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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » The PERFECT Street Performer Permit (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Nick Broad
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"The best permit is NO permit."

That's the impression of a lot of buskers on this topic. Haven't heard many magicians talk about it yet. We've got a post running on our site hoping to build a response-generated permit system that buskers are generally happy with. Am I right in thinking that magicians would be more happy to have some kind of permit, thanks to their not having a loud amplifier to muscle out competition? I imagine pitch disputes going against magicians for that reason. That's just a question, not a statement!

To comply with forum etiquette, I won't post a link. But if people would like to respond here, I'll transfer (with permission), your answers onto our post.

Here are the pros and cons so far:

PROS
• An audition process ensures that some standards are met
• Permits reduce police harassment for permit holders
• Permit holders are in some ways “legitimised” — reducing self doubt and embarrassment, convincing people that it’s okay to perform on the streets
• Formally scheduled pitches reduce arguments between buskers
• Permit systems allow authorities to quickly remove bad apples. If they`re not playing by the rules, they will be pushed out.
• An organised authority managing buskers makes contacting them for gigs easier


CONS
• An audition system will give weight to performers who conform to “established urban aesthetic notions about what a professional musician is”
• A limited number of permits arbitrarily denies some buskers permission
• Cops are more likely to harass non-licensed buskers
• Permits might legitimise some buskers, but they also delegitimise the rest
• Buskers who aren’t free on audition day will not be able to get a permit
• Not all ethnicities in a city will be equally aware of the permit system
• Licensed pitches fill up easily, restricting permit holders
• It costs a lot of money and time to properly administer a license system
• An organised schedule removes the cultural exchange between buskers
• Nomadic buskers cannot get permits quickly
• The bureaucracy of permits takes the “street” our of “street performance”
• Permits add to the myth of the “established” or “professional” artist, something many buskers are against
• The issues permits fix can be handled without the need for a permit

Thanks for getting involved!
Nick Broad
<BR>Skype: omnigut
<BR>facebook.com/thebuskingproject
<BR>www.thebuskingproject.com
<BR>Email: nick@thebuskingproject.com
HerbLarry
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I'll make my input easy to understand:
NO PERMIT!
You know why don't act naive.
Nick Broad
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Haha, yeah, that's the general response we've been getting. Would you be against a non-mandatory permit?
Nick Broad
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<BR>facebook.com/thebuskingproject
<BR>www.thebuskingproject.com
<BR>Email: nick@thebuskingproject.com
HerbLarry
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I'll bite.
How is non-mandatory gonna work?
Seriously, how.
You know why don't act naive.
Nick Broad
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There's a non-mandatory permit system in the New York Subways, called "MUNY". You can still busk in the subways without it, but you don't get the best spots, and the cops seem to THINK it's mandatory, meaning that non-licensed buskers get hassled more often.

In other words, MUNY doesn't quite work. However, the licensed buskers who are on it are very happy to be there. A lot of people hire buskers through MUNY, which acts as a sort of talent-hub. "The establishment" is happy with the program, as it shows off New York's talent.

So yeah, there are a lot of problems with the permit system, but then there are some positive sides. I was thinking of a permit system that carried obvious benefits, with fewer down-sides. I know several street performers who are big fans of the permit system, because they feel it reduces conflicts between street performers, and in some way "legitimises" them. Right or wrong, it's something I think should be looked at.

Of course, the other argument for coming up with a good system would be that the authorities seem to be wedded to their means of control. Coming up with a fairer method might convince even the most totalitarian of mayors that good things can come from buskers.

Am I being naive?
Nick Broad
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<BR>www.thebuskingproject.com
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gallagher
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Hey Omnigut, wellcome to the pitch,
I find, in towns where permits are required, I tend to be MORE restricted! More controlled.
My theory is, forget the Permit System. Let folks play. Require a common sence and etiquette. Not too loud. Not too big. Change pitches. Those who don´t play with, get stopped.
It´s easier to control. Easier to enforce. Less strain on everybody envolved.
One hour a Pitch. 72 dB. Block no doorways or thuroughfares. One warning,... then you´re out.

give it easy,
gallagher.
JoeJoe
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I've always felt like the Ocean City permit system was the best, and I feel it should be used as model legislation everywhere. The guy that crafted that was fully aware of the Constitutional powers of the State and did a great job to ensure those powers were not abused, nor would they infringe on your rights. In fact, most of the "cons" you list are not a problem in the Ocean City system.

