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Outdoor events that need EPA permits

We're responsible for issuing event permits for outdoor music events and ensuring noise compliance in certain circumstances. This applies to:

  • businesses who want to hold public outdoor music events, like concerts
  • people in the community who want to hold public outdoor events such as local community festivals, where music is part of the event.

We need to approve your event if either:

  • you plan to hold an event outside of 12 pm–11 pm. For events longer than five hours, the times are 12 pm–10 pm.
  • you plan to hold more than six concerts in a financial year.

Noise policy SEPP N-2 (publication IBN5-90) defines a concert as:

  • an event louder than 55dB(A) in a 24-hour period
  • outdoors at a residence or other nearby sensitive area.

Some events may need other planning or event permits from EPA or your local council.

Events of 'special social significance'

You can apply to hold an event outside the hours listed above if the event is of 'special social significance'.

Your application must include documents to show that:

  • it is a well-established event and venue and well accepted by the community 
  • it is a televised event, or one that the media or social media promotes widely
  • the venue's neighbours support the event and you can provide letters of support
  • you have asked for and received support from key organisations such as the local council, chamber of commerce or relevant community organisations.

How to get your event approved

Get approval in writing from EPA at least 45 days before your event.

You must give us:

  • a description of the type of event e.g. charity fundraiser, religious festival, cultural street festival
  • the days you want to hold events
  • the likely impact on the local community
  • evidence of community engagement
  • written advice from the local council
  • your noise management plan.

If your event is of special social significance you should give us evidence to show why. 

Email your application to: approvals.applications@epa.vic.gov.au

Creating your noise management plan

A noise management plan is a document that describes how you’ll manage noise. It should contain:

  • the name of the company in control of the event
  • whether you need any council permits, and if you have received them
  • the type of entertainment or acts
  • speaker height, position and the direction the speakers will face
  • the direction the stage will face
  • the noise barriers you'll use
  • how you'll measure noise
  • how you'll reduce noise at the source
  • how you'll monitor noise
  • noise monitoring results and lessons learned from any past events
  • your complaints procedure and phone number.

Your plan must show us that any concerts won’t be louder than the noise limit of 65dBA. The limit applies when measured outdoors at a noise sensitive area, such as a residential area, hospital or tourist accommodation. 

How EPA reviews your application

We’ll consider things such as:

  • the number of concerts in the previous financial year
  • how loud these concerts were
  • how you plan to limit noise
  • the number of complaints about your past events.

We may allow you to hold an event outside the time limits if:

  • residents won’t be able to hear the noise from their homes or other sensitive areas
  • your event is not-for-profit, for a charitable cause
  • your event is of special social significance.

We may refuse your permit if:

  • a concert in the previous financial year exceeded the legal noise limits
  • our reports show the noise was more than 62dBA (or 52dBA if measured indoors) for more than four concerts in a previous financial year.

The noise policy SEPP N-2 (publication IBN5-90) gives more information in clause 33.

Applying for approval from EPA

Contact us for information on how to apply to get your event approved. We can tell you more about what we need to know about your event.

Email approvals.applications@epa.vic.gov.au.

More about music noise from venues and events

About music noise 

Music noise: EPA's role

Music noise: the law

Measuring music noise

Report music noise 

Noise and your health

Reviewed 5 October 2020