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Local Government Toolkit

Why a Live Music Toolkit

There is a growing understanding in Victoria as to how valuable the creative sector and specifically live music can be to Local Government; strengthening economies, creating more liveable communities and improving social outcomes. Councils are uniquely placed to support the live music industry, and extensive research has provided excellent examples of where collaborative planning, existing resources and levers, have delivered positive and sustainable social, economic and cultural outcomes for communities.

What is in the Toolkit

The Toolkit provides key material to help local communities understand the value of live music, as well as practical information, case studies and tools that facilitate or deliver strategies in support of their local live music industry.

In the Live Music Toolkit you will find:

What is Live Music

Live music is a catch-all term for a wide range of musical experiences which could include:

  • An intimate gig performed by a local musician

  • A major event with a well-known headline act in the midst of a national tour

  • A week-long festival with many artists on the bill

  • A classical recital with tertiary trained musicians

  • Music performed by a local community brass band

  • Street buskers

  • Live to air radio broadcast featuring an in-studio performance

  • Music in community spaces such as a hospital, aged care facility or kindergarten

These activities are all very different, but what joins them all is the live experience shared by musicians and audiences. 1

How Local Government Can Support

There are many ways local government can support and strengthen live music. The support could be small or large, direct or indirect, and could come from many different parts of the organisation such as community services, economic development, arts and culture, strategic and statutory planning, traffic and parking, marketing and communications. Some ways local government can support and strengthen live music include:

  • Programming or facilitating concerts, festivals and events that feature live music.

  • Providing access to youth, disadvantaged or isolated members of the community.

  • Supporting regular busking in public places.

  • Offering grants for live music initiatives.

  • Developing information touchpoints for live music venue operators, developers and residents about the impact of proposed developments.

  • Establishing and supporting networking opportunities for the local music industry.

  • Developing and making available a database of local musicians and venues.

  • Providing marketing and communications support for local venues and activities.

  • Encouraging musicians to participate in activities with local businesses

  • Centralising information about permits or permissions required to host an event.

  • Providing loading zone space outside live music venues to allow musicians to easily unpack their equipment.

  • Strengthening geographic areas or precincts that are known for live music.

  • Developing a Live Music Action Plan or Arts & Culture Strategy that includes live music.

  • Developing an Economic Development or Night Time Economy Strategy that identifies and encourages live music.

Understanding the Value

Over the past two decades there has been an increasing understanding of the economic, cultural and social value of the arts, and in particular live music in Victoria and Australia. Since 2011 a number of studies examining the impact of the live music industry have been completed. These studies, along with strategies such as Creative State (The Victorian State Government creative industries strategy) and the National Arts Participation Survey, confirm that the cultural, social and economic value of the arts and particularly live music are interdependent.

Some key evidence that will assist Victorian councils to understand the economic, cultural and social value of live music is outlined below, with more detailed information available HERE.

Economic Value

The 2014 University of Tasmania Study, The Economic and Cultural Value of Live Music in Australia, provides the most comprehensive assessment of the value of live music in Australia and identifies that live music is a source of regional competitive advantage . The study found:


Regional Competitive Advantage

In addition to direct economic outcomes, the 2014 University of Tasmania Study also identifies that live music is a source of regional competitive advantage, with large proportions of people who attend live music events travelling inter and intra-state to attend live music. This is supported by research completed by Tourism Research Australia in 2014 EVENTS: DRIVERS OF REGIONAL TOURISM which found events are important drivers of regional tourism, with almost one-quarter of Australians having attended at least one event in a regional area in the last two years. In addition, more recent research commissioned by the Victorian Government about festivals in Victoria (Victoria’s Creative Industry Festival Review) found an estimated 35% of festival attendees travel from other parts of Victoria and beyond to attend festivals in Victoria. Further, domestic overnight trips to Melbourne for festivals grew by 18% between 2010 and 2015 and by 8% in regional areas.

Other key findings of the Tourism Research Australia report are:


People attended an average of 2.7 events in the past 2 years with the most popular events being food and wine, followed closely by music related , garden and botanical, sport (as a spectator), and art exhibitions.


Three-quarters of event attendees would not have gone to the destination if not for the event, 58% of attendees were likely to attend other similar events, and most intend to return to the destination in the future.

Intra State:

People are more likely to travel to events within their own State, and more often within two hours’ drive from home (58%) than over two hours’ drive from home (42%).

Longer Stays:

On average, those who made overnight trips stayed just over five nights away from home and three nights in the region where the event was held. Length of stay was longer for those on interstate trips.

Who Attends:

Music event, festivals or concerts are more likely to attract females, attract 15 – 34 year olds, be intrastate overnight trips, and be attended with friends.

Social and Cultural Value

There is a broad evidenced based understanding that participation in and exposure to arts and cultural opportunities helps to strengthen community health and wellbeing, supports social cohesion, and improves perceptions of safety and neighbourhood pride. More information about the social and cultural value of arts and culture, and live music can be found HERE

If you’re happy and you know it: Music engagement and subjective wellbeing, 2016

Weinberg and Joseph (Deakin University)

  • People engaging with music by dancing or attending musical events experience higher wellbeing than those who do not engage with music in these forms, and people who sang or danced in the company of others generally experienced higher levels of wellbeing than those who engaged with music alone.

