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NSW Draft Code of Practice for Dance Parties

1. Planning For A Dance Party

Local Council

Promoters planning a Dance party should begin by talking to the local Council responsible for the area they want to hold the party in. Promoters need to discuss with the local Council the planning controls which apply to the location where they wish to hold the party. The discussion should focus on whether the planning controls permit Dance parties, with or without Council consent, or prohibit them. Council can provide advice on the process of gaining the consents and approvals which may be required, particularly if the Dance party is held indoors. This is an important step in identifying the right venue for the party. More details on this process are provided in Section 5 and Section 6.


The Police should be consulted soon after promoters first identify a venue for the Dance party which Council will accept. Early discussion on details of the Dance party must take place with the local Patrol Commander of the Police Station closest to the planned venue. In any case, the Police Service must be contacted at least 40 days before the Dance party is expected to start.

The Police should also be notified when Council has given consent to hold the Dance party. A photocopy of the Council approval must be posted or sent by facsimile to the local Police Station.

Early discussions with the Police Service about the intended party helps the Police Service plan to assist promoters, for example:

  • to enable the Police to make a proper and speedy response if unforeseen problems or emergencies develop at the Dance party, to secure the safety of the promoters and patrons;
  • to help minimise community disruption, such as organising traffic to help patrons get to and from the Dance party;
  • advising the Police of Council consent to hold the party will stop Police arriving at the Dance party to close it down, in the belief that the party is occurring illegally without Council consent;
  • to provide advice on security arrangements (including on-site inspection);
  • to provide a back up to the Dance party's security arrangements.

Keep a copy of the local Police Station telephone number handy for emergencies.

Fire Brigades

The NSW Fire Brigades or the Rural Fire Service, where appropriate, must be informed at least 14 days before the event. This contact is very important for the safety of patrons if the Dance party is to be held in premises such as a warehouse, factory or temporary structure.

In case of fire emergencies ring telephone number 000, not the local Fire Station.

Ambulance Services

Promoters must notify the Ambulance Service's District Office 21 to 14 days before the Dance party. This may be done by facsimile or mail. A local District Inspector will then meet with promoters to make arrangements for:

  • clear passage for ambulance vehicles to gain access into the venue, including access by ambulance officers to the first aid post;
  • the Security Controller to make sure that any ambulance called is met on arrival and clear instructions are given about access and casualties. In the case of multiple casualties, security staff must cordon off the affected area to allow ambulance personnel free access to treat and remove casualties.

Any Dance party attended by 10,000 patrons or more must have an ambulance in full time attendance, with an additional ambulance for every extra 10,000 patrons. The promoter must pay for the cost of this service, and must pay before the event.

The NSW Health Department, Health Services Functional Area Coordinator, must also be informed 21-14 days before the event, so that they can also plan ahead to arrange help if a health emergency occurs at the Dance party.

In case of a health emergency telephone 000.

Communication with Promoter

The promoter or his/her agent must be contactable at all times by the local Council and Police before and during the event. A mobile telephone is useful for this role. This contact person must be responsible for the event and have authority to order the venue to be evacuated in an emergency.


There should be adequate parking so that neighbouring properties are not disturbed by vehicles visiting the venue. Local Councils are responsible for parking and with early notice, extra facilities may be organised, for example, car parking stations remaining open for extended periods. Access to venues should not be by roads which pass through quiet suburban streets.


If public transport is available, the event should coincide with public transport times.

The promoter should make sure that transport is available to get patrons to and from the venue. The promoter should talk to the local public transport providers to advise on expected numbers of patrons and on arrival/departure times, so that more buses, trains etc., can be arranged to meet the extra number of passengers, especially at the end of the party. All private bus routes in the Sydney - Central Coast - Newcastle - Wollongong area are on the internet on A person may locate, by suburb, all bus routes and bus companies who operate through that suburb. The State Transit Authority and private bus companies can provide quotes to deliver charter services. The cost of a charter service can be included in the ticket price, so that cash fare transactions are eliminated and the cost is spread over all of the patrons. Bus charter enquiries should be directed to the local bus company or to:

  • State Transit Authority of NSW - level 29, 100 Miller Street, North Sydney, NSW 2060. Telephone (02) 92455 777
  • The Bus and Coach Association of NSW - 27 Villiers Street, North Parramatta, NSW 2151. Telephone (02) 9630 8655

For rural areas it may also be a good idea for patrons to camp overnight. If this option is chosen, extra conditions may be set by the local Council.


Ticketing arrangements

Money for advance ticket sales received by venue operators or independent booking outlets should be held by them in trust to cover refunds if the performance is cancelled.

Patrons should be entitled to a full refund or ticket exchange option if the:

  • main attraction/event is cancelled or re-scheduled;
  • main attraction/star performer(s) is cancelled and substitute arranged.
Conditions of Entry

The promoter could set up signs at the Dance party entry points, or print on the tickets, that patrons will be refused entry, or will be made to leave the Dance party, if they are intoxicated by alcohol or another drug, or attempt to sell, deal or distribute an illicit drug (or if they are under 18 at Dance parties aimed at adults).

Entrance by ticket only

Most venues are only allowed to hold a certain number of people, and overcrowding can be dangerous. A good way to avoid overcrowding is to allow entry only to people with a pre-paid ticket.

Thought could be given to issuing tickets in a form that makes losing them more difficult, such as in the form of arm bands.


An adequate and safe water supply must always be available for fire fighting, hygiene and for dousing heated patrons during summer events. Dousing should be in a specific area and only on request.

Dehydration is a major source of health problems at Dance parties. Water must always be provided at Dance parties. Tap drinking water must always be provided free of charge, and must be available for indoor Dance parties. For areas where tap water is not available for patrons to drink, such as at some outdoor Dance parties, bottled water must be made available. Where bottled water is provided, the cost of providing the bottled water is to be included into the ticket price to help eliminate cash transactions and to encourage its consumption.

