Busking permits

Council issues two types of Busking Permits – an Initial Permit and a Standard Permit.

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
  • The busking activity is a *Category A activity such as:
    • Playing a musical instrument
    • Dancing
    • Singing
    • Puppetry
    • Mime
    • Other acts of a similar nature
  • The busking activity is to be carried out at a pre-approved location within the Cairns CBD (link to CBD map)

There is no requirement to audition.

*Category A activities are all activities not covered in Category B

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
  • The busking activity is a Category B activity:
    • Includes the use of dangerous materials or instruments;
    • Balance, juggling or circle acts
    • Pavement art performances
    • Involves use of percussion or noisy instruments
  • The proposed busking location is not a pre-approved locations in the Cairns CBD

Buskers are required to audition before being granted a Standard Permit. You will be advised of your audition time when you lodge your application.

How to apply

Fill in a Busking Permit Application Form ( DOC, 0.43 MB ) and submit it, in person, to Council at the Cairns Regional Council Esplanade Office between 9am and noon on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The Esplanade office is at 52-54 The Esplanade.

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

Applicants are encouraged to read the Best Practice Management Policy for Busking ( PDF, 0.44 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.


There is no fee to obtain a Busking Permit in Cairns.

Last updated: 04 July 2018