City of Calgary introduces new busking pilot program

Dec 19 2017, 10:58 am

The City of Calgary is currently reviewing the city’s busking program and is launching a new pilot program.

The previous program included a number of tight restrictions that are not as supportive of the busking community as they could be. With the implementation of the new pilot program, the city hopes to support home-grown talent and promote a better understanding of the busking practice.

New features of the pilot program, as listed by the City of Calgary, are:

Celebrating the art of street performance – Beginning with the 2016 Year of Music in Calgary, a strong emphasis for the pilot will be on supporting, celebrating and elevating the profile of street performing as a cherished art form. We will do this by connecting event organizers and business owners with buskers, promoting busking related events, and profiling street performers on and in social media.

More flexibility for busking IDs – The City is now offering three types of busking IDs. The Standard Busker ID remains free and provides access to busk in public locations such as City parks and streets. It’s perfect for up-and-coming performers and those travelling through Calgary but would like to grace Calgarians and tourists with their talents along the way. The Busk Stop ID will cost the performer $50 and provides additional access to perform at select busk stop locations. These are high traffic, high volume areas and are ideal for experienced and professional street performers. The Calgary Transit Busker ID comes at a cost of $25 and requires a Police Information Check. It provides access to busk in all locations including transit stations, but excluding designated busk stops.

Amplification – Amplification is now permitted at busk stops and Calgary Transit stations with a valid busking ID and provided the busker is following the busking guidelines.

Improved application process – The City is offering a variety of ways to obtain your busking ID. Buskers can now apply and pay online, then receive their ID in the mail. ID applications will be processed within three business days. Buskers can also visit one of three City locations to drop off and pay for their busking ID application if online is not an option for them.

Busker Advisory Committee – Over the next year, The City will create a Busker advisory committee that meets quarterly to provide guidance and support to the busking program. The committee will include members of the busking community, City employees and other arts professionals.

Busker Staff– The City will hire a summer student to oversee and execute the busking program from May-August, with current City staff overseeing the program in the off-season.

More than 500 busker IDs are issued every year and the new regulations should expand where and when they can play. Up until these changes, busking is only permitted in public spaces with no amplification and limited to one hour. Buskers may not perform in areas that have been booked for events or festivals nor transit stops, stations or on a transit vehicle.


DH Calgary StaffDH Calgary Staff

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