Learn about Vibrant Spaces

Vibrant Spaces means you will not need a lease from Council to use the public footpath in any town centre in the MidCoast region. Street entertainment (busking, street theatre and art) is actively encouraged. Vibrant spaces also creates an environment for community fundraising. Innovative thinking and common sense is what we need.

Read our Footpath Activities in Town Centres Policy(PDF, 128KB)

Think about how you can welcome people to the street, draw them into surrounding businesses and encourage them to linger. Why not have a comfortable armchair, some quirky art, pot plants, a game for kids to play or popular magazines? Encourage busking or have your morning coffee in front of your shop.

There are only four easy steps to follow if you want to get involved:

1. Take a common sense approach

We need “common sense” thinking to prevail. When placing anything on the footpath remember this is a community space. Consider the needs of the youngest child, people with limited abilities and our oldest citizen – can they still use the path safely, get to their car, post the mail, wait for the bus or cross the road? Is everyone safe? Look up and make sure people won’t hit their heads and that everything is secure during strong winds and put away at night.

2. Cooperate and collaborate

Work together with neighbouring businesses to attract people to our streets and stay a little longer. You know best how to attract customers, so expand those ideas onto the street. Through collaboration and cooperation, you can create exciting places. For example, a clothing shop can benefit from having outdoor dining extended over the footpath from the neighbouring cafe. Many great shopping purchases can be made while waiting for a coffee to arrive. Activities should not impede or compromise neighbouring businesses.

3. Be responsible for the footpath

You will be the first stop for people with compliments and criticism. Take on board what people say, listen to concerns and make changes - especially when safety and access is raised.

4. Have public liability insurance 

You will also need to have a chat with your insurer. Your public liability insurance will need to cover the use of the footpath (a minimum of $20 million liability). Remember that while we encourage activity on the footpaths there is still legislation that needs to be complied with, for example liquor licensing and food licensing. 

Guidelines for buskers

We love to see buskers become part of our vibrant spaces, but there are guidelines that need to be followed.

To use the footpath for busking you must ensure that you: 

  • Have spoken with nearby shop owners where you are busking to ensure they have no concerns. 
  • Can provide enough room for people to easily walk down the path unimpeded (1.8m wide clear path). Is there enough room for people to pass, especially if pushing a pram or in a wheel chair? Can people still use the path safely, get to their car, post the mail, wait for the bus or cross the road? Also, be aware that vision impaired people use the building line to navigate and do not impede their movement along the street. 
  • Agree not to create a public nuisance. Public nuisance can include creating a threat to public safety, excessive noise or approaching the public for money or begging (voluntary donations are acceptable). 
  • Only busk between the hours of 10am and 10pm.
  • Give us at least 1 week notice prior to your performance.


Buskers should ideally have valid Public Liability Insurance to cover themselves and members of the public should any incidents arise.

If you do not have liability insurance and wish to busk, you may be covered under Councils' Public Liability Insurance provided you do not undertake activities involving any of the following-

  • Knives or  swords (including theatrical knives and swords)

  • Any activity involving the use of fire

  • Bicycles and similar items

  • Animals in any capacity, whether in an active or passive form

The following acts are not considered as buskers and will not be covered by Council's insurance policy

  • Balloon sculptors

  •  Tarot card/palm/fortune readers

  •  Aerosol artists

  • Masseurs.

Buskers should contact us on 02 7955 7777 prior to submitting your registration form. We will talk you though the process of typing up a document stating that you will not be undertaking high risk activities. This document can then be uploaded on the registration form in place of your liability insurance documents.

Register to busk here

The history of Vibrant Spaces

Vibrant Spaces was part of a larger initiative to improve Taree's town centre, in partnership with local businesses and the wider community. 

If you would like to know more, you can view the presentation we made at the Statewide Mutual Conference in 2016, which explains how all of the projects came together and more specifically, the approach we took to risk.

The Tidy up Taree initiative continues to make great improvements in Taree.

The popular Night Bazaar event in Taree has been running since 2014. View the event that started it all below.


In 2017, Council resolved to undertake a six month trial in the town centres of Bulahdelah, Gloucester, Tea Gardens, Hawks Nest, Pacific Palms and Stroud, following which the Vibrant Spaces initiative was rolled out permanently across the MidCoast region.

In October 2018, thanks to funding from the NSW Government's Small Business Month, Council ran free placemaking masterclasses in Bulahdelah, Forster and Gloucester, with placemaking expert David Engwicht. Over 100 local business representatives attended, receiving  practical advice and inspiration to help them contribute to the vibrancy of our town centres.


Need some help?

If you're unsure on how to create a Vibrant Space, just ask!

We're available to assist with any enquiries you may have. Simply pick up the phone and call us 02 7955 7777 or email [email protected] and we will respond as quick as we can. 

We're also very happy to offer advice so that you can gain real insight into which Vibrant Spaces ideas might work better than others.

You can also visit our Vibrant Spaces ideas page for more inspiration.