Dance parties will not be approved, or will be cancelled if in progress, if the tap water is turned off before or during the event, or if water is not provided.

Food and drinks must only be available in unbreakable containers (no glass or crockery).


Promoters must make sure that patrons are covered by a comprehensive public liability insurance policy, and that the building is adequately insured. Policy holders must be sure that their policy conditions cover this type of event.


Noise pollution has been a major problem with previous Dance parties. Some Dance parties have resulted in noise complaints from residents 10 kilometres away from the party. This kind of extreme noise has often meant that the Police have had to close Dance parties down. It is difficult to stipulate a maximum allowable noise output as this will vary with the venue conditions and the distance to neighbouring residents. The way the speakers are placed has a critical effect on the noise output. Speakers should be positioned to ensure minimum disruption to residential areas.

Generally, noise levels of 35dB(A) at any neighbouring residential area including camping areas (unless the camping area has been created for event patrons) are not a nuisance. Noise levels on the floor need to be limited to about 95dB(A). Each venue will have its own individual requirements. Noise restrictions also become more strict after midnight.

Promoters must talk with the local Council to find out what noise restrictions will apply to particular events and venues. If the Dance party is to be held on a licensed premise, promoters must also talk to the Department of Gaming and Racing.

Smoke Machines

Smoke making machines must not be used in any way that results in limited visibility, particularly to the extent that it would make evacuation difficult.


Fireworks can be used at Dance parties if permits are obtained from Workcover NSW before purchase and use, and fireworks guidelines are followed. It is strongly recommended that a General Permit Holder be hired to organise the fireworks for Dance parties. A General Permit Holder is authorised to purchase and set off fireworks and can make all the arrangements needed with Workcover NSW, local Council etc. When hiring a General Permit Holder, be prepared with details such as the number of patrons attending, whether the venue is indoor or outdoor and the size of the venue.

For details contact WorkCover NSW, Dangerous Goods, 400 Kent Street, Sydney, telephone (02) 9370 5000.

Toilet Cleaning

Toilets must be kept clean and serviceable during the event. For events longer than four hours, arrangements need to be made to ensure that toilets are kept clean and resupplied with toilet paper. Where portable chemical toilets are used, pumpouts need to be arranged as part of the hiring contract.

Dance and Rave

Promoters are encouraged to use the name 'Dance party' rather than 'Rave party'. The term 'rave' has a negative and pro-drug reputation, and the image it reflects will not help in getting the needed approvals and consents.

Clean Up

It is the promoter's responsibility to liaise with the local Council and building owner to make sure that the venue and surrounding areas are left clean and tidy. Clean-ups should be completed within 24 hours of the event's conclusion.

Needle and Syringe disposal

Needle and syringe disposal is becoming a problem at entertainment venues. It is recommended that cleaning staff be trained in the dangers of used syringes and that needle disposal containers be used for collecting used needles and syringes. Cleaning staff should be educated on the advantages of being immunised against Hepatitis B.

Needle disposal containers (or sharps containers) come in different sizes and are available in the metropolitan area from most medical supply wholesalers, local Councils or Health Department Needle and Syringe Exchange outlets. Some container suppliers also offer a disposal service. In country areas, containers may be available from hospitals.

When collecting and disposing of needles and syringes, the following procedures are recommended:

  • when collecting needles and syringes, it is best to wear heavy duty gloves or to use a brush and pan or tongs;
  • avoid touching the needle with your fingers or hands;
  • pick up the used needle and syringe by the blunt end, away from the point;
  • never try to replace the protective cover of the needle, if the needle is exposed;
  • bring the needle disposal container to the needle and syringe, never carry the needle to the container;
  • place the needle disposal container on a firm surface;
  • put the needle and syringe in an approved needle disposal container with a well-secured lid. (If you do not have an approved container, rigid plastic containers with lids are the next best option eg., a plastic bottle with a screw top lid. Do not use glass which may break or aluminium cans which may be squashed);
  • make sure the container is tightly sealed and put the sealed container in a rubbish bin;
  • if you have a needle disposal bin to collect needle disposal containers, seal and dispose of the bin following the arrangements or recommendations of the supplier.
Needlestick Injuries

Cleaning staff must be educated on the steps to follow should they be pricked or scratched with a discarded needle.

The main concern with needlestick injuries is the possibility of Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C infection.

A person who is pricked or scratched with a discarded needle has only a very small risk of being infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) from blood in the needle.

Tetanus spores which live in the soil may also cause infections if they get into the body through broken skin caused by a discarded needle.

What do you do if you have a needlestick injury?

  • Wash the area gently with soap and running water as soon as possible. Stronger detergents are not recommended as they may damage or remove skin from around the wound.
  • Apply an antiseptic and sterile dressing, if needed.
  • Report the injury to your supervisor who must keep a record of the incident.
  • Contact your local doctor or hospital emergency department as soon as possible.
  • Contact the New South Wales 24 hour needlestick injury hotline on 1 800 804 823.
  • Medical tests may be done to see if you are already protected from Hepatitis B. If not, a course of vaccinations may be given. This will be most effective if begun within 24 hours following the injury. (Baseline blood tests may be recommended to establish whether you have these viruses or not. This is for compensation purposes. If offered, it is your choice whether to have these tests or not.)
  • If you are not vaccinated against tetanus, this should be done immediately.
  • Any medical treatment will be based on the nature of the injury.
  • Antibiotics may be given as a protection against other infections.
  • Do not save the needle and syringe. The needle and syringe should be disposed of safely, as explained in the section headed 'Needle and Syringe Disposal' above.
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