There is no "audition",
there is no "limit" to the number of permits,
the cops never harassed me, and I'm not aware of anyone else being harassed by them,
any ethnicity can get a permit - even homeless people there have them,
the pitches do fill up, but that is not the cities fault so many performers have been flooding the boardwalk ... if they allow performers that will happen with or without a permit system,
nor does the city schedule anyone, performers can perform whenever they want,
and it costs little money and time to administer - the city clerk does it, so there is no "paid position" created to administer this.

The only "con" I really see is that a nomadic busker can only get a permit during business hours, which is somewhat a hassle ... I had to arrive a few hours early on a Friday so I could work the weekend. No big deal.

-JoeJoe
Watch the Pilot Episode of my new TV Show:As Seen on TV: The JoeJoe Magic Show
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Mario Morris
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Quote:
On 2011-11-14 07:58, gallagher wrote:
Hey Omnigut, wellcome to the pitch,
I find, in towns where permits are required, I tend to be MORE restricted! More controlled.
My theory is, forget the Permit System. Let folks play. Require a common sence and etiquette. Not too loud. Not too big. Change pitches. Those who don´t play with, get stopped.
It´s easier to control. Easier to enforce. Less strain on everybody envolved.
One hour a Pitch. 72 dB. Block no doorways or thuroughfares. One warning,... then you´re out.

give it easy,
gallagher.


I second that, the fun pitches of this world are permit free,
The streets are for every one, I have found problems start when governing begin.

In the uk they try to introduce in some places a code of practice often while they waite for laws to be past.
A code of practice in the UK is the first step of enforcing a law, it is like they are testing the waters.
The code of practice is none enforceable and you should reject it.

As a community you can stand,
The fact that these rules are often made up with out them consulting your community in the first place should tell you what they think of you.

If their is to be such a thing as a code of practice it will be arrange on the street, I do it all the time.
We share and talk and so on. don't need a clerk to help me talk thanks.

Problems seem to excite more in places where their is permits or a code of practice in place.
Nick Broad
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Thanks for the welcome Gallagher,
Permits definitely restrict people more. And I'm not pro-restrictions. I would like to lessen restrictions in places where there are harsh permits, while offering buskers who enjoy the protection of the permit system a non-mandatory, opt-in permit.

Common sense is great, but in the eyes of the authorities, it's often not enough. And I'm not sure whether it's easy to stop someone performing if there is no such thing as a permit (or whether that's ethical)

However, yes to the one hour a Pitch. 72 dB. Block no doorways or thuroughfares.

Heavy hats,

Nick
Nick Broad
<BR>Skype: omnigut
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<BR>Email: nick@thebuskingproject.com
Nick Broad
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Hey JoeJoe, that does indeed sound fantastic. What did the State get out of the arrangement?
Nick Broad
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Nick Broad
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Mario, I agree that licensed pitches are a little less fun than just finding your own path. And the buskers' code of ethics are certainly enough. But I've found especially in the UK, the politicians are unwilling to entertain the idea that there need not be regulations. Check London, for example: ONE licensed pitch, a couple of non-licensed pitches, and everywhere else it's illegal?

I'd say it will take more than a community to get rid of legislation against buskers. Perhaps it's best to work towards better legislation?
Nick Broad
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<BR>facebook.com/thebuskingproject
<BR>www.thebuskingproject.com
<BR>Email: nick@thebuskingproject.com
JoeJoe
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Quote:
On 2011-11-14 15:59, omnigut wrote:
Hey JoeJoe, that does indeed sound fantastic. What did the State get out of the arrangement?


Well for starters they get to lay down the rules BEFORE any problems arise, such as your not allowed to follow someone down the boardwalk harassing them for money. Or that you can't be juggling flaming chainsaws on a unicycle at a congested 4 foot sidewalk.

There are indeed many safety issues on the Ocean City boardwalk ... like the trams for example. When I was performing, they had a certain sections of the boardwalk they allowed performers. In that particular section, no two trams would ever pass each other. When a tram reached the performance zone, it would stop and wait for the on-coming tram to pass it before entering.

In my years in Ocean City, I have seen at least 3 people get hit by those trams. I don't want to hear anybody try to tell me that your rights to perform are more important than the city's responsibility to protect the population!