The Economic, Social and Cultural Contribution of Venue-Based Live Music in Victoria, 2011

Ernst and Young

  • Live music in venues makes an especially strong social contribution in providing an opportunity for performers and patrons to develop their social networks, particularly for young people.

  • Individuals highly value the social benefits derived from attendance at live music performances.

  • Attending live music performances fosters social engagement and connectedness, leading to enhanced community wellbeing.

Creative State Global City: Creative Industries Taskforce Report, 2015

Victorian State Government

  • There are substantial ‘spill over’ benefits from thriving cultural and creative industries through increased liveability and social capital. Cultural and creative activity boosts liveability, adding to a location’s attractiveness for tourism and immigration. For example, in 2013 cultural tourism generated $1 billion for Victoria.

  • The cultural and creative industries play a significant role in the delivery of social benefits. For example, there are cultural and creative programs that complement core government services to address social and community issues in areas such as education, justice, science, disability, community development and health.

Economic and Social Value of the Arts and Creative Sector in the City of Maribyrnong, 2017


  • The social benefits of the arts and creative sector are extensive and extend beyond the direct effects of participation in events or activities by visitors and residents and the physical improvements from the creative industries repurposing aging building stock. They include:

    • Affirmation of individual and community identity

    • A means to improve social inclusions and mental wellbeing, particularly for those at risk of isolation such as the elderly, asylum seekers and refugees

    • Improved perceptions of safety and neighbourhood pride and revitalisation

    • Reduced antisocial behaviour and crime.

The Value of Arts and Culture to People and Society: An Evidenced Review 2014

Arts Council of England

  • In 2011, 10 million inbound visits to the UK involved engagement with arts and culture, representing 32% of all visits to the UK and 42% of all inbound tourism-related expenditure.

  • There are five key ways that arts and culture can boost local economies: attracting visitors; creating jobs and developing skills; attracting and retaining businesses revitalising places; and developing talent.

  • Those who had attended a cultural place or event in the previous 12 months were almost 60% more likely to report good health compared to those who had not, and a higher frequency of engagement with arts and culture is generally associated with a higher level of subjective wellbeing.

  • Engagement in structured arts and culture improves the cognitive abilities of children and young people

  • High-school students who engage in the arts at school are twice as likely to volunteer than those who don’t engage in the arts and are 20% more likely to vote as young adults

  • The employability of students who study arts subjects is higher and they are more likely to stay in employment.

National Arts Participation Survey (2016)


Policy Drivers

When local government is thinking about becoming involved in supporting live music, it is important to understand how this may assist a council to achieve existing priorities it may have for its local community and economy. It is also helpful to consider how supporting live music locally relates to State Government policies, as there may be opportunities to seek funding or work in partnership with State agencies to achieve a common goal.

For Local Government

The Council Plan is THE key policy driver for supporting live music, but you may also find relevant priorities embedded in Municipal Health and Wellbeing Plans, Arts and Cultural Strategies, Community Services Plans, Economic Development Strategies and Night-time Economy Plans.

Examination of Victorian Council Plans that actively support live music, reveal common themes and priority areas consistent with Creative State (Victoria’s creative industries strategy) including:

Improving Community Health and Wellbeing Improving Liveability and Quality of Life
Strengthening Social Inclusion, Access, Community Connectedness and Community Safety Valuing and Celebrating Diversity
Building, Strengthening and Diversifying Local Economies including Visitor Economies Building, Strengthening and Harnessing Creativity including Creative Businesses, the Creative Economy and Creative Sector.

For the Victorian State Government

Creative State (Victoria’s creative industries strategy adopted in 2016) is the primary state government policy for supporting live music. The Strategy puts creative industries at the forefront of Victoria’s future growth and prosperity and recognises Victoria already has major strengths across the creative industries. In 2013 creative industries were estimated to make up 8% of the Victorian economy, contributing almost $23 billion and 220,000 jobs.

Five major focus areas of Creative State are:

Backing Creative Talent: Creating more opportunities to produce and present great work.
Strengthening the Creative Industries Ecosystem: Building capability and conditions for growth.
Delivering Wider Economic and Social Impact: Stimulating innovation and wider creative impact.
Increasing Participation and Access Engaging more Victorians in cultural and creative endeavour.
Building International Engagement Extending Victoria’s impact and profile for global audiences, visitors and markets.

Each of these focus areas have been selected to strengthen the creative industries and to deliver economic, cultural and social outcomes for Victoria.

Developing a Specific Strategy or Plan

Several councils across Victoria have developed Live Music Action Plans or Music Strategies to demonstrate why they support live music, and set clear priorities and direction for council’s involvement in this space. While this approach is not for all councils, you may like to think about the following when planning for the sector.

Things to Consider

  • Do you need a Live Music Action Plan and what will its relationship be to existing plans, especially the Council Plan and Municipal Health and Wellbeing Plan? Other plans you might consider are economic development strategies or arts and cultural plans.

