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Music festival licence

The NSW Government has introduced a new music festival licensing scheme for a limited number of specified music festivals, commencing 1 March 2019.

You will only need to apply for a music festival licence if the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (PDF 159.1 KB) has required you to do so.

All other music festivals can operate under an existing licence or apply for a Limited Licence – Special Event.

Music festival licence - applying tips

Your application for a music festival licence can take longer to review if we don’t have all the details we need to assess it. We will come back to you to obtain the missing information to progress your application. You can help us speed up the process by following the below steps:

  1. Read the Music festival licence guidelines (PDF 177.5 KB) for more information about who needs to apply for a music festival licence, the decision process and how the licence works.
  2. Develop your Safety Management Plan in line with NSW Health Guidelines and the Safety Management Plan summary information provided in the music festival application form.
  3. Make sure you consult with your Local Police Area Command, Local Health District and NSW Ambulance before you lodge your application form.
  4. Submit your application form, your Safety Management Plan and any accompanying documentation, such as your site plan.

The information below will help you to prepare and gather all the necessary materials for your licence application.

We're here to help. Send us your questions, suggestions or feedback.

Email: music.festivals@liquorandgaming.nsw.gov.au

Access the Liquor Act 2007 and the Liquor Regulation 2018 at www.legislation.nsw.gov.au

The new music festival licence is available for an event, other than a concert, that:

a) is music-focused or dance-focused, and

b) has performances by a series of persons or groups that are engaged to play or perform to live or pre-recorded music, or to provide another form of musical or live entertainment, and

c) is held within a defined area, and

e) is attended by 2,000 or more people (on any day), and

f) is a ticketed event.

  • your safety management plan*
  • your development consent or landholder approval
  • your public liability certificate
  • a detailed site plan
  • a proposed list of scheduled artists
  • proposed liquor trading hours
  • if applicable, approval from existing licence owner for temporary suspension of their licence (for example, where an existing on-premises licence is in operation and needs to be suspended to allow the music festival licence to operate for the duration of the festival)
  • if applicable, contact details for your proposed approved agent
  • payment for the application.

*We encourage you to reach out to your Local Police Area Command, Local Health District and NSW Ambulance before you lodge your application. This will allow you to incorporate their feedback into your Safety Management Plan.

NSW Health

NSW Health’s Guidelines for Music Festival Event Organisers: Music Festival Harm Reduction describes harm reduction strategies to support event organisers to deliver safer music festivals in NSW. You are encouraged to use these Guidelines to ensure you have appropriate health service professionals in place to effectively respond to any incidents that may occur during the festival.

Local Health Districts and Ambulance

Your Local Health District and NSW Ambulance are also available to provide you with specific information on how you can make your festival safer. We recommend engaging with these agencies when you are developing your Safety Management Plan.

NSW Police

You are encouraged to engage with NSW Police before you finalise your Safety Management Plan to determine whether NSW Police can assist you in ensuring the safety and security of your event. This may include police asking you to enter into an agreement with NSW Police for user pays police. If you enter into an agreement with NSW Police for user pays police, you will not be required to pay for drug detection dog activities unless you have expressly request this service from NSW Police.

Large scale events are more likely to experience higher risks of alcohol-related violence or anti-social behaviour than smaller events.

As a music festival licensee you will be required to complete licensee and advanced licensee RSA training before your licence can be issued. If you are proposing to have an approved agent, this person will be required to complete licensee and advanced licensee RSA training.

L&GNSW may exempt an applicant from having to undertake the training if the completion of the course, or courses, is deemed unnecessary to reduce the risks of alcohol-related violence or anti-social behaviour at the event.

RSA training for event staff 
  • The licensee, approved agent and everyone serving liquor will need to have completed an approved RSA course. This applies to those serving liquor in a voluntary capacity, as well as any security officers with crowd control duties.
  • All staff must carry a valid NSW RSA photo competency card, digital licence, or interim certificate while working.

Liquor can only be sold at an event licensed as a music festival when:

  • the licensee is present, or
  • an approved agent is present, or
  • a person nominated by the licensee or approved agent is present to supervise the event during the temporary absence of the licensee
Sale of liquor

All liquor must be sold and supplied in opened containers, such as opened cans or bottles. Liquor may only be consumed at the event – it cannot be taken away.

The following drinks must not be sold or supplied on the licensed premises during a music festival:

(a) a drink (commonly referred to as a “shot”, a “shooter” or a “bomb”) that is designed to be consumed rapidly,

(b) a drink containing more than 50% spirits or liqueur,

(c) a drink prepared on the premises that contains more than 30 millilitres of spirits or liqueur.

General licence conditions for a music festival licence include:

  • Liquor must not be sold by retail on the licensed premises for a continuous period of 6 hours between [04:00 AM and 10:00 AM]* during each consecutive period of 24 hours. The licensee must comply with this 6-hour closure period along with any other limits specified in the trading hours for this licence.
  • Drinking water must, at all times during the music festival, be made available free of charge to patrons at or near the point of service at which, or by the same means of service by which, liquor is sold or supplied on the premises, and in accordance with the safety management plan.
  • Any drinks (whether or not it contains liquor) must not be served or supplied in a glass or breakable plastic containers. [This condition does not apply to the back of stage area (known as the Back of House Bar - accessible only by Artists and invited guests) where glass may be utilised although must not be taken into the main public area accessible by patrons.]*

*This text may vary.

Additional conditions may be suggested by agencies as part of the licensing process. You will be asked whether you agree to the above conditions or would like to propose variations to them.

The fee payable for processing a Music Festival Licence is $650.

Use our Liquor Fee Schedule to calculate your fee.

You must be 18 years or older and authorised to lodge this licence application. At least one applicant must be the promoter or organiser of the event (the person or organisation that has entered into an agreement with the venue to host the event).

Music festival licence application (PDF 1.1 MB)

Note: we recommend downloading this application form before you fill it in, so you can access the full form functionality.

When you lodge your music festival application, please make sure you include:

  • Your application form
  • Safety management plan
  • Site plan and any other accompanying documentation

The Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) will endeavour to issue a licence no less than 7 days from an event start date. For more information on the application process refer to the Music festival licensing process (PDF 37.7 KB).

We're here to help. 

Send us your questions, suggestions or feedback.

Email: music.festivals@liquorandgaming.nsw.gov.au

Access the Liquor Act 2007 and the Liquor Regulation 2018 at www.legislation.nsw.gov.au