Updated: Feb 28
By Sholdon Daniels
As an entertainment lawyer in Texas, I work with clients who are planning large-scale events, from music festivals to sports games to cultural celebrations. One important legal consideration that comes up frequently in these contexts is the Texas Mass Gathering Act (TMGA), a law that regulates events with a certain number of attendees. In this post, I'll explain what the TMGA is, what it covers, and how it impacts the entertainment industry in Texas.
What is the Texas Mass Gathering Act?
The TMGA is a Texas law that was first passed in 1973, in response to concerns about the safety of large gatherings of people. The law defines a "mass gathering" as any event that is attended by more than 2,500 people and is held on public or private property. It also sets out a number of requirements that event organizers must follow in order to ensure the safety and health of attendees.
What does the Texas Mass Gathering Act cover?
The TMGA covers a wide range of topics related to event planning and management. Some of the key requirements that it sets out include:
Permits: Event organizers must obtain a permit from the local health department at least 10 days before the event. The permit application must include information about the date, time, location, expected attendance, and other details of the event.
Emergency plans: Event organizers must have a written plan for handling emergencies, such as severe weather, fires, medical emergencies, or other crises. The plan must be approved by the local health department, and copies must be available at the event site.
Sanitation: Event organizers must provide adequate sanitation facilities, such as toilets, handwashing stations, and trash cans. They must also ensure that food vendors and other on-site businesses comply with health and safety regulations.
Security: Event organizers must provide adequate security measures to prevent violence, theft, or other criminal activity. They may need to hire additional security personnel or work with local law enforcement to ensure the safety of attendees.
Noise: Event organizers must comply with local noise ordinances and may need to obtain a permit for amplified sound. They must also take measures to minimize noise pollution and disturbance to nearby residents.
How does the Texas Mass Gathering Act impact the entertainment industry?
The TMGA has a significant impact on the entertainment industry in Texas, particularly for events that draw large crowds. Some of the specific ways in which the TMGA affects event planning and management include:
Costs: Obtaining a TMGA permit and complying with its requirements can be expensive, particularly for smaller events. Event organizers may need to budget for additional costs related to sanitation, security, emergency planning, and other aspects of compliance.
Timeframe: Because the TMGA requires event organizers to obtain a permit at least 10 days before the event, it can be difficult to plan and promote events on short notice. This can be a challenge for music festivals or other events that rely on ticket sales and marketing to attract attendees.
Safety: While the primary goal of the TMGA is to ensure the safety of attendees, some of its requirements can also create safety risks. For example, long lines for sanitation facilities can lead to the spread of disease, and security measures that are too strict can create dangerous crowding or bottlenecks.
Legal compliance: Event organizers who fail to comply with the TMGA can face significant legal and financial consequences, including fines, closure of the event, or even criminal charges in some cases. It's important for event organizers to work closely with legal professionals who understand the TMGA and can help ensure compliance.
I work with event organizers, venue owners, and other stakeholders in the Texas entertainment industry to navigate the complex legal landscape of large-scale events. With a deep understanding of the Texas Mass Gathering Act and other relevant laws and regulations, I can help my clients stay in compliance, avoid legal risks, and focus on what they do best: creating memorable and successful events that showcase the best of Texas culture and entertainment.
As a dedicated and knowledgeable entertainment lawyer, I'm committed to helping my clients succeed in the competitive and dynamic world of Texas entertainment. If you're planning an event in Texas and have questions or concerns about the legal requirements, contact me at 1-844-SHOLDON to learn more about how I can help.