Busking

South Melbourne Market is one of the City of Port Phillip’s most popular destinations and provides a great opportunity for talented performers to entertain thousands of customers on Market days.

What is busking?

Busking is defined as playing a musical instrument and/or singing, juggling, mime, mimicry, dance, puppetry, performance art, recitation and other appropriate theatrical and visual forms.

We encourage buskers in many performance types to enhance the Market experience for shoppers.

Who can busk

We are a Market with a diverse customer base and as such are looking for performers that appeal to the broad scope of people and families that walk through our doors. We are seeking buskers who will enhance the experience of our customers and contribute to an overall positive feeling of shopping at South Melbourne Market. We encourage applications from young performers to busk, however, parental supervision is required for buskers aged 16 and under.

Busking locations 

We have two locations available available for busking; one in the popular Cecil Street restaurant precinct and the second at the bustling Coventry Street and Centre Aisle Market entry. Busking is not permitted inside the Market or any other locations.

Buskers are permitted to perform for a maximum of one hour at each location, per session. 

Click here to view map.

Please note: Buskers performing in a non-designated location or performing without a valid permit will be at risk of receiving a fine from City of Port Phillip Local Laws Officers.

Busking at the Market

Busking is permitted on all Market days (Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday). You do not need to pre-book a busking session and can perform for up to one hour in each location.

Buskers are permitted to use an amp, however the sound level should not impede the conversations our traders have with their customers.

Please note: the Market does not provide power access.

Our traders love the vibrancy that buskers bring the Market, but during peak times, busking is not permitted: 

  • Cecil Street: Busking is not permitted between 12pm – 1pm 
  • Coventry Street: Busking is not permitted between 1pm – 2pm

Selection process

Please upload a link to a short video of your performance (1 or 2 songs) and a sample set list of 10 songs (5 songs if 16 or under). Your submission will be reviewed by Market Management and all decisions will be at their discretion. The Market are seeking busking individuals, duets and bands that have demonstrated their ability to play to a standard that the Market considers will entertain customers and enhance the Market experience.

Please note, due to space limitations, band/group permits are limited to a maximum of 4 people. 

How to apply

Please complete the online application form. Please note you will be required to include the following supporting documentation:

  • Proof of identify with current address for each performer e.g. drivers' licence
  • A current passport style photo of each performer
  • Applicants 16 years of age and under must be countersigned by a parent or guardian
  • Band/group applications will require the name of each performer

Permit costs

Permits are valid for 12 months.

  • $50 - Adult permit 
  • $20 - 16 years and under
  • $75 - Band/group of up to four people. 

Public liability 

The applicant/group can be covered under City of Port Phillip public liability coverage. This is third party coverage only. Please indicate on the application form if you would like to use this coverage.

Busking terms and conditions

  • Busking permit holders must not cause any obstruction to pedestrian or other traffic movement.
  • Busking permit holders are not permitted to ask for, or necessarily expect payment of any kind based on their busking performance.
  • Busking permits shall not be held by persons performing on behalf of any political or religious organisation.
  • Busking permit holders shall not advertise or associate themselves with advertising in conjunction with any performance, nor should they cause nuisance to Market customers or traders.
  • Busking activity which causes annoyance to traders, local residents and/or the general public may be terminated at the direction and/or discretion of a member of the Victoria Police, an authorised Council officer or Market Management.
  • Busking permit holders must only perform in the two designated busking locations with an in-date permit.
  • Busking permit holders will not be able to access Market power. Performers should bring their own battery operated amplification equipment, if required. 
  • Busking permits are not transferable.
  • Busking permits are required to be displayed for each person/band engaged in any busking activity.
  • Busking permit holders are not permitted to sell merchandise (such as CDs)
  • Busking permit holders are not permitted to have large format signage or advertising (eg. no pull-up banners or A-frames)
  • Busking is not permitted on Cecil Street between 12pm-1pm on Market days
  • Busking is not permitted on Coventry Street between 1pm - 2pm on Market days