Public Asked For Input On Street Entertainers
The City is seeking the public’s input on street entertainers to help it develop a new process for licensing street entertainment in the downtown core.
A Your Opinion survey is now available and asks questions regarding:
- What kind of street entertainers the public would prefer
- How many street entertainers should be allowed downtown
- Whether street entertainers should be required to audition and, if so, for whom
“Street entertainment should contribute to the vibrancy of street life and augment the cultural vitality of Kingston – key objectives of Kingston’s Culture Plan. This initial survey will help us determine how Kingstonians want to experience street entertainment so that we can appropriately renew the bylaw,” says Colin Wiginton, Manager Cultural Services. The surveys are also available for pick-up at City Hall, 216 Ontario St.
The City currently offers licences to any street entertainer upon request and no audition is required.
Comments will be collected until Monday, June 20. A public report on the findings will then be heard ahead of a regular monthly meeting of the Arts, Recreation and Community Policies Committee on Thursday, July 28.
You can find out more about the Kingston Culture Plan here.
Media contact information: Cindie Ashton, Communications Officer, 613-546-4291, extension 3116 (cell 329-3462). Or call the City of Kingston’s media hotline at 613-546-4291, ext 2300.
8 thoughts on “Public Asked For Input On Street Entertainers”
Unfortunately exercises of this sort tend to be excuses to get rid of homeless people from the streets under the guise of musical competence. The people who need the support offered by collecting money on the streets are rarely those with the musical talent to pass these official tests.
While I can see your point re: homeless persons being denied the ability to busk, I totally disagree with your last sentence. My wife busks during the summer months as her private students tend to go on vacation, symphony season has ended etc… Busking helps pay the bills, pure and simple.
But, with the greatest respect, that just proves my point, Harvey. Educated middle class people don't 'need' to do this in the same way that someone without a home and without much hope might 'need' to. It's not really the same level of need we are talking about here.
Anyway, this is a side issue. Your wife is hardly the kind of person who is going to be affected negatively by this – quite the contrary.
As the wife and musician in question, I've found myself really torn on this issue. I am confident that I would pass an audition, and as someone with nearly a lifetime of training on my instrument, I value the concept of setting standards. However, I know how tight it can get for me in the summer months, so I can't even imagine what would happen if those who rely on busking were suddenly not allowed to perform anymore.
One of the concerns I had while filling out the survey was the question about who should judge these auditions. The suggestions were: a community rep, an arts rep and a business owner. This is the problem right here. If auditions do take place, the city needs to acquire people who a) know what to look for and b) have an idea of what it is like to work as an artist. I don't see how a local business owner has any…business….making decisions about the arts. I would like to see them come to the source and ask local musicians like myself or someone else who is in the symphony, or teaching at a dance school or playing in a working band to come together to form the panel. A varied group of artists would have a lot of insight to what is considered good music/dancing/art etc. – and could quite possibly come up with a much more interesting and varied group of buskers than a panel of non artists.
Thanks for that response, Danielle.
I think, however, that public streets are exactly the kind of place where there should be no considerations of 'good' performance imposed, whether by business-owners or professional artists or critics. Either would diminish the publicness of the streets and the right of free expression. There is already rather too much privatisation and control of public space.
Oh, I agree with you 100%. I should have clarified that my second paragraph was simply a "what if". Should they did decide to hold auditions, I'd like to see qualified people on the panel, not more upper middle class "representatives". So yes, I absolutely agree that the street is a free, public space and everyone who wants to create art there, should. Those who don't like it can keep on walking.
Although whoever it was who was playing one fiddle tune very badly over and over again opposite the Goat last summer should be the exception to the rule… ;)
Auditions for buskers will be a HUGE mistake. Who is qualified to judge the talent of a street musician? I made a lot of money as a teenager playing downtown, and I was pretty rough to say the least. I agree with a low-cost license, but not an audition.