Outdoor Public Events
Please note that due to the effects of COVID-19, Governors Island’s public season opening has been delayed and access to the Island is limited to essential staff only. We are not currently issuing 2020 permits at this time. See more information on our COVID-19 response here.
Governors Island offers a unique opportunity for organizations to reach new audiences in an unforgettable setting. At the Trust for Governors Island, we work with cultural and educational organizations to host independent festivals, concerts, outdoor exhibitions, performances, screenings, workshops and more. See more information about the outdoor event venues on Governors Island.
Sample Programs that would require an Outdoor Public Event:
Arts and cultural programming, such as festivals, concerts and performances
Educational programming, including public talks, workshops and other activities
Games and other sporting or recreational events that are either free or ticketed
Proposals are reviewed and selected on a rolling basis. Please note that accepted proposals are not final until a permit or license agreement is executed. All proposals must be submitted at least two months before the program or event would take place.
Due to the large volume of responses, our review process can take up to four weeks. Please plan accordingly and submit early enough that you will have ample time to plan your program after hearing back from us.
- Applicant’s track-record of producing and organizing other exceptional programs or events
- Emphasis on public participation across diverse audiences
- Production plan and feasibility of the program based on the Island’s operational capacities and infrastructure
- Before submitting your proposal, please review the Island’s rules and regulations here.
- Event producers will be required to secure and provide proof of insurance coverage that meets the Trust’s minimum requirements, including commercial general liability insurance, workers compensation (if applicable) and automotive insurance.
- Only vehicles that are carrying supplies and materials for load-in and load-out will be allowed to drive onto the Island before 10 AM. Vehicles for personal use are not allowed at any time. Registering vehicles for ferry access requires at least 48 hours’ notice. The full Island vehicle policy will be provided as part of your permit agreement.
- The Trust does not charge site fees for programs that are free and open to the public. However, please note that a security deposit, fully reimbursable after the event, will be required for free public programs. Security deposits are to cover any accidental damage to the Island’s historic buildings or natural turf lawns.
- To help maintain our buildings and green spaces, a site fee and security deposit will be applied to all ticketed and revenue-generating events. Please note that a special rate for nonprofit organizations is available. Site fees will be estimated based on the information in your proposal.
- For both free and revenue-generating events, additional costs associated with dedicated services such as dedicated ferries, security, custodial services, grounds crew consultation and emergency medical services may apply based on the size, timing and other parameters of your event.
- An accepted proposal does not guarantee that you will be able to hold your event on Governors Island. Site bookings are not confirmed until a signed agreement has been received and approved by both parties.
Have more questions before applying? Read through these FAQs, or check out our Rules and Regulations.
Yes, please feel free to indicate a preferred site in your proposal. We can also give site recommendations based on the scope and nature of the event, as well as site availability.
Events that are ticketed, charge admission or take place after or before public hours are subject to site fees, to be determined during the proposal review process. Events that are free and open to the public are eligible to have site fees waived.
Please note that events may require additional services such as dedicated ferries, security, custodial services, grounds crew consultation and emergency medical services. In these cases, the organization producing the event will be responsible for these costs.
Can events or programs be held when the Island is closed to the public, either after hours or during the off-season?
Private and ticketed public events can be held on the Island after or before public hours, as well as during the off-season with special permission from the Trust. Please note that events that do not take place during normal public hours may involve additional costs associated with dedicated Island services, such as extended ferry service or security.
Event dates can be placed on hold after the Trust has received and reviewed your proposal and statement of intent. Programs are not confirmed, and dates cannot be placed on hold until a signed agreement has been received and approved by both parties.
Program and event organizers are responsible for securing a permit from the New York State Liquor Authority to serve alcohol at their event or program. The Trust must receive a copy of the liquor permit and approve all logistical plans for the area where alcohol will be served.
Please note that visitors are not permitted to bring their own alcohol to Governors Island and that alcohol is only permitted in areas designated by the Trust and only served to those over 21 years of age.
Events or programs anticipating 4,000 or more attendees are required to provide additional ferry service, at their expense, to supplement Governors Island's regularly scheduled ferries. The Trust will work with event producers to create a ferry schedule that works within the Island's existing operations, as well as make recommendations for ferry operators and capacities.
Governors Island has tents of varying sizes available for programs to rent for a fee at the responsibility of the organizer, and more information on tent specifications can be provided upon request. Governors Island does not own or rent stages, generators or A/V equipment.
Governors Island has free, public Wi-Fi in many outdoor areas on the Island. Event producers may be able to purchase dedicated Wi-Fi service with additional bandwidth from the Island’s wireless provider, or they may install wireless hotspots.
Electricity varies throughout the Island and is not available on many event sites. Most outdoor events must bring in their own portable generators to meet their electricity needs. Some areas of Governors Island currently have potable water. Please include your needs for water in your proposal. Potable water is not available at most private/ticketed event sites.
The Trust will work with event producers to advise them on a comprehensive Operational Plan including (but not limited to): a site plan, run of show, ferry transportation schedule and security/staffing plans to best work within the Island’s daily operations.
Nonprofit organizations can solicit donations, but only within the designated space reserved for your event.
For outdoor festivals and events, outside food vendors are permitted and subject to standard New York City DOHMH policies. Sales of any type should be noted in event/program proposals for review by the Trust. If you’re interested in selling art at your program or event, please get in touch with us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.