Outdoor Public Events

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, educational and commercial organizations to host independent festivals, concerts, outdoor exhibitions, performances, screenings, workshops and more. See more information about the outdoor event venues on Governors Island.

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Please submit all 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.

  • 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 10AM. 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.
  • 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 event submission 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.

Apply For Permit

Apply For Permit


Have more questions before applying? Read through these FAQs, or check out our Rules and Regulations.

Our typical response time is approximately 24 hours after an inquiry is received. Please note that the process for finalizing an event permit with all associated event costs may take up to three weeks due to the necessary coordination. Please feel free to contact our events team with questions at any time at events@govisland.org.

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 are subject to site fees to be determined during the proposal review process. Fees range based on date, time, and site type/location. 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.

Private and ticketed public events can be held on the Island after or before public hours 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. Events are not confirmed until a signed agreement has been received and approved by both parties. If another inquiry is received, you will be given 72 hours to provide a signed contract prior to the release of the date to other parties.

Event providers are responsible for securing a permit from the New York State Liquor Authority to serve alcohol. The Trust must receive a copy of the liquor permit. Event organizers must provide all logistics plans including site plan and security plan.

Please note that visitors are not permitted to bring their own alcohol to Governors Island and that alcohol is only permitted in areas with current SLA permits.

Governors Island is a vehicle-free environment with limited exceptions for loading materials or supplies. All vehicle access must be approved by your event contact at the Trust for Governors Island.

Vehicles for personal use are not permitted on Governors Island. Every vehicle driving onto the Island must be for work, carrying equipment, supplies, or materials. The vehicle ferry can accommodate large vans and trucks, but they must be no more than 12’6” high, 8’6” wide, 55’ long, and under 40 tons.

Vehicle requests must be submitted through the Trust’s online ferry reservation system. Event organizers will be given access to this system once their proposal is approved. Reservations to bring a vehicle onto the Island must be received at least 24 hours in advance. Vehicles must be operated in compliance with the Island’s rules and regulations. The following information will be needed to complete the reservation: make/model of vehicle, date, time of arrival and departure and your contact at the Trust. If the vehicle is a truck, please also have the vehicle height, weight, and length.

Governors Island is accessible by ferry year-round from the Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan. On summer weekends, Governors Island ferries also run from Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6 and Red Hook/Atlantic Basin in Brooklyn. Guests can reserve ferry tickets online at govisland.org/ferry. For permitted events, your contact at the Trust may assist with large reservations. NYC Ferry also runs daily, year-round public ferry service to Governors Island on the South Brooklyn route. Please note, the Trust does not operate NYC Ferry and they cannot be reserved in advance.

Events anticipating 4,000 or more attendees, or that occur outside of the standard Island hours of operation, are required to provide additional ferry service, at their expense, to supplement Governors Island's regularly scheduled ferries. The Trust will work with event organizers to create a ferry schedule that works within the Island's existing operations, as well as make recommendations for ferry operators and capacities.

Golf carts are not available for rent through the Trust; the Trust can assist in coordinating third party golf cart rentals as needed. Two wheelchair-accessible trams are available to rent through the Trust for your event; each vehicle has capacity for up to 14 guests.

All Governors Island ferries and restrooms are ADA accessible. The Trust has two wheelchair-accessible trams that can be rented for your event to provide additional transportation to your event site.

Governors Island does not own or rent tents, stages, generators, or A/V equipment.

Free, public Wi-Fi is available in many outdoor areas on the Island. Event organizers may 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. Outdoor events generally provide their own portable generators to meet their electricity needs. Please note that FDNY requires generator permits. Please review the NYC Comprehensive Event Permitting Guide to see which permits your event may require.

All requests for electric access must be coordinated with your contact one week prior to the event.

Potable water is available in several areas on Governors Island. Non-potable water may also be available and used for restroom trailers, tent ballasts, etc. All requests for water access must be coordinated with your contact one week prior to the event.

The Trust will work with event organizers 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.

The Trust’s security and EMS services are on the Island to provide services to all Island visitors; they do not provide dedicated event security or EMS. The Trust will work with event organizers to advise on security/EMS/other staffing plans.

Nonprofit organizations may solicit donations, but only within the designated event space.

Sales of any type should be noted in your event proposal, including but not limited to: tickets, food, merchandise, art, etc. Sales of any type should be noted in your event proposal.

The Trust does not provide additional services but will supply all event organizers with a Suggested Vendor list for additional services.

Most events are subject to, but are not limited to, the following permits:

  • Temporary Permit of Assembly
  • DOHMH certifications for all food operators
  • SLA permit for alcohol service
  • FDNY Permits for generators, propane, fireworks, etc.
  • NYPD Sound Permits

Permit pricing varies on permit and length of event. Please review the NYC Comprehensive Event Permitting Guide to see which permits your event may require.

There is limited indoor space available on Governors Island. There is not currently capacity for more than 60 people indoors. Please note if your event requires indoor space in your proposal, and we will do our best to connect you to a site that fits your needs. For film or photo shoots, we have additional space that may be available to meet your needs.