City of Sydney Takes Action to Support Live Music

by Alex Masso, 10 December 2013

The City of Sydney has agreed to a number of important initiatives to support live music, based on the recommendations of the Live Music and Performance Taskforce Action Plan released in November.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said there had been strong support for the plan when it was discussed at Council’s Cultural Sub-Committee and proposed that a number of projects commence immediately. “These include the lack of rehearsal and appropriately equipped performance space in inner-city Sydney, the need for points of contact between the City and musicians and performers, access to loading zones for musicians to unload equipment, developing a formal mediation program and increasing opportunities for all ages events” said Ms Moore.

The 11 recommendations include:

  • Ensuring that hireable community facilities become available to school students “at no charge” for music and performance rehearsal.
  • Audit a number of the City’s community facilities, with particular reference to Glebe Town Hall, Paddington Town Hall, Redfern Town Hall, Erskineville Town Hall, Alexandria Town Hall, Paddington Reservoir Gardens and Cook and Phillip Park. This process will highlight areas where capital infrastructure (including purchase of pianos) or changes to current approvals and management plans are required, then “ensure that this is considered as part of the 14/15 City of Sydney budget allocation process”.
  • Pilot a live performance series for young people
  • “Establish a formal mediation policy and pilot process that offers free, independent and confidential mediation services for resolving amenity complaints about live music and performance”
  • Trial a program based on the City of Yarra’s ‘Live Music Venue Parking Permit’ scheme for musicians loading into venues

Council also agreed to measures that will add to the strategic development of live music in Sydney through data collection and better understanding the needs of the sector.

Everything agreed to by Council on Monday night is exactly what we need to be looking at to support live music - offering practical support to musicians, particularly young musicians, better understanding live music in the local community, making sure Council facilities are useful, well equipped and accessible venues for music, and encouraging young people to present and attend live performances.

The mediation initiative is a potential circuit breaker for the occasional but highly problematic noise and amenity issues faced by live music venues and residents. What we need to deal with these issues is a fair process, this mediation initiative will bring people to the table and work through the problem and avoid the complex and costly alternatives.

What next?

If you live or make music in the City of Sydney:

  • Spread the word about these initiatives with friends, colleagues, on Facebook and Twitter,
  • Read more about the Live Music and Performance Taskforce Action Plan
  • Make a submission to the City of Sydney (by 17 January 2013)  
  • Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are a community group with a particular interest or question regarding the community facilities.

If you’re from another area

  • Spread the word about these initiatives
  • Share the City of Sydney plan with your local council
  • Advocate that your council take action to support live music in your community, including such simple steps as auditing community facilities and taking feedback about their optimal use, or supporting young people through funding for events and free rehearsal space.

For more information see:

The November 2013 issue of Music Forum magazine - Alex Masso writes about live music and local government, including issues such as Parking, Access and Community Facilities (Read more)

The Music Council of Australia’s submission to the City of Sydney regarding parking (Read more – PDF)

City of Sydney Live Music and Performance Taskforce (Read more)

Lord Mayoral Minute, 9 December 2013 - see the Business papers on the City of Sydney website


Alex Masso manages the Music in Communities Network and is a member of the City of Sydney Live Music and Live Performance Taskforce