  • Is there political, industry and community support to develop the plan?

  • What resources are available to help council to develop the plan?

  • Who is your audience?

  • Are you clear about the objectives and outcomes your council is hoping to deliver by developing a plan?

  • Who to consult with, how to do this effectively, and what you need to / want to find out.

  • What the lifespan of the plan will be eg: 3 years, 5 years or 10 years?

Things to Include

  • Why is council developing a plan

  • Alignment with existing council plans or strategic priorities.

  • Definition of live music.

  • Role, scope and value (social, cultural and economic) of live music to your community, and how live music can help support broader social, cultural and economic outcomes from your community.

  • Clear and simply defined plans, strategies and goals.

  • Challenges and opportunities for live music.

  • Goals and objectives for live music.

  • Action Plan / Implementation Plan including resourcing implications.

  • Risk Assessment - MAV's Liability Mutual Insurance (LMI) scheme delivers a reliable public liability and professional indemnity insurance product to the local government sector, with a focus on working with its members to reduce their risks.

Examples of Live Music Action Plans or Strategies

Funding or Resourcing

Local governments are required to respond to many competing demands and providing resources for new initiatives can be challenging. There are many ways to access funding or resources to support live music that do not require Council to find new funds or resources from within their own budgets.

Key ways include:

Using Existing Council Resources or Levers

  • If your council has a community grants or arts and cultural grants program, you could specifically seek applications for initiatives that focus on or incorporate live music.

  • If your council delivers community events, you could incorporate live music or increase the amount of live music offered through the events.

  • Existing council budgets for arts and cultural programs, economic development initiatives, or community development programs, could be used to increase the amount of live music opportunities in your community.

  • Providing in-kind (free) or low-cost use of council owned venues for rehearsals or concerts increases access to live music for both audiences and musicians. If rehearsal studios seem too technically challenging for council officers, perhaps consider using GRID an organisation that can facilitate use of council owned studios.

Through a Grant Program

Grant programs are constantly changing however, there are several organisations and agencies offering regular grant programs targeting the arts and cultural sector and the live music industry. These are:

Other agencies that may also have funding programs to support live music include Vic Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Small Business Victoria and Visit Victoria.

Private funding opportunities also arise on occasion. For example, American Express are offering a $1 million grant program for music venues, business, artists and fans until mid-2019. The best way to keep up to date about new funding opportunities is through Creative Victoria

Partnering with Other Organisations, Agencies or Individuals

Will your efforts be strengthened by working with others such as:
  • Working with local trader groups or precinct associations to incorporate live music as part of events or activities they conduct.

  • Encouraging or supporting individual traders to host live music in their restaurants, cafes or shops.

  • The Push (a state-wide youth music organisation) to develop a program or event for young people.

  • Local schools or community organisations to incorporate live music as part of their local fair or fete.

  • Partnering with Musicians Making a Difference ( MMAD )

Attracting or Hosting Events in Your Community

There are many events and festivals that operate successfully across a region or include satellite locations or multiple sites. To get involved in one of these opportunities your council could:
  • Apply to include an activity or a series of initiatives as part of the larger event. For example the Midsumma Festival and Melbourne International Food and Wine Festival invite applications to include activities or initiatives as part of their broader program.

  • Provide incentives for a festival or event operator to hold their event or festival in your area. For example, Groovin the Moo looks for regional locations across Australia that can support large scale music festivals. Locations in 2018 included Bendigo, Maitland (NSW) and Bunbury (QLD).

  • Work with Visit Victoria.

Local Artists Adding Value to Promotional Campaigns

To enhance your local council's brand, live and local musicians can be commissioned to provide a soundtrack to a promotions campaign - or just use one of their hit songs:

Regulation and Planning

This section provides information about:

  • What planning approvals, permits or licences are required to conduct a live music event activity

  • What noise regulations must be adhered to when conducting a live music event or activity

  • The Agent of Change planning controls to manage noise between live music venues and residential areas

  • Resources to assist in managing the impacts of live music.

Permits, Licences and Noise Control

If council is thinking about supporting or delivering a live music activity, you will need to consider whether the activity or hosting venue requires any planning approvals or if regulations must be met.

This could include:

Planning Permit

A Planning Permit may be required where:

  • A live music event is to be held, particularly if it is occurring on private land

  • Live music is to be provided in a new venue or the amount of live music provided in an existing venue is to be expanded

  • A liquor licence will be sought as part of the live music activity.

The best way to understand if there will be any requirement for a new planning permit or changes to an existing planning permit is to talk with the Statutory Planning Team from your council. You may also be able to access information online that provides some guidance, for example:

  • Surf Coast Shire provides a number of checklists online including one about events and functions

  • The City of Yarra provides a guide outlining the information that must be provided to council when applying for a planning permit to use a venue for the sale or consumption of liquor.

Liquor Licence

The Victorian Commission for Gaming and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) is responsible for issuing and regulating liquor licences. A liquor licence is generally required when alcohol will be sold or can be brought to a music event, activity or premises. You can find out HERE more about whether you need a liquor licence.

