Best Practice Guidelines for Live Music Venues

These guidelines provide information for venue operators who are planning to host, or already host, live music at their venue. Topics covered by the guidelines include managing sound to maintain a positive relationship with neighbours, providing a safe environment for patrons, staff and musicians to enjoy the live music experience, and building constructive working relationships with musicians.

The guidelines provide advice on achieving ‘best practice’ as a live music venue operator. There are many benefits to achieving best practice in a live music venue, including:

  • attracting high-quality performers;
  • improving patronage;
  • increasing profits;
  • enhancing your venue’s reputation in the live music and hospitality industries;
  • building positive relationships with neighbours and authorities;
  • increasing staff satisfaction and retention;
  • reducing the number of complaints about the operation of your business;
  • reducing the potential for safety and legal issues; and
  • reducing operational costs (security, legal and repairs).

It is important to acknowledge that while these guidelines strive to demonstrate best practice, they are very much a work in progress in collaboration with the Victorian music sector. We will continue to consult the community and to improve these guidelines year on year. If you would like to put forward any recommendations or raise any issues feel free to do so by emailing

Recent updates include:

Chapter 9 – Copyright Compliance (written by OneMusic Australia) *updated chapter* The introduction of new licensing body OneMusic Australia led to the need for updated guidance on Copyright Compliance, and this chapter will give venue operators the info they need to be across the changes.

Chapter 16 – Harm Reduction (written by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation) History has demonstrated that no matter the level of deterrence-based policy that is implemented around substance use at events, there will still be a proportion of people who consume substances. This chapter outlines best practice around harm reduction strategies to keep your attendees safe.

Chapter 17 – Gender Diversity Guidelines (written by Simona Castricum in community consultation with Transgender Victoria & Queerspace)
Venues, events and social environments that demonstrate an inclusive understanding of trans and gender diverse (TGD) musicians, staff and patrons have the opportunity to be the most welcoming environments through using gender diverse practice.
This chapter provides information, terminology and resources to make your venues inclusive and welcoming for TGD people.

By working cooperatively with musicians, neighbours, authorities and patrons, live music venues can make an invaluable contribution in ensuring that Victoria has a vibrant live music industry for many years to come.


These guidelines are managed and updated by Music Victoria. The establishment of this project and earlier editions of the guidelines were produced as a collaborative project between the Victorian Government, the Live Music Roundtable and stakeholders in the live music industry. We thank all those involved for their vision and valuable input.


Access All Areas
Alcohol and Drug Foundation
Arts Access
Chelsea Wilson
Creative Victoria
Department of Environment and Primary Industries
Department of Justice
Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria
Dr Bianca Fileborn
Environment Protection Authority Victoria
Green Music Australia
Jen Cloher
John Watson


Katie Pearson
Melinda Lucas
Music Victoria’s Artist Advisory Panel
Music Victoria
OneMusic Australia
Save Live Australia’s Music
Sexual Harassment Taskforce
Simona Castricum
The Corner Hotel
The Push
Transgender Victoria
Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor