Answers to all those burning questions about the pub and hiring the venue.


I have the best band in the world, how do I get a gig at the Portland?

We mainly use promoters to organise our nights, they get bands together, organise advertising, ticketing, man the door and try to make sure everyone is paid!
We hire the venue to them and supply a sound tec as needed plus advertise the gig on this site, social media sites, through news feeds to many other sites, and our Gig Guide program distributed around the city.

The first thing you should do is check out our links section for contact details of our regular promoters as well as our Upcoming Events calendar for possible dates needing a support band.
You may also like to check out and WereAllNeighbours for useful leads and resources.

Fancy running your own night?  Check out the What does it cost, age policy and the other FAQ’s in this section, look for a free date in the calendar then contact us on 01223 357268
Please don’t send demo’s to the pub as we simply do not have the time to listen to them.

I’m a promoter, how do I run my own night?

We work on a room hire basis where we supply the venue, bar, PA and sound technician for you to run your own night.

You will need to supply your own cashier/door person, band rep and someone for the merch stand if you are having one
(if you are struggling though, and with enough notice we may be able to recommend some experienced locals, see BOX OFFICE for details)

If you have some bands in mind, and you have read the rest of this FAQ, check our ONLINE CALENDAR for availability.

Then contact the pub direct on 01223 357268, or use the online form HERE but be prepared to answer as many of these questions as possible:

Your name, contact details.
Have you gigged at the Portland before?
Band(s) names.
Average age of band members and fanbase age range.
Style of music.
Do you need a sound technician?

Also if there is any websites or additional information/reviews then let us know!
We send out a monthly mail to over 1000 registered members of the website as well as our Facebook page and Twitter followers billboard posters and listings to local papers.

We also produce a free in-house gig guide that is distributed to several locations around the city so as much info about the bands as possible please.

Prices vary depending on what night you need and if you need a sound tec or not.

What does it cost to hire the venue?

We charge a hire fee on a scale depending on the day of the week with a Technician paid separately if required (though if you do need a sound technician we require them to be someone who is on our approved list).

Rates for local promoters start at £150 +VAT and PRS fees if applicable.

The fee includes use of the venue, green room, ticket office, the use of our house PA and lighting and one of our trained sound technicians. If you require someone for the door, merch etc this can be arranged if given ample notice and for an additional charge SeeBOX OFFICE’ and ‘SELLING MERCH’.

If you need a sound technician earlier than usual (before 5pm) then a fee of £15 an hour extra will be charged.

Our day rate (11am – 5pm) for just the room is £25 an hour not including sound technician or PA.

A £100 deposit is required to secure bookings, non-refundable if the event is cancelled less than 2 weeks before.

Please use the Venue-How to Hire form to make a booking, it ensures the right team see your request promptly and speedily.

PRS Fees

As of June 2018 the fees charged to us per gig by the Performing Rights Society is £15 minimum fee or 4.2% of the gross tickets sales, whichever is the most.

If you are a member of PRS or are performing or playing any copyrighted music then you will need to supply a set-list and your details. The PRS fee will be added to the room hire fee payable on the night.

If you are performing your own original works and are not PRS registered then you can fill in the waiver form and the fee will not be applicable.

How do I pay for the hire?

We require a 50% deposit of the venue hire to secure the booking, non-refundable if cancelled less than 3 weeks before the event.

Payment can be made in person at the bar, by card over the phone or we can email a paypal invoice to pay securely online. The remaining balance is paid on the night.

If selling tickets through us we can take the room hire from ticket sales.  See ‘Selling tickets through the Portland website’

What are the age limits?

The Portland is an over 18’s venue and all band members and gig-goers must be 18 or over.
Under 18’s are permitted entry to gigs only when accompanied by a parent or guardian.

What is the room capacity?

The venue has a capacity of 200 standing, 80 seated (due to the layout of the room and fire escape access)

Please not that this includes band members, guest list etc so a sellable capacity of around 180 depending on the size of the crew.

What time is music curfew?

Live amplified music must stop by 11pm
The pub itself serves until 11.30pm weekdays, 12.30am Friday and Saturdays and 11pm Sunday.

What are the technical specs of the venue?

Follow the link below for a detailed spec. (PDF format)

Please note we do not have a backline.

Where and what time can we load in?

Load in is usually around 4-5pm with sound-check around 5-6pm with doors usually open at 7.30 for a 8pm start.
The pub is open all day so load in at an earlier time to drop off equipment is possible but check with us before hand.