There are many different types of liquor licences and you can find out about some of the relevant ones by following the links below:

Local Permits or Licences

Permission or a permit may be required to hold a live music event or activity in a public place. For example:

  • A permit may be required to close a local road.

  • Permission may be required to hold an event in a public park.

  • A licence may be required for busking in a public place such as a local shopping precinct. Information about the requirements the City of Melbourne has for buskers is provided HERE .

Licensing with APRA AMCOS and PPCA The Australasian Performing Right Association Limited (APRA) and allied organisation Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society Limited (AMCOS) have united with the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) to create OneMusic Australia , a simplified process for public performance music licencing. These organisations have formulated a blanket licence fee structure for local government.
Control of music noise from public premises

Noise regulation is generally the responsibility of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) .

  • When holding an activity or event (indoors or outdoors) where live music will be played, you must meet the requirements of the State Environment Protection Policy Number 2 (SEPP N-2) . This policy aims to protect residents from unreasonable interference from music from venues such as pubs, nightclubs, restaurants, public halls, gymnasiums, and outdoor entertainment venues, while recognising the community demand for a wide range of music entertainment.

  • SEPP N-2 is currently being reviewed and it remains unclear if any changes will be made to the policy. For more information about the review and any changes that may occur follow the link HERE

  • Under the current policy , generally no operating licence or general approval is needed from the EPA for music venues, however the noise emitted from music entertainment venues must comply with the requirements of SEPP N-2 AT ALL TIMES .

  • EPA approval for certain outdoor events is also required. To find out more about this follow the link HERE .

Managing Noise Between Live Music Venues and Residential Areas

Agent of Change:

Settlement trends, particularly in inner urban areas, are increasing the level of residential development in mixed use environments. While this creates more efficient and vibrant communities, close proximity between residential and entertainment uses can sometimes cause conflict about noise emissions.

In 2014 the Victorian State Government introduced the agent of change principle into planning law, to manage the relationship between live music venues and residential use.

Under Clause 52.43 of the Victorian Planning Scheme, responsibility for noise attenuation measures is the responsibility of the agent of change - a new use or development introduced into an existing environment. For example:

  • If a new residential development is proposed within close proximity of an existing live music venue, the developer is considered to be the agent of change and therefore responsible for noise attenuation of its building to protect future residents from the live music venue.

  • If a new live music venue seeks to establish or an existing venue seeks to expand, the venue is considered to be the agent of change, and therefore is responsible for attenuating any noise effects caused by that change on nearby residential properties. 2

Information and resources about Agent of Change can be found on the Music Victoria website

Resources for Managing Noise Impacts
  • Music Victoria provides Noise News a reference page on their website for all stories relating to sound within live music venues.

  • The Living with Live Music Guide has been developed by the City of Port Phillip to assist residents, operators and developers of land in close proximity to a live music venue. This guide suggests ways to manage noise issues if they arise.


Making Live Music Accessible for Your Community

Live music can be a way to deliver community development outcomes for different parts of the community. The way council brands a live music activity, the opportunities council offers to build artist capacity, and the tools used to increase access, will impact upon community engagement with live music.

Ways to increase access to live music for your community include:

Holding All Ages Gigs

An All Ages Gig is an event where anyone of any age can attend the event or activity. Often all ages gigs are raised in relation to venues which have a liquor licence.

To find out more about conducting an all ages gig and how to manage having minors on a licensed premises follow the link HERE

Live Music Activities Targeting Specific Audiences

There are lots of different ways councils can deliver or support live music activities for different audiences either directly or in partnership. For example:

  • FReeZA, a youth development program providing opportunities for young people aged 12 – 25 years to enjoy live band gigs, dance parties and other cultural events that are drug, alcohol and smoke free in supervised and safe venues. Young people can attend these gigs and have the opportunity to be part of a FReeZa committee to help develop and deliver events.
  • Click City of Stonnington and Drummond Street Services for examples of FReeza Programs.
  • PBS Radio Station Rock-A-Bye Baby Music Sessions for families supported by the City of Yarra.
  • Decibels Records is a Darebin City Council initiative, a youth-led program for people aged 12-25 who are interested in pursuing a career within the music industry.

Involving Volunteers

Volunteers may be engaged to assist in developing, conducting or attending an event.

For example:

  • The Port Fairy Folk Festival has been running for over 40 years through the hard work and dedication of many volunteers.
  • Bandmates Victoria is a program supported by the City of Maribyrnong that matches volunteers with people over 18 with a disability or mental health issues, to go out to live music.

Offering or Facilitating Free Live Music

Live music occurring in free venues is a key way of making it easy for your community to engage. This could include:

  • Holding free access events in parks and open space
  • Encouraging or supporting regular busking in local shopping areas
  • Offering free access to performance venues that can host live music
  • Providing a grant to live music venues so they do not need to have a door charge

Keep Ticket Prices Affordable or Offer Discounts to Locals

A key factor that can make it difficult for community members to access live music, is the cost of purchasing tickets. By keeping ticket prices at a reasonable level, offering discounts or even free tickets, you can help to make live music accessible for everyone particularly those on low incomes or from disadvantaged circumstances. Sponsors can be sought locally to pay for performances in return for exclusive promotional opportunities. The Laneway Festival leverages in-kind and cash support from a mix of industry and commercial businesses to share production costs.

