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August 24, 2011 | by  |  This Day In Vancouver


“Bad buskers, beware,” reads a Peter Clough editorial in the Vancouver Province. “City Hall will not rest until your racket is quelled. Next target: People who whistle while waiting for the bus.”

The editorial, which incorporates quotes from several City Councillors, focuses its sights squarely on a report being produced by city hall, whose aim is to license Vancouver street musicians.

“Yes, we’re talking permits, no-go zones, maybe even auditions,” Clough comments, “Licensing has worked well for Granville Island and BC Transit, but we really don’t need to turn the entire city into one big Expo ‘86 site.”

“We recognize that these kinds of activities are part of the life and the vitality of the streets of the city,” the engineering department’s Bob Ross explains. “At the same time we need to get rid of the nuisance aspects.”

The report, commissioned after years of complaints by city merchants about “panhandlers with beat-up guitars”, will eventually result in the passing of city bylaws requiring a license for all city buskers.

“[The report] is the surest sign yet that we’re regulating ourselves into a state of civic neurosis,” the editorial reads. “Before you know it, you’ll need a permit to panhandle.”


IMAGE: City Street Entertainers Dave Moses and Wes Barker, during the 2010 Games. Image Courtesy of Photograph by Caitlan Reid.


1 Comment

  1. Hey! Thanks for posting the picture of me, Dave Moses (the big guy yakking) and Wes Barker (the guy in the strait jacket) in an article about clamping down on bad buskers… uhm… I think.

    And thanks also for giving VanCity Buzz a photo credit for our picture… which I guess they lifted from our site. The photo was, for the record, taken by the very talented Caitlan Reid.

    Seriously though, thanks for the heads up and bringing this issue to the fore. There are a lot of great buskers out there in the city and what is needed is not more regulation or “clamping down”, but encouragement and support.

    Granville Island is a great place with very specific needs… Please, let’s not bureaucratize our street entertainers out of the city.


    Dave Moses
    (who you can find performing someplace on Robson Street if it’s not too hot.)

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