The live music scene in Sydney is often criticised compared to that of its closest rival, Melbourne. But it had always been an unfair fight, until October 2007. Just before Christmas 2008, live music lovers in NSW and performing musicians were given a gift.

On 18 December 2008, the NSW Government issued instructions to local councils to help open further opportunities for musicians to perform at venues such as bars, restaurants and cafes

Laws regulating each “Place of Public Entertainment” (POPE) were changed in October 2007 to allow certain venues (see below) in NSW to host live performances without having to obtain an onerous POPE Licence. However, a number of local councils continued to incorrectly advise potential venue operators that they still required a POPE Licence. So some venues still experienced difficulties in staging live entertainment

The State Government’s edict clarified that if a venue has a principal purpose other than providing live entertainment, then it no longer requires a POPE Licence. The Government also requested that all incorrect information and references to the old licence requirements be removed from each council’s information systems (including websites)

Hopefully the clarification of licensing requirements will encourage the growth of the live music scene throughout NSW

The operation of laws relating to live performance venues in NSW are currently under review and we are scheduled to hear more about it in October 2009

Chris Chow You can also listen to my interview relating to POPE Licences on Boardroom Radio at: For more information please visit:; and