Ensuring a Safe & Inclusive Environment

Ensure live music is available to everyone by communicating inclusive and safe practices where live music is presenting.

The Victorian State Government has funded a pilot training and education program to stamp out sexual harassment in licensed venues. See more information about the pilot program HERE

Arts Access Australia (AAA) is the national peak body for arts and disability with a Victorian chapter that is committed to full and equal opportunity for cultural participation and contribution by all Australians. AAA can support councils in the development of inclusive plans and strategies as they provide three main services:

  • Information and Advice
  • Research and Advocacy
  • Leadership and Development.

Supporting Initiatives that Encourage Gender Equity

Supporting and advancing gender equality is an important tool in preventing violence against women, and live music initiatives can play a role in encouraging gender equity. The City of Maribyrnong award winning hip hop program Raw Elements was developed to reduce racism and the negative effects it has on individuals and the broader community as part of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Racism It Stops With Me campaign.

Supporting Local Musicians

By supporting local musicians, the capacity of the local music industry will be increased.

Support could include:

  • Providing access to grant funding that includes a public performance outcome
  • Employing local musicians to perform at events or activities
  • Developing a database of local musicians and making this available online
  • Encouraging local venues to provide performance opportunities for local musicians
  • Providing subsidised or free access to venues for local musicians to rehearse or perform
  • Providing recording studio facilities
  • Paying musicians appropriately when they are engaged by council to perform and ensuring grant recipients pay musicians appropriately. You can find out more about how to pay musicians appropriately HERE


Attracting Visitors to Your Community

Live music can be a key tool for attracting visitors to your community and helping to build your local economy. There are some great examples of local councils delivering and supporting live music to encourage visitation.

Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues

The Rural City of Wangaratta is a major partner and has a representative on the Board of the not for profit organisation that was established to develop and deliver the festival. The Victorian State Government is also a major partner through Creative Victoria and Visit Victoria.

The Festival was conceived in 1989 as a way to attract visitors and raise the profile of the town. The first festival was staged in 1990 and attracted around 2500 people. Since then it has grown to become an internationally renowned event, attracting around 25,000 visitors, and more than 200 jazz and blues artists from the USA, the UK, Europe and Australia.

St Kilda Festival

Delivered by the City of Port Phillip, the St Kilda Festival occurs the second Sunday in February each year. The festival focuses upon showcasing Australian artists and involves multiple stages across multiple sites around the St Kilda Foreshore and streets.

The event attracts over 400,000 people.

Rainbow Serpent Festival

Pyrenees Shire is a major partner of the event.

Held in January each year in Lexton in western Victoria, the Rainbow Serpent Festival is described as one of the best music, art and lifestyle festivals in the world.

The festival attracts over 10,000 people each year.

Queenscliff Music Festival

The Borough of Queenscliff is a major partner of this music event, as is the Victorian State Government. The event is run by a not for profit organisation established specifically to develop and deliver the festival.

The festival commenced in 1997 following a series of public forums that established community support for Queenscliff to host a great music festival. The last weekend in November was chosen with the purpose of converting a lull in the tourist season into a peak time for the local tourism industry. The festival focuses upon delivering and developing excellence in Australian contemporary music and celebrating community.

It is nominated in the Borough of Queenscliff’s strategic documents as being a vital plank in the Borough’s economic development.

Brunswick Music Festival

Delivered by the City of Moreland, the Brunswick Music Festival occurs for two weeks each March. Its program includes ticketed concerts, free large-scale events and a professional development series.

Lowlight Festival

The Borough of Queenscliff is a major partner of this event, as is the Victorian State Government.

The Festival was held for the first time in June/ July 2018 and focuses upon bringing international and local arts and cultural offerings to life in Queenscliff during what is traditionally considered to be the low season for this township and the region. Live music performances form a key part of the program with many performances taking place in local restaurants and cafes.

Statement from the Producer Bonnie Dalton: Working with Queenscliff Music Festival, we used music as a key drawcard in both live music offerings and to enhance the programming of some large scale outdoor projections by commissioning an original soundtrack by Icelandic favourites, Sigur Ros. The music was coupled with food offerings via local businesses and then fine arts, film, literary and other offerings were programmed. All of the programming was balanced between the artistic vision of the festival and the need to create a ‘brand’ for Queenscliff in winter, but also to connect with local organisations/groups/businesses whose reach could assist us to engage people in a new way, when it came to thinking about Queenscliff in winter.

Case Studies of Local Government Support

Example Who What
Delivering or facilitating concerts, festivals and events that feature or are centred around live music. City of Stonnington

Stonnintgon Jazz

Conducted annually in May, Stonnington Jazz is an established music festival showcasing Australian jazz artists. Events occur in multiple venues across a 10-day period, attracting high levels of visitation from outside the City of Stonnington. The program includes free events targeted towards the local community.

