
AEP applies to businesses located throughout the remainder of Raleigh.

A business may NOT provide any type of amplified music or entertainment until it has received an AEP or HDEP.

Entertainment Permitting Process

How to Apply

Step  Description 
1. Review AEP/HDEP Requirements  

Review this page and Raleigh City Code of Ordinances to learn about necessary requirements. Not sure if you qualify for an AEP/HDEP or do you have questions? Reach out to us hospitality.programs@raleighnc.gov.

2. Register and Submit Application 

Register or login to your Permit and Development Portal account, and apply for an AEP or HDEP.

3. City Review & Notification  The City will review submissions, reach out with any comments or feedback, and charge the permit fee. After successful building and fire inspections, the City will issue your permit.

Fees:

  • $500 first-time license fee
  • $100 renewal fee due each year by June 30

Permit Provisions:

  • Permits are valid for one year (July 1 through June 30). Permit renewals must be submitted by June 30th each year or permit will expire.
  • Noise levels must meet City Code requirements. Refer to Sec. 12-2117 through 12-2130, Sec. 12-5003, and Sec. 12-5006 of the City Code on amplified entertainment permitting and noise regulations.
  • AEP and HDEP establishments abutting a public right-of-way must be cleaned of all litter by 7:30 a.m. each morning.
  • Permits are not transferable between parties. Any change in ownership requires the new owner to reapply for an AEP or HDEP.

AEP Requirements

  • AEP holders may NOT keep doors or windows of the establishment open.  
  • AEP holders may play recorded music, live music, or live acoustic music with the following time and decibel limitations:
    • No louder than 60 decibels from Sunday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
    • No louder than 55 decibels from Sunday through Saturday, 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
  • All amplified sound must originate from inside the business holding an AEP and cannot be conveyed outside by any means, including but not limited to exterior loudspeakers, open windows, open doors except entrance doors when opened as needed for ingress and egress, etc.
  • For all other AEP requirements, reference City Code's Amplified Entertainment Ordinance.

AEP Time and Decibel (dB) Limits

Time

Sun

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

7 a.m. - 11 p.m.

60 dB

60 dB

60 dB

60 dB

60 dB

60 dB

60 dB

11 p.m. - 7 a.m.

55 dB

55 dB

55 dB

55 dB

55 dB

55 dB

55 dB

HDEP Requirements

  • HDEP holders may keep doors or windows of the establishment open when playing amplified entertainment ONLY during the following days and times:
    • Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
    • Friday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
  • HDEP holders may play recorded music, live music, or live acoustic music with the following time and decibel limitations:
    • No louder than 60 decibels from Sunday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
    • No louder than 55 decibels from Sunday through Thursday, 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.
    • No louder than 60 decibels from Friday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.
    • No audible sounds from the exterior of any building are allowed from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m.
  • HDEP holders may utilize exterior speakers playing at low volume through a separate volume-controlled system during the following days and times:
    • On any day from 11:00 a.m. through 11:00 p.m.
    • On Friday or Saturday from 11:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. through private patio speakers facing inwards ONLY.
  • Aside from the above mentioned exterior speakers playing at low volume through a separate volume-controlled systemall amplified sound must originate from inside the business holding an HDEP and cannot be conveyed outside by means of exterior loudspeakers, etc.
  • For all other HDEP requirements, reference City Code's Hospitality District Entertainment Permit Ordinance.

HDEP Time and Decibel (dB) Limits

Time

Sun

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

7 a.m. - 11 p.m.

60 dB

60 dB

60 dB

60 dB

60 dB

60 dB

60 dB

11 p.m. - 2 a.m.

55 dB

55 dB

55 dB

55 dB

55 dB

60 dB

60 dB

2 a.m. - 7 a.m. No sound No sound No sound No sound No sound No sound No sound

Fire Standards in Entertainment Venues

All amplified entertainment and hospitality district entertainment permittees must have a shunt trip breaker installed to eliminate power to all sound producing devices and any special lights associated with sound in the event of an emergency situation. Sound producing devices include, but are not limited to televisions, monitors with sound emitting devices, karaoke equipment, live bands, DJ booths, juke boxes, and microphones.

Further details on this requirement including design, installation, and performance standards can be found in the Amplified Entertainment Technical Bulletin.

HDEP Sound Feedback Form

The City of Raleigh is mindful of the impact an establishment’s amplified music or entertainment may have on neighboring residents. Those within or adjacent to the hospitality district are encouraged to utilize this sound feedback form. The form provides business contact information for residents to reach out directly to mitigate any issues and/or residents may submit feedback to the Office of Emergency Management and Special Events.

Contact

 

hospitality.programs@raleighnc.gov
919-996-2200

Lead Department:
Emergency Management and Special Events
Service Categories:
Hospitality Programs

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