Live and Local Strategic Initiative

About Live and Local

The Live and Local Strategic Initiative was designed to support local councils and their communities in organising and delivering live music micro-festival events. The program was funded by Create NSW on behalf of the NSW State Government and managed in partnership by the Live Music Office.

The Initiative promotes the Live and Local Event Model, whereby local businesses, both traditional and non-traditional, host local musicians over the course of an afternoon, supported by local council through marketing and promotional support, as well as better policy and regulation development to implement long-term strategies that support the growth of the local live music industry.

The event model was developed from the City of Sydney: Live Music and Performance Taskforce which identified the music community’s dissatisfaction with how publicly-funded live music events took place.

Venues felt they provided regular jobs for musicians and paid rates to Council. However, rather than benefitting local venues, Council budgets were directed to promoting imported artists in temporary venues.

The City of Sydney provided the Live Music Office with a matched-funding grant to carry out two Live and Local pilot events in 2014, Surry Hills Ignite with Sydney Fringe Festival and Kings Cross Ignite with APRA AMCOS. The strategy and method of these events is now being shared with suburban and regional centres across NSW through the delivery of The Initiative.

Delivery of The Initiative was initially developed to target Western Sydney under the NSW Government’s $7.5 million commitment to boost Western Sydney arts and cultural opportunities over four years.

The development of the Western Sydney Live and Local Strategic Initiative was informed by:

  • Consultations undertaken with Western Sydney stakeholders, including local government arts and cultural development officers and artists
  • Priorities outlined by Create NSW, including increasing opportunities for artists and participation of audiences in Western Sydney, supporting live music and investigating new partnerships with local government
  • An analysis of funding results from Arts and Cultural Development Program (ACDP) showing music applications are underrepresented in the ACDP in comparison to other artforms.

The Initiative was then expanded to deliver two main phases of funding – Western Sydney Round One and Western Sydney Round Two/Regional NSW.

Number of Events

A total of 66 individual events were held across all 18 local government areas.


A total of 1359 musicians participated in Live and Local, of which 782 (57%) individual male and 577 (43%) individual female musicians participated in the program.

A total of 583 acts were programmed, comprised of 244 male acts, 184 female acts and 155 mixed-gender acts. A total of 339 all-female and mixed-gender acts were programmed, representing 58% of the total acts programmed.1

A total of 852 performances were programmed, with 348 male performances, 283 female performances and 231 mixed-gender performances. A total of 514 all-female or mixed-gender performances were programmed, representing 60% of the total number of performances.2

The program presented a range of genres but was focused mostly on acoustic performances, or performances with small PA requirements to suit small to medium venues.

Create NSW Priority Areas were represented in every program, with a total of 236 Culturally and Linguistically Diverse artists, 64 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, 12 people with disabilities and 450 youth artists. The program presented a broad range of ages, from 9 years to 71 years.

1 By comparison, the national music festival circuit is still represented by majority male artists. The highest representation of all-female or mixed-gender acts was 44% in 2018:

2 While some programs featured more individual male artists than individual female artists, every council achieved at least a 40/40/20 representation between male and female/mixed-gender acts and/or performances, or a readjustment of imbalanced representation from individual artists to acts and/or performances:


A total of 262 venues participated in the program. 35 different types of businesses were activated across hospitality, retail, hotel and entertainment sectors, listed as follows:

  • Cafes
  • Restaurants
  • Pubs
  • Public Domain
  • Small Bars
  • Clothing Stores
  • Galleries
  • Homewares and Gift Stores           
  • Book stores    
  • Registered Clubs                
  • Hotels   
  • Delis      
  • Arcade  
  • Co-working creative spaces
  • Historic Houses
  • Cinemas                
  • Shoe Stores
  • Breweries
  • Community Centres        
  • Tattoo Parlours
  • Music Store         
  • Wineries               
  • BnB        
  • Country Halls     
  • Hairdresser/Barbershops
  • Bakeries
  • Shisha Shop
  • Bowling Alley     
  • Theatres                
  • Museums              
  • Florists 
  • Furniture Stores                 
  • Showground      
  • Cycleries               
  • Lawnmower and Garden Business


Total audience attendance is estimated over 53,000 across the 18 LGAs in NSW. Based on findings by the Blue Mountains City Council economic development officer, a sample size of 2080 visitors was estimated to have generated around $242,080 into the Blue Mountain’s local economy from a single Live and Local event.

Special thanks to the project teams from Parramatta City Council, Fairfield City Council, Camden Council, Wollondilly Shire Council, Blacktown City Council, Campbelltown City Council, Blue Mountains City Council, Hawkesbury City Council, Liverpool City Council, Cumberland Council, Tweed Shire Council, Kempsey Shire Council, Newcastle City Council, Armidale Regional Council, Orange City Council, Mid-Western Regional Council and Wagga Wagga City Council for their tireless efforts in delivering their Live and Local programs, and their dedication to supporting the development of grassroots live music in their local communities.


Visit the Live Music Office website for further Live Music Industry information and resources.

Safety ESA Pre Event Checklist – Download

Low Risk Arts and Cultural Venues – Download

How To Put On A Gig – Download

Live Music Licensing 101 – Download