Step-free Load is via the driveway and through the courtyard and rear fire escape, NOT through the bars.
See our access info pages for a video walkthrough of the route

Note: due to a major development around us there is now NO parking available on site

After load-in ALL vehicles will need to move to pay and display spaces opposite (free after 5pm) or side streets. For additional advice on parking see the Parking FAQ entry

Band Riders

We allow promoters to supply their own riders (ie food and drink) FOR BAND USE ONLY with a few restrictions:

  • That there is not an excessive amount of alcohol.
  • That it is kept in the green room
  • Ideally it’s something we already sell, if not that it is decanted into plastics -NO CANS OR BOTTLES TO LEAVE THE GREEN ROOM.
  • Food and snacks* should be kept in the green room and leftovers/rubbish disposed of properly in the appropriate bin.
  • That the green room is left tidy and ready for use by the next group.  EXCESSIVE MESS WILL RESULT IN CLEAN UP CHARGES

We have a kettle, microwave and fresh drinking water tap with reusable glasses and jugs so please consider NOT bringing in any one-use plastic bottle drinking water.

* we can supply band food with a 20% discount on menu prices if you pre order in advance.

How big is the stage?

The venue stage is approximately:

5.8 metres across by 2.7 metres deep.

The ceiling height clearance above the stage is 2.4 metres. Hooks are available for your own backdrop, not more than 4.5 metres wide.

Selling Merch

We can supply a table, chair and lighting for you to sell you band merch at the back of the venue or, on busy nights to maximize space, in one of the pubs bars.

You just need to supply the merch and someone to run it, though if given advance notice we may be able to supply someone for you for an additional fee.

We do not charge a commission or take any sort of cut.

Box Office

We have a small box office hut that can be used on the night to sell tickets and to act as a cloak room.

We can also supply wrist bands, cash tin and float.

We do not supply box office staff as part of the hire fee. If you are stuck we may be able to recommend some trustworthy people if given enough notice.  They generally charge around the £50 mark, payable directly to them on the night.

Due to the number of shows we have booked in we don’t sell physical tickets over the bar but can sell tickets on your behalf through our website. See ‘Selling tickets through the Portland website‘ for details

Selling tickets through the Portland website

We can sell tickets for your event on your behalf through the Portland online store:

Booking fees (payable by the buyer, which covers the payment processing) are generally cheaper than the other providers,  and any surplus goes back into maintaining the venue rather than a 3rd party.

We ask that we have at least a third of the allocation of any advance tickets.

We have a policy that a Deaf or Disabled customer who needs an assistant to attend is entitled to a free ticket for that person. This can be taken from our allocation.

Contact Us to set this up for you.

See also: ‘Can I use my own ticketing supplier’

Can I use my own ticketing supplier?

You can, but at least a 3rd of the allocation should be sold through our website box office.

Our booking fee to the customer is always less than the other providers and it goes right back into supporting the venue, not off to a third party.
If selling tickets through us then we waive the need to have to pay a deposit in advance and can take the final room hire from ticket sales and pay you the rest on the night (if ticket sales did not cover the hire fee then the balance would still need paying on the night)

See ‘Selling tickets through the Portland website‘ for more details.

Flyposting and Advertising

As the promoter or organiser of the night it is down to you to advertise your event.

We will add your gig straight onto our website at the time of booking and from there an RSS feed is available for many online and print mags including the fly,, cambridge evening news and many national publications. We also produce an in-house gig guide each month that is widely distributed around the city.

We can also display posters (max of 3 A3 or smaller preferred) and flyers but you will need to supply them yourself..

When promoting your event take note of the following:

# It is council policy to remove all flyposters from ‘street furniture’ and threaten venues whose events are publicised this way with fines of £1000 and possibly with the loss of their entertainment licence.” (Source: what do U think; The Junction)

# “Fly-posting is illegal and can be prosecuted through the Magistrates Courts.” (Source: Flyposting Strategy; Cambridge City Council)


The council do run a poster and leaflet distribution service that goes to 40+ leaflet holders around the city at lots of different venues and prominent poster boards. See here for details:

Green Room / Dressing Room

We have a single green room available for bands to share that has sofas, tables, theatres style mirrors, fridge and tea/coffee facilities.

The room does not have shower facilities and is of course no smoking.


The Portland does not have it’s own car park.

Load-in for performers is via the driveway and rear courtyard *NOT THROUGH THE PUB!* Vehicles can park on the driveway or at the front of the pub to unload but must be moved straight after.

Pay and display parking is available on the street opposite, usually free after 5pm or at the Boathouse pub pay and display or on adjacent side streets.

Alternatively some private spaces are available to hire locally by booking at the JustPark website. Use discount code PORTLAND20 to get 20% off your booking.

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