City of Darebin

Darebin Music Feast

Conducted annually in October, Darebin Music Feast focuses upon showcasing and celebrating the music community in the City of Darebin. The festival occurs across a 10-day period in multiple locations, and incorporates participation opportunities for the local community, family friendly events, showcases the live music scene in Darebin, and has several large-scale feature events.

City of Port Phillip

St Kilda Festival

Conducted the second Sunday in February each year, St Kilda Festival is a large scale established music event featuring Australian musicians that attracts over 400,000 attendances each year. The festival occurs in the streets of St Kilda across multiple stages.

City of Moreland

Brunswick Music Festival

Conducted annually in March, Brunswick Music Festival is an established music festival that has been operating for 30 years. It showcases both local and international artists, is held across a 10-day period, and festival events occur in multiple venues. The program includes a mix of free and ticketed events.

City of Melbourne

Melbourne Music Week

Conducted annually in October Melbourne Music Week provides a platform for musicians, creators and thinkers.

Offering grants for live music initiatives and events eg:

  • Subsidise entry costs to a live music venue.

  • Partner with venues to present locally produced music.

  • Offer grants for programs that include live music

City of Yarra

Room to Create Responsive Grants

Quick response grants designed to help creative spaces and live music venues stay in the City of Yarra. The program supports infrastructure works, acoustic treatment and consultant fees etc.

City of Stonnington

Arts and Cultural Grants

Available to organisations, individuals and community groups to present high quality arts based projects including live music initiatives.

City of Greater Geelong

Community Investment and Support Fund – Creative Communities Grant

Available to groups and organisations to undertake projects that benefit the local community. It includes a stream for festivals and community arts initiatives.

Developing resources to provide information for live music venue operators, developers and residents about managing proximity between residential areas and live music venues. City of Port Phillip

Living with Live Music Guide

General guide for residents, operators and developers of land in proximity to a live music venue.

City of Melbourne

Music Venue Guidelines

Provides guidance and advice for operators of music venues about the regulatory requirements of operating a music venue.

Music Victoria

Music Venues Resources

A range of resources about supporting live music and managing noise impact issues from live music.

Developing / hosting websites to showcase and share information about local arts and cultural activity and artists, including live music. City of Darebin

Darebin Arts web page

Outlines all arts events, programs and festivals presented by the City of Darebin.

City of Yarra

Yarra City Arts web page

Provides information about upcoming events or activities, how to book a venue, opportunities available and resources about how to plan an event.

City of Maroondah

Arts in Maroondah

Provides information about live music and other art forms for the whole community.

Establishing and supporting networks for the local music industry. Mornington Peninsula Shire Council

Mornington Peninsula Music Network

Established a music network in 2010 and in 2012 the Network became incorporated.

Providing marketing and communications support for local live music venues and artists Darebin Music Feast

Any live music event or gig occurring at the same time as Darebin Music Feast. Boasting 120 events across 26 venues, many privately owned eg: Northcote Social Club and Salvation Army Thornbury.

Developing Live Music Action Plans or Strategies. City of Ballarat

Ballarat Live Music Action Plan

Developed in 2016, an annual assessment is undertaken of the outcomes from the Action Plan.

City of Greater Geelong

Live Music Action Plan Central Geelong

This is a newly developed strategy and actions are in the early stages of being implemented.

City of Melbourne Melbourne Music Plan

This is the second music strategy the City of Melbourne has developed.

Developing Economic Development or Night Time Economy Strategies that consider the significance of live music and live music venues to the local economy. City of Yarra Yarra Night Time Economy Strategy
City of Sydney Open Sydney: Night Time Economy Strategy
Sound Diplomacy

A Guide to Managing Your Night Time Economy

Developed by Sound Diplomacy the guide has been developed for those interested in developing and expanding the benefits that the evening and night time economy have created around the globe.

Allows or supports busking in key public places. City of Melbourne How to obtain a busking permit
Live music is incorporated into an existing event or festival (eg: a farmers market) OR the amount of live music offered through an event or festival has increased. Mount Alexander Shire Council

Castlemaine Farmers Market

Held on the first Sunday of each month, Castlemaine Farmers Market was established in 2005. It is located in the centre of town and aims to provide a way for local producers to sell their produce directly to the local community and visitors. In 2010 Mount Alexander Shire Council became more actively involved in supporting the market, recognising its value (along with a local artist market) in attracting visitors to the township and region. One area of support provided was to fund local musicians to perform at the market. This occurred for a period of 12 months and was extended for a further 12 months, with the market then able to pay for the ongoing involvement of local musicians.

Macedon Ranges Shire Council

Woodend Winter Arts Festival

Held annually on the Queens Birthday long weekend. This festival showcases classical music, literary and visual arts. It develops international collaborations and presents them in local historical settings.