I haven't been to Ocean City in many years, but from what I read online the areas are becoming congested and the city is trying to expand them. They are trying to balance our rights with the people's safety ... that is to be expected in a "civilized society".

-JoeJoe
Watch the Pilot Episode of my new TV Show:As Seen on TV: The JoeJoe Magic Show
Learn JoeJoe's secrets at Magic Joint dot com
Ekuth
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I make it a practice to contact the city government for each city I plan to pitch in and ask about licenses/permits.

Most (so far) don't require them unless your are selling something. Perhaps this is a peculiarity to my area of the country, so keep that in mind.

I've NEVER been hassled by police at any of my pitches. Of course, I don't juggle chainsaws on unicyles either.

One thing I AM doing is to compile a list of permit/license requirements for all the cities in my state. Once I'm done, I'll post it here (on the forums), along with full contact information for each city and who I spoke with.
"All you need is in Fitzkee."
Nick Broad
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Quote:
Well for starters they get to lay down the rules BEFORE any problems arise, such as your not allowed to follow someone down the boardwalk harassing them for money. Or that you can't be juggling flaming chainsaws on a unicycle at a congested 4 foot sidewalk.


It sounds like the only reason the govt has put in a permit there so that it is faster for them to remove "bad apples" from performing there: if you mess up too many times, you won't be issued a permit anymore. This would only ever become an issue there if a performer did keep messing up. I don't see much of a problem... Thanks JoeJoe.
Nick Broad
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<BR>facebook.com/thebuskingproject
<BR>www.thebuskingproject.com
<BR>Email: nick@thebuskingproject.com
Dave V
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It also sounds like the non-mandatory permits allow for dispute resolution, favoring permit users over "squatters"
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
JoeJoe
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Quote:
On 2011-11-15 14:32, omnigut wrote:
It sounds like the only reason the govt has put in a permit there so that it is faster for them to remove "bad apples" from performing there: if you mess up too many times, you won't be issued a permit anymore. This would only ever become an issue there if a performer did keep messing up. I don't see much of a problem... Thanks JoeJoe.


The only person I'm aware of that was removed was "Sponge Bob Square Pants" who was arrested and deported for sexual assault after grabbing a teenage girls rear end. There was a caricature artist they denied a permit for a few years ago because he "charged" vs. worked solely on "tips" ... the ACLU sent the city and letter and he was granted a permit.

Perhaps some of the OC performers would know better than me, but I haven't heard of anyone's permit being revoked or denied.

-JoeJoe
Watch the Pilot Episode of my new TV Show:As Seen on TV: The JoeJoe Magic Show
Learn JoeJoe's secrets at Magic Joint dot com
JoeJoe
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But hey ... if a performer is messing up, then I'm all in favor of denying him a permit. I don't mean "messing up" as in being a bad performer, but rather harassing and being disorderly.

If you are in violation of the noise ordinance, then you should get a ticket for it. If every other citizen of the State has to obey the noise ordinance, why should you be so special that you get to violate it?

And when you go to get your permit, the City Clerk will let you know what the noise ordinance is ... that way, if you violate it there is no "beg forgiveness" ... you knew the rules.

-JoeJoe
Watch the Pilot Episode of my new TV Show:As Seen on TV: The JoeJoe Magic Show
Learn JoeJoe's secrets at Magic Joint dot com
JoeJoe
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And the thing they get the most ... performers. The stated purpose of this system when started it was to encourage street performing on the boardwalk.

The problems with too many performers being in Ocean City is a testament to that. I don't think it is a problem Ocean City can solve on their own, what is needed is more cities to open up ... ie: Rehoboth Beach and Annapolis. If Annapolis had such a system, I would have never gone to Ocean City.

-JoeJoe
Watch the Pilot Episode of my new TV Show:As Seen on TV: The JoeJoe Magic Show
Learn JoeJoe's secrets at Magic Joint dot com
Nick Broad
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I think too many performers is a great issue to have. Not for the performers, of course. But power in numbers. And things happen when a large number of people grow hungry. Perhaps that's the way to the busker revolution...
Nick Broad
<BR>Skype: omnigut
<BR>facebook.com/thebuskingproject
<BR>www.thebuskingproject.com
<BR>Email: nick@thebuskingproject.com
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