Apply for a busking permit
Sydney is a great busking city and we welcome the positive contribution that buskers make to our city.
Project Status: When you need to do this
Vivid Sydney 2022 busking restrictions
From 5pm to midnight from Friday 27 May to Saturday 19 June the following busking restrictions apply.
- No circus acts, circle acts or high risk acts allowed between Bathurst Street and Circular Quay (PDF 708 KB) from 5pm to midnight each event night.
- Only walk-by acts allowed in the Vivid event area (PDF 708 KB) from 5pm to midnight each night that do not encourage the audience to stop.
- The Circular Quay event zone (PDF 708 KB) between Bridge and Alfred streets is restricted to 2 designated busking spots only: one located on Loftus Street (opposite Jessie Street Gardens) and one on Pitt Street (between the road bollards and Alfred Street). These spots are identified by a Vivid Sydney busking floor decal.
For more information or to get a copy of the Vivid busking map, contact our busking coordinator on [email protected] or 02 9265 9333.
High impact assessments
If your act falls in the high impact category, or you are on probation following a breach of the policy or Sydney busking code, you may need to attend a high impact assessment before you can renew or gain a busking permit (see busking permit application table below for further details).
What you need to do
Complete the Busking Permit Application form
- Download the Busking Permit Application form
- If you’re a group act, each member must submit a separate application.
- If you are under 16 years of age, your parent or guardian must complete and sign part 4 of the application form and be present when you apply for your permit.
If you perform a high impact act
- If you perform a high impact act you must attend a high impact assessment before you can apply for a permit.
- High impact assessments are scheduled for the 3rd Tuesday of each month. To make an appointment, email [email protected] by the Friday before the review takes place.
- You also need to do this if you are on probation following a breach of the policy or Sydney busking code.
- Refer to the “Busking permit categories” section below for definitions and other details.
Lodge your application in person
Lodge your application at one of our customer service centres. Bring with you:
- your completed application form
- proof of identity
- proof of a high impact assessment (if applicable).
We’ll take a photo of you for your permit (except under special circumstances) and permits will be issued over the counter the same day you apply.
Busking permits are available for 3 months (quarterly) or for 12 months (yearly). The 3 month permit is $13. The 12 month permit is $47.
Busking permit categories
Before you start
Local approvals policy
All buskers must read our Local Approvals Policy for Busking and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Practice before they submit their application.
Land managed by other agencies
This application process doesn’t apply to land managed by other agencies, including:
- Centennial Parklands
- Circular Quay, Darling Harbour and The Rocks (Property NSW)
- Sydney Opera House
- The Royal Botanic Garden (includes The Domain)
- UrbanGrowth NSW Development Corporation.
You’ll need to contact these agencies for details about their busking policies.
Busking restrictions and physical distancing rules for managing crowds
- We only encourage certain types of busking while physical distancing is in place.
- We welcome acts by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and performances that don’t encourage people to dwell.
- Other types of busking such as circle acts and group performances aren’t encouraged.
- We’re not carrying out high impact assessments for new busking applications or issuing new permits during this time.
If you’re still busking, it’s your responsibility to manage your crowds in line with NSW Health restrictions.
- remind your audiences to keep 1.5m from other people
- keep 1.5m from others and practice good hand hygiene.
If you’ve travelled overseas or come into contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19, you must self-isolate for 14 days.
City rangers will monitor busking performances and advise about these restrictions as needed.
Areas where buskers can perform
Buskers can perform in permitted areas provided they adhere to the City of Sydney Busking and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural practice policy and the Sydney busking code.
Special busking sites have additional conditions – refer to the Sydney busking code.
Hyde Park north
- Archibald Fountain
- St James station entrance, corner Elizabeth and Market streets
- intersection of Park and Elizabeth streets.
- intersection of Pitt Street and Martin Place, east of the Lloyd Rees Fountain
- other Martin Place busking locations are currently affected by road and building works.
Pitt Street Mall
- north (near King Street intersection)
- central (near MidCity Centre)
- south (near Market Street intersection).
- southern forecourt only.
You can read tips for good busking and learn more about what is expected of buskers in the city by downloading the Sydney busking code.
When performing in public places buskers must make sure their act:
- does not obstruct pedestrian or vehicle traffic and entrances to shops or buildings
- is not excessively loud
- does not include animals
- does not vilify or abuse any member of the community
- complies with the conditions of special busking sites, as outlined in the Sydney busking code.
Non-compliance can be reported to us any day, anytime. Our staff will investigate each complaint received and take appropriate action.