Busker Owen Burgess plays an afternoon set outside the Royal Bank on Shoppers Row. The city is drafting a bylaw to enforce rules for entertainers such as Burgess.

Busking is the city’s latest target for regulation

Solitary street musician okay with fee but questions the need

Owen Burgess and his guitar have been a fixture in front of the Royal Bank for years.

He hasn’t had to follow any rules and performs free of cost. But soon that could all change.

The city is developing a bylaw regulating buskers – street entertainers who perform in public areas. Under the bylaw, buskers may be required to purchase a licence from City Hall, possibly for up to $20 annually.

Burgess, who strums and sings folk tunes to people passing by on Shoppers Row, says he’s okay with paying a licence fee and would welcome some restrictions.

“It wouldn’t bother me to pay a fee, although I don’t see why they should (charge a fee),” says Burgess. “But if they’re gonna regulate it, it would keep the riff raff out.”

He said it would also deter those with no real talent, who are only out for the money, from setting up shop downtown.

“You gotta be professional, you can’t just be out here making noise and jumping around,” says Burgess who has been performing on Campbell River streets for 16 years. Before that, he was a busker in Ontario.

For Burgess he says it’s not about the money, he does it “to keep society entertained.”

But around Campbell River, his type seems to be a dying breed.

“Most people like it, most really enjoy it, but there aren’t many buskers around anymore, just me,” says Burgess who has seen several singers come and go.

The city is hoping that with the success of Spirit Square, more street entertainers will come out of the woodwork. If that happens, the city feels there needs to be some sort of regulation.

A survey of downtown businesses conducted by the city in 2007 showed support for regulation. Of 117 respondents, 80 said they would like to see the city establish a busker policy. Most businesses also indicated they supported busking.

Under the new bylaw, restrictions for buskers may include no drums, other than hand drums, and no performing directly in front of a business’ signage and entrance. Buskers would also have to ensure an unobstructed pedestrian flow on sidewalks.

Additionally, buskers may only perform for a maximum of two hours in one location and no more than two performers may be allowed in any one block.

That would please Burgess.

“The odd guy tries to muscle in on my turf,” Burgess says then smiles. “But they don’t usually last.”

 

 

 

Just Posted

Habitat for Humanity North Island wants to keep momentum going

Organization asks City of Campbell River for more land to build homes for young families

28 townhouses on the way to 525 Dogwood

Council approves latest phase of development, but not before expressing traffic concerns

Diver discovers possible historic anchor off Campbell River

The rusted, barnacle-encrusted anchor was wedged into the bottom off Quadra Island… Continue reading

Leigh wants Strathcona Regional District budget amended over water rates

Area D Director cites punitive water rates as a reason to slow down process

Cold weather puts pressure on homeless shelters in Campbell River

Salvation Army and Sobering Centre offer a total of 40 beds

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read