Worked with a local trader group or precinct association to incorporate live music as part of events or activities they conduct. Bass Coast Council

Wonthaggi Laneways Festival – Inside Out

Council provided a 3-year seeding grant to the Wonthaggi Business and Tourism Association to develop and deliver this festival. Held on the first week of the school holidays in the centre of Wonthaggi, local performers and artists are showcased along with local art and food. The festival encourages businesses to trade late and from their back doors to increase opportunity for business.

Encouraged or supported individual traders to host live music in their restaurants, cafes or shops. City of Maribyrnong

Yarraville Festival

This festival has been operating since 1981 and for many years was managed by the community. In recent years local artists, restaurants and community groups have come together to grow the festival attracting audiences of over 25,000.

Partnered with The Push to develop a program or event for young people. City of Port Phillip

St Kilda Festival

The Push host a dedicated stage at the annual St Kilda Festival, programmed and run by youth on the day

City of Melbourne

Melbourne Music Week

Organised in collaboration with The Push’s New Slang youth events team, 2017 Melbourne Music Week event supported by City of Melbourne featured live performances for anyone who wanted to listen

Included an activity or initiatives as part of the larger event. For example, the Midsumma Festival, White Night etc. Cities of Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong

White Night

Extended a capital city event to the regions.

Has conducted an all ages music gig. City of Port Phillip

Live N Local

The festival partners with Freeza each year to present an all ages concert. In 2018 this featured Woodes, Eilish Gilligan and Poppy Rose at the Memo Music Hall in St Kilda.

Conducted or supported a music event or activity for specific demographics eg: Older Adults or Families. Nillumbik Shire Council

Nillumbik 2018 Seniors Festival Program

Council works with the State’s Victorian Seniors Festival that runs during October every year, aiming to promote inclusive communities and providing an opportunity for older people to try new things, contribute, and remain active and engaged in their local community. Nillumbik works to create thousands of low cost or free events and special offers locally.

City of Yarra

Rock-A-Bye Baby Music Sessions

Delivered by PBS radio station, Rock-A-Bye Baby Music Sessions provide a way for families to share the experience of live music in a safe and clean environment. The program is for adults and kids alike and is designed to bring together music and audiences from different genres and cultures alike, helping to build the next generation of music lovers in Melbourne. PBS works with a range of different partners to deliver the program including the City of Yarra which has supported the program through providing community grant funding and through incorporating Rock-A-Bye Baby as part of the Leaps and Bounds Music Festival.

Employs local musicians to perform at events or activities occurring in their community City of Port Phillip

Live N Local

This Festival is centred around supporting local talent. At least one member of the band/act must either live, work or study within the City of Port Phillip to participate in Live N Local.

Ensuring a safe environment for artists and audiences alike. Victorian State Government

Sexual Harassment and Assault in Licensed Live Music Venues Pilot Program

Comprising government agencies, Victoria Police, academics, licensed venues and the live music industry.

Providing recording studio facilities. Banyule City Council

Jets Recording Studio

Jets recording Studio has been a key part of Youth Services for the City of Banyule for over 20 years. It operates as a professional recording studio and delivers programs for young people building providing support to build their skill as artists.

City of Darebin

Decibels Recording Studio

Located as part of the Reservoir Community and Learning Centre, Decibels provides low cost recording and rehearsal facilities, music programs and resources for young people aged 12 – 25 years who are looking to record, rehearse or extend their networking and knowledge of the contemporary music industry.

Supporting the development of geographic areas or precincts that are known for the live music experiences they offer. City of Greater Geelong

Little Malop Street, Geelong

Over several years Little Malop Street has developed a reputation as a food and entertainment precinct, with 3 live music venues and multitude of restaurants and cafes.

City of Maribyrnong

Festival City

Under the brand of Festival City, Maribyrnong Council is branding and promoting precincts and activities including live music.

Paying musicians appropriately when they are engaged by Council to perform. Music Victoria

Best Practice Guidelines for Live Music Venue

Chapter 14 provides information about best practice approaches to engaging artists.

Providing loading zones outside live music venues to allow musicians to unload their equipment close to the venue City of Port Phillip

Musician Loading Permit

Introduced in 2018 to allow musicians to park in loading zones outside live music venues while they load or unload equipment;

Resources and Guidelines

There is a wide range of existing resources and guidelines that can assist local councils to plan for and support live music events and activities. A list of resources and links to the material is provided below. The list is not intended to be exhaustive but provides an example of the information available and we invite submissions of relevant information.

Name What Who
Best Practice Guidelines for Live Music Venues

Originally developed in 2012 by representatives of the music industry and state government through the Live Music Round Table, the Best Practice Guidelines are regularly updated to reflect new issues and approaches to best practice.

The guidelines provide information for venue operators who are planning to host, or already host, live music at their venue.

