Music Cities – QLD

On 1 July 2006, Brisbane City Council created Australia’s first designated Special Entertainment Precinct in Fortitude Valley (the Valley).

City of Brisbane – Live Program, Fortitude Valley Entertainment Precinct

The precinct was created to ensure the long-term future of the music-based entertainment industry in the Valley without exposing residents or businesses to unreasonable levels of amplified music noise.

In recent years a great deal of work has been undertaken by the City of Gold Coast to better support the development of the live music industry in South East Queensland.Back in 2015 the City engaged Griffith University’s Centre for Cultural Research to undertake research and identify gaps in the provision of live music on the Gold Coast to provide evidence based advice on how these gaps can best be addressed. Griffith University undertook a series of music sector forums, focus groups and one on one interviews. Their ‘Accessing Live Music on the Gold Coast’ report has informed the development of the Draft Live Music Action Plan 2017-2020

From this work in November 2016 The City of Gold Coast Live Music Taskforce was formed  to address key regulatory issues affecting the live music sector on the Gold Coast. As part of the process, the Live Music Office has been working closely with Council and the music sector throughout 2017 to support this work, with the Taskforce Report delivered to the Council Economic Development and Major Projects Committee Meeting in June

Download the Live Music Taskforce report and recommendations (PDF 1mb).

Recommendations include but are not limited to:
  • New planning overlays across nine precincts
  • Allowing live music into some light industrial areas
  • Supporting the development of local musicians
  • Cutting red tape for live music venues
  • Extending noise allowances until midnight in some areas
  • Increasing allowable music volumes in prescribed areas

Recommendations included in this report have now been considered for inclusion in the final Gold Coast Music Action Plan 2020.

In 2015 the Sunshine Coast also undertook an investigation into Special Entertainment Precincts


The following list identifies many of the other live music strategies happening across Australia in alphabetical order:


Inner West Council -Leichhardt and Marrickville Off Broadway live music reference group

Marrickville Music (Inner West Council)

City of Sydney Live Music and Performance Strategy

Destination Tamworth / Tamworth Visitor Information Centre

Wollongong City Council Live Music Action Plan

Create NSW / Live Music Office Live and Local Strategic Initiative ( 18 Councils)

South Australia

Adelaide City Council Live Music Action Plan 2017/2020

City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters Live Music Policy


The City of Ballarat Live Music Strategic Plan

Central Geelong Live Music Action Plan (LiveMAP)

Melbourne Music Strategy 2018/21

City of Port Phillip Live Music

City of Yarra Live Music Venues Grant


There are various methods that have been used depending on whether its a state or local government initiative for industry development for example, or if the purpose is to coordinate agencies for better regulation and state strategic planning.

Advisory Groups

Convening a local industry advisory group will assist in connecting with the music sector for successful event planning or development of a live music industry support strategy.

An advisory group can be as simple as calling a meeting of local venues and artists.

This could be a larger open access forum or more targeted to representatives across specific areas of the sector who can provide constructive support, as well as for consultation identifying specific issues for cultural strategy and regulatory policy enhancement.

These should comprise core members that collectively, represent the interests of;

  • Artists
  • Venues
  • Music Industry Businesses
  • Local Government
  • Community Radio
  • Education and training

The advisory group can identify issues to target, provide guidance around grants and events, as well as assist in the preparation of cultural plans and actions for council.

Sector Mapping

To better understand just how the local music scene is going, doing a simple live music census is a great way to get to know where the gigs and events are happening. This process has recently been done at the local level in the City of Adelaide, City of Gold Coast, City of Melbourne and the City of Wollongong for example.

A simple census would involve choosing a month in the short term to map out performing artists, venues and events by monitoring gig guides, social media, venue websites, and generally do the rounds through the month to develop a spreadsheet that shows all the gigs, venues and artists in the local government area.

A live music census is simple to do, can provide a great deal from a relatively uncomplicated process, and is a very valuable and worthwhile undertaking.  The Live Music Office can provide a template and support if this mapping exercise is of interest.

Live Music Strategies and Action Plans

To make changes to funding programs, local planning controls, and council policy, a more formal advisory group/taskforce with terms of reference to provide actions for the consideration of council may needed.

The objective of the Live Music Taskforce is to consider current issues affecting the provision of live music in XYZ and then use these findings to inform the development of a Live Music Action Plan that identifies short, medium and long-term remedial actions XYZ might take.

The Action Plan and its recommendations will be considered by the City of XYZ for adoption and implementation

It will do this by:

  1. a) Highlighting current policies or controls within the remit of the City XYZ that, in its opinion, require review or amendment
  2. b) Identifying legislative changes or regulatory reform that could be explored with state government to support live music in City of XYZ
  3. c) Advising the City on existing government programs and initiatives (both domestic and international) that have a demonstrable track record in successfully supporting live music
  4. d) Suggesting cost-effective new projects that would positively impact the live music and performance sector in the City of XYZ
  5. e) Develop dedicated live music event initiatives