Cairns Regional Council’s aim is for Cairns to be known as the arts and culture capital of Northern Australia, and we encourage busking as it contributes to a vibrant and lively street culture.  We welcome local, national and international performers who specialise in providing friendly and welcoming entertainment for all ages.

Busking types and locations

The most popular forms of busking are singing or playing a musical instrument; however there are many other types of busking performances such as dancing, juggling, puppetry, miming, magic or living statue acts.

Busking does not include activities such as begging, advertising, promotion of or sale of goods, and political rallying.

Council manages busking that occurs in public spaces or places such as the Cairns CBD, parks or markets. Council does not look after busking that occurs on private property such as shopping centres or restaurants.

Council has pre-approved busking locations in the CBD and a busking schedule of 50 minute sets. Buskers can busk at multiple locations a day.

Busking rules

Council's Busking Best Practice Management Policy ( PDF, 0.42 MB ) sets out to ensure that busking maintains the attractiveness, comfort, safety and enjoyment of our public places and nearby private spaces. Buskers are encouraged to read the Policy before applying.

Busking permits

Council issues two types of Busking Permits – an Initial Permit and a Standard Permit. There is no fee.

Council does not issue group permits: each member of the group must submit an individual application form.

Initial Permit

An Initial Permit is for four weeks (unless otherwise stated) and will be issued if the busker has not had a permit before. Buskers are required to audition before being granted an Initial Permit. You will be advised of your audition time when you lodge your application.

Standard Permit

A Standard Permit is for 12 months (unless otherwise stated) and will be issued if the busker has previously had an initial permit and wishes to continue busking.

Apply for busking permit

Fill in a Busking Permit Application Form ( DOC, 0.21 MB ) and submit it, in person, to Council at the Cairns Regional Council Esplanade Office (52-54 The Esplanade) between 9am and noon on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Applicants are encouraged to read the Best Practice Management Policy for Busking ( PDF, 0.42 MB ) before completing their application.

What to bring

You will need photo identification that has your signature, a recent photograph and your date of birth, such as a drivers licence, passport, or student ID card. If your documents are not in English, such as an overseas drivers licence, you must also bring a full English translation of the document.

If you are under 16, you will require signed consent from a parent or guardian.

If you are conducting a performance that includes dangerous materials or noisy instruments you must provide a Public Liability Insurance Certificate in the amount of $20 million.

Last updated: 04 January 2021