NSW Government axes Sydney’s stadium concert restrictions

Featured image credit: Allianz Stadium

The New South Wales (NSW) Government has moved to end a restriction on concerts for Sydney’s major stadia that has existed for more than two decades, stating that the city will now “lift its cap on fun”.

A concert cap limiting the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) precinct to an average of four events per year was put in place more than 20 years ago in response to complaints from local residents following a Rolling Stones concert.

The path to today’s (Wednesday’s) announcement was set back in May when the NSW Government directed Venues NSW to seek regulatory approval to lift the concert cap at the SCG precinct from an average of four major events per year to 20.

Lifting the cap had provoked opposition, again from local residents as well as the major sporting tenants of Allianz Stadium, such as the National Rugby League (NRL) and A-League football club Sydney FC.

However, the Government today said the additional 16 concerts annually are estimated to inject up to A$120m (£62m/€72.2m/$78.5m) a year into the NSW visitor economy, adding that this will mean billions of dollars secured for the state over the lifetime of the stadium.

The Government has argued that the prior restrictions are no longer fit for purpose, with the concert cap changes having been subject to a eight-month community and stakeholder engagement process. Of the 20 major events per year, two will be permitted to operate as 10-hour festivals between the hours of 10am and 11pm.

Since reopening in September 2022, following a major revamp, Allianz Stadium has hosted Bruno Mars, Elton John, Paul McCartney and Robbie Williams concerts. American singer-songwriter Pink is also scheduled to perform two shows next month.

Sydney’s stadium network includes its major event venue, Accor Stadium, which has a capacity of up to 100,000 for concerts. The venue will host four Taylor Swift concerts in February, as well as major sporting events including the Bledisloe Cup and State of Origin. 

NSW Premier Chris Minns said: “NSW is well and truly open for business. This is a huge win for the NSW economy, and it’s great for live music.

“For too long NSW has missed out on world class acts because of an archaic restriction that killed fun in our city and hurt the economy. Sydney is Australia’s only global city and now it will finally be able to host more global acts on the world stage.”

Minister for Music and the Night-time Economy, and Minister for Jobs and Tourism, John Graham, added: “After successive governments have tied up our visitor and night-time economy in onerous red tape, we are taking off the shackles, and making the most of our incredible venues.

“This is about securing more live music for Sydney and ensuring our spot as the premier destination of the Asia Pacific. This year alone, we have Pink, Taylor Swift, Coldplay, and The Kid Laroi performing in our stadiums in Sydney, following on from Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran, Paul McCartney, Elton John, KISS and Harry Styles shows last year.”