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Apply for a street performance and busking licence

We encourage buskers and street performers in our public places as they help make Wellington an exciting, vibrant place to live.

Colourful photo of some street performers with crowd watching on in front of the Saint James theatre. The street performers are dressed in bright suits and reaching for the sky.
Street performers and buskers make Wellington a creative and vibrant place to live, work and play.

Street performers and buskers need a street performance and busking licence to perform in public.

We must consider the needs of our residents, businesses and street users, and provide rules and guidelines for performing in public places. These rules and guidelines keep people safe while supporting our vibrant arts culture.

Types of performance and busking

Busking is music, arts or an activity performed for the general public for a donation.

Amateur busker or street performer

Here are a few common examples of buskers:

  • musicians, singers, and poets
  • dance and drama
  • magicians, clowns, and puppeteers
  • mimes and statue performance
  • visual artists, such as painters.

Professional busker or street performer

These kinds of street performers:

  • perform as one of their main income sources
  • have a larger repertoire of at least 30 minutes without repeating a song or act
  • use a larger space to attract a bigger crowd
  • have a website, YouTube channel, Facebook, or other profile.

Types of licences

Standard licence

This licence is for amateurs whose act doesn’t include dangerous materials, objects, and/or create loud sounds.

Special licence

This licence is for professionals, or acts that include dangerous materials and objects, or create loud sounds. Your application will be reviewed, and if approved, a special licence will be granted.

What you need to get a licence

In order to get your street performance and busking licence you will need:

  • If you are under 12 years old, you will need to provide evidence of consent from parent or guardian.
  • Depending on your act you may need a fire safety plan and health and safety plan.
  • If your act involves dangerous materials or objects, you may need to upload a current public liability insurance certificate.

What are considered dangerous materials?

What are considered dangerous objects?

What are considered loud acts?

Busking and street performance locations

You can perform anywhere around Wellington.

Please note that on occasion there may be events and activities happening and you may have to find another location. When required, please follow requests from our staff and security guards.

Performing at the waterfront

Performing at Civic Square

Times and restrictions

Buskers and professional performers are allowed:

  • a maximum of 90 minutes per location, per day. This includes performance and set up, breaks, and pack down.
  • to perform between 7am and 9pm.

If a busker is performing outside retail premises and is asked by the retailer to move on, they must do so.

Sound performance

You can have performances that include sound or amplification in most public places between 7am and 9pm, but other time restrictions apply at certain locations.

Location Times
In most public places 7am and 9pm, Monday to Sunday

Courtenay Place, between Cambridge Terrace to Taranaki Street

Cuba Mall, between Manners Street to Dixon Street

the forecourt in front of the Railway Station.

9pm to 3am on Fridays and Saturdays
Railway station subway 7am and 8pm, Monday to Sunday

Excessive noise

We want to make sure that businesses, residents and the public are not negatively impacted by excessive noise from performers and buskers.

Please be mindful of how your performance impacts others. Before performing, create a plan for how you will respond to requests from business owners or the public, for example, you could move to another location or turn your amplifier down.

Visit our noise control page for information about noise complaints.

Acts with animals

Terms and conditions

Please be considerate and friendly while busking and performing. Buskers must follow the terms and conditions of the license at all times.

Terms and conditions of street performance and busking licences

Fees

There are no fees for standard or special busking licences.

Apply for a licence

Use our online portal to apply for your performance and busking licence.

Apply online

 

Contact us

If you have any questions about busking or street performance, contact the Street Activities Team using the details below.

Street Activities
Wellington City Council

Phone: 04 499 4444

Email: streetactivities@wcc.govt.nz

Postal address: PO Box 2199
Wellington 6140