Brisbane Is About To Get A Lot More Live Music

5 June 2023 | 2:30 pm | Ellie Robinson

The Queensland capital’s council have axed permit fees for small event organisers, making concerts much more accessible for promotors.

Laneway Brisbane 2020

Laneway Brisbane 2020 (Credit: Bianca Holderness)

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Live music fans in Meanjin/Brisbane should be on the lookout for a swathe of new events popping up in the near future: as part of its upcoming budget, the city’s council will be reducing – and in some cases, entirely cutting – permit fees for organisers and promotors. 

According to a new report by the Brisbane Times, fees for public events in the Queensland capital currently run between $1,650 and $3,393 (depending on the size of the event). When the operative changes are enacted, schools, gyms and churches will all be exempt from any fees, unless they require significant input from council. 

In a statement given at the Parkinson Multicultural and Dragon Boat Festival yesterday (June 4), lord mayor Adrian Schrinner vouched that it was unnecessary for smaller and long-term events to be held to the same standards as more complicated happenings. “We’re taking that red tape and those fees away,” he said, while noting that for larger events, “There does need to be some oversight … because many include things like road closures and traffic diversions.” That, he said, is “something we have to continue to look at”.

It’s hoped that these changes will encourage organisers to host more community-focussed events like farmers’ markets and pop-up cinemas. For events that don’t require the community to be affected by things road closures – which have turnouts of more than 2,000 people and are held between 7am and 10pm over five or fewer days – organisers will be able to take advantage of a new self-assessable event permit, costing just $75.

The change in budget unfortunately doesn’t allow for exemptions to events like music festivals, which are still considered “assessable” by Brisbane council. However, “well-established” events will be considered for a new type of permit valid for up to three years, meaning organisers won’t have to pay the same fees for each subsequent edition of their event. 

Citing the Mount Gravatt Show as a key example, councillor Kim Marx said of the changes: “As we know, there are some places that [have been] having events for 10, 20, 30 years. They know what they’re doing; we don’t need to be telling them how to run their events.”

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The move was praised by Labor’s council opposition leader Jared Cassidy, who said it was “a long time coming” and will benefit the smaller, more community-centric events that he says “make Brisbane’s suburbs so special”. As noted by the Brisbane Times, the changes will need to be reflected in an update to the Events Local Law 2022 bill, which is on track to be approved at a council meeting tomorrow (June 5). From there, the new guidelines will be published in the 2022-23 budget on June 14.