Music Victoria Resources Music Victoria has a range of resources publicly available to support the live music industry including musician resources, venue resources, diversity resources, action plan resources, a guide to managing the night time economy, health resources, grants and funding, education and training. Music Victoria
Event Planning
Victorian Guidelines for Planning Safe Public Events Developed through the collaboration of multiple agencies to present best practice for event organisers and agencies involved in the planning of events within Victoria, the Guidelines are designed to present basic guides and safety measures that an event organiser is required to consider when planning an event. Victorian State Government
Event Planning Guide The event planning guide helps event managers and committee plan and manage events successfully and guides them through a series of steps to minimise risk and maximise the likelihood of a well-run event. City of Darebin
Music Victoria All Ages Gig Guide Developed in response to changes to the Victoria’s Liquor Control Reform Act in 2014 to allow live music venues to host all ages gigs. Music Victoria
Noise Attenuation and Acoustics
State Environmental Protection Policy SEPP N2 Legislation about the Control of Music Noise from Public Premises. Environmental Protection Authority
Good Music Neighbours Online resource including information about professional development and learning opportunities about noise attenuation and acoustics. Music Victoria
Noise News Online resource for all stories relating to sound within live music venues. Topics covered range from Agent of Change to Noise Management Plans to help venues with their sound questions or needs. Music Victoria
Living with Live Music General guide for residents, operators and developers of land in proximity to a live music venue. City of Port Phillip
Noise Management Planning Outline of noise level guidelines and how they relate to events. City of Greater Geelong
Noise Management Plan Template for Outdoor Fetes, Events or Festivals with Amplified Sound Prepared for the EPA in June 2017, this document provides the Noise Management Plan template for addressing environmental noise levels associated with outdoor music events. Marshall Day Acoustics
Music Venue Guidelines Provides guidance and advice for operators of music venues about the regulatory requirements of operating a music venue. City of Melbourne
Best Practice Guidelines for Live Music Venues Prepared in partnership with the Victorian Live Music Round Table, the Guidelines provide information for venue operators who are planning to host, or already host, live music at their venue. Topics covered by the guidelines include managing sound to maintain a positive relationship with neighbours, providing a safe environment for patrons, staff and musicians to enjoy the live music experience, and building constructive working relationships with musicians. Music Victoria
Liquor Licensing Control
Liquor licensing An online resource outlining requirements for obtaining and / or managing a new or existing liquor licence associated with a live music venue Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR):
Sexual Harassment The Victorian State Government has funded a pilot training and education program to stamp out sexual harassment in licensed venues. Victorian State Government
Music Works Major Funding Funding for individuals and groups / organisations for projects and programs that will bring and develop dynamism to Victoria’s contemporary music sector, increase employment and build cultural capital. Creative Victoria
Quick Response Grants Funding to enable contemporary music artists and organisations to take up significant career or business opportunities that arise at short notice and outside of the major bi-annual funding rounds. Individuals $1,000 - $5,000 and organisations $1,000 to $15,000. Creative Victoria
Good Music Neighbours Grant Funding for live music venues to access support to manage their sound attenuation needs. Up to $25,000 per venue in matched funding. Creative Victoria
Music Passport Grants Funding to support not for profit organisations to undertake international activities that increase economic opportunities for Victoria’s contemporary popular music sector. Up to $20,000 per application. Creative Victoria
Music Works Acoustic Assessment Grants

Funding to help live music owners be proactive about sound management. Up to $7,500 per venue. No matching funding required.

One off program

Creative Victoria
Music Grants Funding is provided under the following categories – awards and recognition, industry partners and career development. APRAAMCOS
Australia Council Grant Programs Offering grants that support a diverse range of artists, artistic practice, organisations and arts activity Australia Council for the Arts
American Express Music Backers Program A grant program valued at $1million open to music venues, business, artists and fans. The type of activities and initiatives that will be supported is wide ranging eg: mentoring, travel expenses, marketing, education support etc. The program will run until mid-2019 with monthly opportunities to make submissions. American Express
With One Voice Social Franchise Start Up Funding Seed funding of up to $10,000 for community organisations to start their own With One Voice choir program to build community wellbeing and prevent social isolation. Applications are generally open annually. Creativity Australia
Touring and Trade
Regional Music Provides information about the impacts of live music in regional Victoria and resources to support artists to pursue performance opportunities in regional Victoria including touring information, case studies and links to key resources. Music Victoria
Victorian Music Crawl An intrastate trade mission for delegations of Victoria’s leading artists, managers, booking agents and peak bodies visiting targeted regions around Victoria to explore opportunities for contemporary music touring and collaboration. The 3 rd Music Crawl Creative Victoria

  1. City of Greater Geelong (2017), Live Music Action Plan . Available online

  2. Victorian State Government (May 2016), Live Music and Entertainment Noise – Practice Note 81. Available online


The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) would like to acknowledge and thank the following people and organisations for their contribution to the Live Music Toolkit:

  • Creative Victoria
  • Music Victoria
  • MAV Live Music Working Group
  • National Live Music Office
  • Live Music Roundtable members
  • Victorian Councils
  • Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR)
  • Victoria Police
  • The Push
  • Tim North-East - The Corner Hotel
  • Jon Perring - The Tote Hotel
  • Helen Marcou - Co-founder SLAM (Save Live Music Australia), Co-owner Bakehouse Studios
  • Mecca Medialight
  • Music SA
The Live Music Toolkit has been developed by the Municipal Association of Victoria with funding from Creative Victoria’s Music Works program and authored by Michelle Read, Planning for Communities